On being asked, students describe “work” at architecture school as creative, captivating, transformative and inspiring. On the other hand, the words used often to describe the “life” at an architecture school are stressful, busy, hectic, non-pleasant and in some cases, inhumane. Apart from training the students with the necessary hard skills required for the profession, architecture schools also equip the candidates with adequate soft skills, ready to face the professional world. The article describes some tips and common mistakes made by many students during their study period at architecture schools.
- Paying too much attention to or disregarding the views of the professors
The academic projects done at one’s architecture school is important as it helps in exploring the student’s thought process and builds up the individual process of critical thinking, which is essential in any project. The professor’s job is to inspire, allow and guide the students to explore new pathways in design and not to pass judgements on their thoughts. It is often seen that students remain concerned about their professor’s judgement of their design which stunts their growth, thoughts and knowledge, making them follow mainstream design strategies and principles. On the other hand, disregarding or caring too little about the professor’s perspective can also prove to be disadvantageous to students. While many students assume that the shortage is on the other side if they disagree with them, it is important for them to always keep an open mind to accept new perspectives on the same project to make actual progress and development.
- Having one main concept for the design project
Often, students are found to be struggling to come up with ‘concepts’ for the design projects at the school. When it is time to build a conceptual base for the design proposal, there is usually a storm of confusion, unclearness and agitation in the minds of the students, and the question usually is, “where do I start from?”. Though there are many ways to come up with a concept, one of the possible answers to this question is to have the entire project revolving around one central concept to make the design powerful. When the project is presented to the final jury, it is this central concept that would do the speaking for the entire design. It is not to be forgotten that the design studios in the architecture schools aim at developing this skill- the skill of critical analysis and thinking in the young would-be architects.
Networking is important in any field to acquire contacts, meet new people, make friends and build a network of people who can be contacted and reached out to ask for guidance when needed. Undoubtedly, architecture school could form the basis of networking if utilised efficiently. Getting to know the professors, peers and their close network and meeting the architecture students from other colleges or universities through events and conferences helps build a good initial network for students.
Loaded with deadlines and assignments, architecture students usually have less time to think outside work and make time for other activities. One should not forget the fact that as much as the learning in an architecture school is vital, learning and engaging in various activities outside the school is equally important. Volunteering can yet be considered a way of socialising with like-minded people coming together for the same cause and an opportunity to expand the networking circle.
Due to the sheer amount of stress, most of the students take time off from their schedule and end up procrastinating the work sometimes due to decision paralysis and self-doubt about their concepts. Nevertheless, the best possible method to overcome the issue of procrastination is to split the workload and put them on a workable schedule, easing the routine and the tiresome process of finishing up the assignments before deadlines.
- Comparing the individual work to other peers and trying to imitate them
While keeping a tap on peer work helps provide self-motivation and pushes to achieve great things, it should also be kept in mind that every individual has a different skillset making one unique. Blindly following the footsteps of peers brings down the individual uniqueness, blocking the pathway for self-exploration. It is essential to channel our energies into the right path to improve and develop these skills. Though interacting with classmates helps in getting different perspectives and ideas, one should strictly refrain oneself from imitating others’ work as it lacks originality.
- Limited Sketching
Sketching is an integral part of a design process. Nowadays, digital mediums have replaced sketchbooks and manual sketching, but they lack flexibility. It is one of the great mediums to put forward ideas and concepts and helps kick-start the design process.
- Discouraged by criticism
It is common for most students to face criticism at architecture schools. Criticism can be hard, especially when a huge amount of time and effort has been put into the work, but on a positive note, it always provides room for improvement. Before taking the criticism as an entirely negative one, it is important to understand that design is subjective, and therefore, criticism should always be used as a motivation to improve and produce amazing designs. On the other hand, it is also important to ensure that the students are given constructive criticism for their projects.
- Restarting design all over again
Seeking perfection in designs is a common trait seen in many architecture students, and as a result, the designs are scratched if it is not satisfactory as deemed by the students. In reality, adding up details such as façade details, furniture, and lighting brightens up the design making it perfect.
- The only career path for architecture graduates- Licensed Architects
It is important to realise that becoming a licensed architect is not the only career path offered to architecture graduates. Several avenues can be potentially explored, such as graphic designing, interior designing, set designing or even architectural journalism and writing!
- Borson, B., 2021. 10 Mistakes Architecture Students Should Avoid. [online] Life of an Architect -. Available at: <https://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/10-mistakes-architecture-students-should-avoid/>.
- Oneup Architecture. 2021. Common mistakes that architecture students make. [online] Available at: <https://oneuparchitecture.com/1628-2/>.