Writing about the journey of an architect is an expedition itself! As architects we are always learning – throughout our lifetime, from projects already built to the ones we are building, the answers are always brand new. The learning and unlearning of concepts and techniques keep us going in our fields. I graduated last year. My journey has just begun to explore what the practical field of architecture has to offer.
But I have learned a great deal in this one year itself that I wonder what’s next!
As we’ve learned in architecture school, many master architects didn’t have a background in architecture. They were either from arts backgrounds or had no relation to architecture. What got them started into this field was their keen interest in contributing to the development happening worldwide, explaining the fact that it is our passion for architecture that can make us successful and not only the studies.
For example, the Swiss-French master architect Le Corbusier was not trained as a formal architect. He had attended the visual arts school and later did a course of decoration. An architecture teacher at his Arts school influenced him to get into architecture and this is from where his marvelous journey began.
What attracted me towards architecture was the freedom to work which was less likely in engineering. No other field or subject attracted me that much. I always had an interest in drawing and the history of the world. I never liked rote learning and memorizing formulas which we never directly use in real life.
When you enter architecture school, it’s the first step towards a life full of excitement and elation. It all starts from learning the basics of design and construction, from arranging shapes and drawing patterns with different materials to designing prodigious structures astonishing the teachers!
The preliminary stage is all about learning extensive vocabulary and performing extensive design drills to get the architectural mind working. For me, it was overwhelming but I loved it. It’s like the first round of a game where only the ones who have an instinct and pay heed to architecture go to the next round and those who bluff to qualify for it start feeling a little lost.
Nobody teaches you this, but it’s very important to analyze your field of interest from day one as stepping into the field might get confusing for even the brightest of the kid if this analysis is not done properly.
The next two years are spent applying concepts and ideas mostly inspired by works of master architects or in some exceptional cases, one’s original ideas. I’m not saying that taking inspiration is bad; you should always have a subject of inspiration, a base to a concept unless it leads to plagiarism, which is intolerable.
Next in the timeline is practical training. Very important yet the most entertaining phase of studies (for me at least). Remember the point I told you about analyzing your interest from day one? This is the phase where you apply your knowledge and get a clear idea about which interest you can follow.
Self-scrutiny and application are the two most essential things to do at this point. As the next stage, your approach is the thesis. The most exaggerated part of the 5-year long degree, the thesis is the summary of your college life. It’s up to you how you want to present that summary to the audience and the jury.
Entering the practical world is a phase of learning and unlearning things according to the situations. For me, it was quite overwhelming as it was nothing like we had learned in architecture school! Nobody teaches you that monetary returns aren’t that good as soon as you step outside. It’s the years of struggle and hard work that takes you up the stairs of success.
As you might have seen, all famous architects became famous after passing these phases of their lives. It is simple; there is no trick or shortcut to it. The best way to learn is by reading about these architects. The life lessons they teach and the architectural values they have to offer, nobody can offer that kind of knowledge.
Projects take time and establishing yourself takes more time than you anticipate, as my mentors say. We have to be patient and deliver all projects with love. The more time we spend here, the more we will get back.
Patience and persistence, always remember these two P’s to achieve any project and any goal. As the new normal is set up in today’s world, it’s important to have a soft corner for these new normal norms in architecture as well. Utilizing this time to research and expanding our horizon is the next part of my timeline. We need to be prepared for the architecture that’s going to come after this pandemic ends. The changing norms and changing patterns of living will affect the architectural growth as well. Let’s see what’s next.