Brimming with an enthralling amount of energy, seeking new philosophies, a bunch of curious souls joins the Architecture folks. The vision and ideologies followed by each are questioned and criticized for the better. The out of the box ideas and the concepts are all that make you come out with flying colors from the college. Is the proposals are practically possible? Would it make up to real life? Is practicality can run beyond the horizon? Are the students prepared to accept the facts?

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Combining the Two Realms

The gap between conceptual designs and real-world designs needs to get mended. We don’t get trained to interact with the actual user anytime. We are designing with the given parameters for an imaginary client. Many schools offer prime importance to design subjects, and the services and detailings are placed on the lower shelf. In actual practice, the importance of these details is what makes the core of the building- the design core. Design schools make you explore the possibilities, formulate a direction to the thinking process, but it does not train you for real life. The internship phase leads you to the reality and change happens from the student architects to architects. It is the last step before the student enters the profession. The reality of what it’s like to be an architect is not shown to the students. Before realities of practice grind you down, experience as much as while you are at school.

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The Knowledge

Knowledge is an incredible part of any career and life in general. Practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge are two sides of the same coin. The ways of acquiring are different in the process lots of learning and unlearning happens at both spectrums. While the theoretical knowledge helps us to answer the ‘why’, the practical side leads us to ‘How’. When the ‘why’ is clear, ‘How’ is not impossible. Build the context and set strategies accordingly. The tools for the same are acquired only through practical exposure. To solve the problems that emerge in the process is always different. Always remember, creating a problem and solving it is not the design. You should design to solve the constraints. The problems you encounter in school may not be the reality. You are not prepared to face the reality. Our education system lacks the preparation phase for you to come out from the cocoon. But it doesn’t point out spoon-feeding.

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The spatial experiences, the aesthetics, and everything associated with a designed space is rooted in the end-users needs. The design is evolved from the brief that we develop, and the decisions are made from the site. Just close your eyes and listen to nature. It will lead you. An architect needs to think from the perspective of the client, get into the shoes of people associated with the project. An architect should be a great leader to make the engineers, contractors, designers work together. A critical thinker, a problem solver, and the list continue. Always remember that architecture school is not the end of learning. It continues, and it is an unending process.

It is paramount that architecture schools provide the right blend of art and architecture, artistry and pragmatics in their training. A tinge of reality is offered in our education system and, it is not sufficient for the professionals. It took five years for a change in phase from student architects to architects. But it takes an era to become professionals. To earn the beginner stripes and hit the ground running when crossing the practice threshold is a surely difficult task.

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The irony is that sometimes architects create interesting architecture, but it lacks meaning and connectivity. The one with practical dimensions may lack interest. Creating the right blend of both is the task. It requires understanding, research, and passion. There is no such thing called right or wrong in architecture. All that matters is whether it suits the purpose. Aesthetics comes only after these criteria. Architecture school pushes students to bring an appealing form rather than the structure as a whole. It is difficult for the students to cope up with the new realms of the field. When the budding architects realize the opposing nature of what is being taught and what to do in real, time flies.

To survive post- architecture school takes time and patience. The difference between fiction and fact and what is to be unlearned is the new basis. There is no finishing line for this journey. There needs to be an incubation time to process the difference. College gives you skill sets but does not train you for the job. Not everyone is going for professional practice after college. All you need to understand is ‘you’. You will learn what you need in the process. So be keen to explore.

Rethinking the education system to prepare for professional practice is a need of the hour. The traumas, the stress, depression are all common names known to the students of architecture. They experience all these over time. Preparation is important, but at the same time, don’t forget to live, to explore. A balance in life is the prime concern. Sometimes being a professional, you are restricted from the wild thoughts, the fantasies that brought you to the world of architecture. Don’t limit yourself. Let the wild fantasies come into reality.

Steven Bradley (2012). The Value of Theoretical And Practical Knowledge. [online]. Available at: https://vanseodesign.com/whatever/theoretical-practical-knowledge/ [Accessed date: February 2, 2012].

Peter Buchanan (2012). The Big Rethink Part 9: Rethinking Architectural Education

. [online]. (Last updated 20 May 2015). Available at: https://www.architectural-review.com/archive/campaigns/the-big-rethink/the-big-rethink-part-9-rethinking-architectural-education [Accessed 28 September 2012].

Author

She is an architecture student hailing from the small state of Kerala, in India. Writing has always been a passion for her and combined with designing, became the underlying rationale which led to the field of architecture. The thought provoking stories told by buildings and their surrounding environments brews her to be a storyteller.

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