If you are reading this article, you have already made up your mind to assume your passion for architecture and design and make a career out of it, or you are probably into this for some time and are trying to cope up with the way the whole system works. Either way, through this article, I would like to give you a brief insight into life in an architecture school and what you can do to ace it and enjoy your time there.
You would have heard your neighbors or friends or your relatives telling you that you draw so well that you would make a good architect. Else, you might have been told that architecture is an ideal field for women. Or a thought of taking up architecture for the mere fact that you did not get into any other field might have come across your mind at least once. None of these make up for even 10% of the reason why one must take up architecture.
What I am trying to say is that passion is the driving force for one to choose their career path—something that would lead them to contentment.
What is architecture school like?
Architecture school is your ground for preparation, experimentation, and growth. It gives you a glimpse into what professional life as an architect will be. Mind you, just a glimpse.
It is often said that even 5 years of architectural education is not enough owing to the vast skillset, understanding, and experience the course demands. Your time in architecture school could be associated with the process of laying the foundation of a building – both extremely crucial for how strong and durable the future gets.
Architecture schools might not be as rigid as conventional schools. Most architecture schools have a free and inviting environment—this pushes students to interact with one another. This interaction builds their social and intellectual personalities. Architecture school gives you things to observe and learn and then adopt. The mere atmosphere in an architecture school is so inspirational with creativity and artistry flowing through every beam and column that one is stimulated to flow along with it.
Architecture cannot be learned while being bound by four walls. Architecture school allows you to explore architecture beyond those four walls.
What will you learn in an architecture school?
Through a wide variety of projects given to you in your five years of architecture school, you will be exposed to several situations where you are required to have creative and logical approaches to crack the solution. Your hands and minds will be conditioned in a way to perceive everything around you differently.
The course touches upon all basic genres of buildings – residential, commercial, institutional, and large urban scales. Providing you with a spine, architecture school allows you to then explore and pave your way through your design. This is the beauty of the course- it is bound, yet gives you chances to experiment. It is hectic, yet brings you joy.
You will also be exposed to theoretical subjects that will be necessary for backing your designs up. The structure of the course is straightforward—learn and apply.
What can you do to achieve your goals?
Participation will make you be seen. Being seen will land you opportunities that will nurture your growth both as an individual and professionally. Getting involved in extra-curricular activities, and leadership opportunities will bring you great experiences.
The ride might not be a smooth one, your limits will be pushed. But adapting yourself to the changes will make the ride better and memorable.
Getting along with people is a skill that we must and should develop as architects. Be it client interactions or talking to the masons to get your job done, all of it requires strong communication skills that you could start building up from your time in architecture school itself.
Punctuality is vital—it leaves a positive mark in the minds of people around you. Punctuality in terms of submissions, i.e., complying with the deadlines is the most important of it all.
Developing your healthy working system will go a long way in life. It will keep you more focused on the goal and help in maintaining your punctuality. As it is architects are mostly stressed with the heavy workload, inefficiency due to lack of planning must not become an issue.
Take those study tours.
Study tours and case studies are the best experiences you can have in the five years.
Don’t shy away from helping others or seeking help for yourself.
Helping your classmates and seniors does not mean a waste of your time because, in turn, you learn so much.
Discuss. Discuss. Discuss.
Discussing your views and ideas with friends and faculty will be beneficial to all and will strike the right balance in your classroom. There is no right or wrong when it comes to design, so none of your ideas will amount to a zero.
Develop your style.
Either your sketching style or your lettering or just your quality of presentation- having your personal and unique style will make you stand out from the crowd.
Lastly, have fun.
Do what makes you happy. Don’t hesitate to think differently. Experiment all you want as this is the only time nobody will point any fingers at you even if you go wrong. Enjoy the process of learning!
Ending on a funny note—Architecture as a disease as illustrated by ©Leewardists: