Architecture Dissertation is a chance for an architecture student to experiment with the knowledge and skills one developed throughout their school journey. It can also be called an architecture thesis in American terms. While an architecture school always gives you a design problem to solve, a dissertation is a fortunate opportunity to explore and analyze your interests. It is a critical part of the entire architecture course of study as it is prioritized in job interviews and postgraduate applications. An architecture dissertation consists of the design challenge and a written report of the research and data collected to arrive at the design solution. A few errors that can be avoided in the architecture dissertation are listed below.

1. Selecting a Broader Topic

Choosing a topic for the dissertation can be a real challenge if we do not know what we are interested in and comfortable with. It can also be cumbersome if the topic is too broad and is not concise to analyze. Focusing on a niche of a broader topic can help find a solution for the design challenge easily. Getting into the nook and corners of details in a broader topic could be difficult in a semester. For example, if self-reliant residential design interests you, pick the right scale of your project and focus only on the self-sustainable factor and not involve all the global issues in the design. Sustainability can be an introduction but later should be broken down into smaller issues to solve the design. Researching more can lead to more questions and hence can divert the dissertation topic. So, it is important to understand what the question is and how the design answers it.

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2. Internet over Library

Carrying out research is very important in a dissertation since that paves the way for how the design would take shape. Examining a topic that already exists can inspire the design and provoke one to ask more questions about it. It has to be done right from the right source. Although we live in the information age, not all that is available on the internet is reliable. So, heading to the library would be the right choice. It is also significant to have multiple sources to validate the information we are collecting. Noting down the information sources is also necessary during the research phase. This can help to be organized, and making notes in your own words can help you understand the topic better. There are also references and citations for these sources, which can be followed to support the topic.

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3. Missing Citations and References of Others’ work

It is extremely crucial to include Citations and References of others’ work even though it is a time consuming and arduous task. Referencing them is to acknowledge their work and contribution to the design process of the dissertation. It’s not just about collecting these data but interpreting and analyzing to understand the topic better. Others’ work can help you get closer to the design solution, but it shouldn’t be considered as the final solution. Writing down any phrases or quotes has to be cited later, so it would be better to make a note of the book names, authors, publishing article, page number. A guide to Harvard referencing can be found at this link.

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Missing Citations and References of Others work_Copyright

4. Being Exaggerative and Lengthy

The collected data for architectural dissertations has to be more precise and accurate with your analysis than a descriptive explanation of the same. No one wants to read or have time for in-depth research that is exaggerative. It can be presented in terms of graphics, surveys, interviews, charts, photographs, and sketches rather than explaining them textually. The title for the architecture dissertation should also be prioritized and to the point. Even the written report for the dissertation should be concise than regurgitating known information. Summary and conclusions drawn from the information collected take high precedence. It should also be informative technically to adhere to the design process. A clear structure and flow have to be followed throughout the entire dissertation journey.

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Being Exaggerative and Lengthy_©

5. Prioritizing Time and Schedule

Getting stuck in a topic does not let you progress to arrive at a design solution. The research data should guide the topic, and hence starting early would be influential since it takes a lot of time. Making a schedule for all the phases of the architecture dissertation can help in designing effectively. Frequent proofreads and checks by the mentor can guide you in the right direction. The topic can also be discussed with like-minded folks for a different perspective or design approach. One should give plenty of time from the beginning to the end of the project to do it appropriately.

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Design concepts or ideas can be cluttered if such mistakes aren’t avoided, which can affect the performance of the jury. Proper planning with a clear direction in mind can help one ace it.


Rohini M is an Assistant Architect in Atkins, Bangalore. She is also certified LEED Green Associate and COA registered Architect. Moreover, she also contributes articles to Building Design Journal in Atkins UK. She is a go-to person for hand made cards for any event or wall arts in the firm.

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