“One question. What do you learn in Architecture college anyway?” is an enigma which I get asked often.
It seems like everyone whom I come across is fascinated with the term ‘architecture’. Mostly because very few seldom meet an architect. Maybe an architect isn’t produced frequently as engineers and doctors do. And that is why this mystery of what an architect is and what should you study to become one makes sense.
As we know, an Architecture college is a five years long exhausting expedition. Architecture college is a place where we learn to design spaces. However, unexpectedly it teaches us various life lessons too.
Sharing a few of these life lessons below that I (and many of us, I believe) have learned from architecture college:
Who hasn’t been criticised for his/her work at architecture college? We all are so used to getting criticism from the reviewer that eventually, we got used to it. We all know how painful it is to get immensely criticised (which sometimes include tearing up the sheets too!) for our works for which we have worked through and through.
Tough reviews are a part of an architectural curriculum, and can occasionally feel like a personal attack but to people who are willing to accept constructive criticism do well both academically and in life too! But to accept the censure is not everyone’s cup of tea! Being argumentative is a choice but to work on the beneficial aspect is sage. Again, it is proof that architecture college is not for the faintest of hearts.
It’s already been a long time to change the concept from ‘an architect as a solitary army’ to accepting the reality that it’s efficient to work as a team. When you work at a firm, you work as a team and thankfully, all those group projects in architecture college have prepared you from what to do (and whatnot). This quality of an architect is truly appreciated in the real world where they will be hiring you not based on your unique skill rather on your performance as a part of the team. If you succeed in this regard, the other qualities you cherish will be a bonus for you which can eventually make you a decent team leader.
Let us accept it, as an Architect time management is another challenge to meet. “The deadline” is still a nightmare to me. However, if you have grasped a solid skill in time management while you were in college, you will be thankful to your younger self when you become a professional.
Most of us (especially myself) have a habit of procrastinating our works until the previous night of submissions and regretting it later. Architecture college offers us the opportunity to learn to prioritize works based on the time we spent on each stage of designing. This quality can be helpful for your professional life too. Hence, you can cope up with any time-related stones thrown at you!
The way of looking at things!
Architecture can significantly change the way you look at things. You will start to observe the most diminutive details of a constituent around you. This might make you more sensitive, more optimistic, however, one thing can be assured that you will be searching for a story or a process that has been consolidated to make it.
You suddenly will find yourself inquisitive about the principles of scale and proportion, the patterns and the harmony. Altogether, your approach to the things around you changes drastically. Suddenly you will start looking at your own life from a different perspective.
I have seen students who are initially shy but later on taking up the charge of presentations. It is what everyone says, practice makes one perfect! And in architecture college, you will get a lot of this practice. From explaining your design to a set sceptical professor to defending it in front of the jury, you learn to present your thoughts and ideas under any circumstances.
This quality can be brought into your professional career too, where you are facing a different type of audience each time and also not to mention the ‘size’ of this audience.
Trusting your Instinct
As we all know, architecture is a field where one can receive multiple appraisals. However, to go with your instinct is one of the major features which I am taking into my professional life. As mentioned before, accepting constructive criticism is undeniable.
But, if you believe in the concept or the process of your project, never change it for the mere appreciation you might receive. This philosophy can also be applied in your life when you seem overwhelmed by the opinions all around you.
Limited resources are never going to limit you!
Being said, especially in architecture colleges that the only limit is your imagination when it comes to the real world, often along with imagination comes certain other factors too.
In architecture college, while surviving with the limited piece of information to design, little did we know that we were making ourselves immune to the dilemma of lack of resources and still creating decently designed spaces. This principle will help us to subdue different constraints in the design evolution process.