When I chose to study architecture and decided I want to be an architect, it was far from being an informed decision. Wanting to study something that excited me as much as art and design; at the same time is considered as a real profession, architecture seemed to be the right choice when seen from outside. Little did I know, I was about to learn so much more not just in terms of design and construction but also as an individual. Looking back, I realize how much I have learned and grown as a person from my first year to my final year.

The school of Architecture does not just teach you to be an Architect but it also teaches you transferable skills that would allow you to be anything you want. You can become an artist, a graphic designer, a furniture designer, an interior designer, or even a video game designer. You can thrive and excel in any design discipline as you learn so much more than just drawing plans, sections and elevations in school.

Do not underestimate the skills you can learn in an Architecture School. Keep reading to understand what you learn in a school of Architecture.

  • Always ask why. 

Architecture teaches you to reason your likes and thoughts out. You would soon realize that always asking why leads you to a whole new series of questions and broadens your perspective and understanding. When your professors start asking you why in your first year, you would stumble to come up with a reason but eventually you would learn to defend and reason out your decisions in your design by constantly asking why. Sometimes it might seem like the professor is asking you why for all your design decisions can be very annoying and can lead to conflict but all they are trying to do is make you get to the bottom of the problem.

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    Ask why_©

    Problem-solving – literally and metaphorically. 

You are constantly taught and molded to look at a problem from different angles and find an appropriate solution. You learn to make responsive, well thought out choices by reading, researching, learning and gathering information. Design thinking is a crucial skill that you gradually learn and become better at year after year.

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    Problem-solving _©

    Marketing yourself and your design.

You spend days and nights working on your project with minimum sleep but the most important skill is to sell your design and idea on the final day of the jury. Being able to defend and answer your jury members’ questions critically and analytically is an essential skill that would help you in any field after you graduate from the school of architecture. By the end of the course on your final jury, you would be able to confidently answer questions, back up your decisions and opinions, and defend your work.   

  • Exposure to public speaking.

Explaining your design project to your fellow classmates, your professors every studio, interim presentations and your final jury will get you prepared to face and speak to an individual as well as a group confidently. You’ll learn the art of storytelling with a passion while explaining the project you have worked on for weeks. Communicating information to an audience; small or big is an essential skill in the design field. When you would be speaking on your final jury, you would see how far you have come since the first year of architecture.

  • Accepting criticism positively. 

Constructive criticism from peers, professors and professionals is an everyday part of your architecture journey. Your initial responses during your first year would be to defend yourself and lash back. While criticism can hurt, sooner or later you will learn not to take the criticism personally. Positive, honest feedback is an opportunity to do better and improve. By the end of the final year, you would thank your critics and win them over with your attitude of gratitude. Your time in school will teach you to be assertive about your work and be open to constructive criticism.

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    Accepting criticism _©

    Self-learning skill.

Architecture is a profession where you never stop learning. You got to be updated with the latest technology, software and tools to stay at the top of your game. Though the school teaches you the basics, you need to find out what interests you, read more about it, learn as you go and embark on the journey. Architects are expected to be able to develop the ability to manage, learn, commit to tasks and achieve their goals independently while having to coordinate and work within a team.

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    Self-learning _©

    Learn to detach yourself from a single idea.

Getting detached from a single idea is a skill learned during your architecture years. Even though the first design in your head might feel mind-blowing, brainstorming is a vital skill in design. Whether it’s teamwork or individual work, knowing when to detach yourself from an idea and move forward is a key aspect. You should learn to trust the process and know where to zoom in and zoom out. Always remember there is no perfect idea and every problem can have multiple solutions.

  • Learn to detach – brainstorm _©

    Unleash your potential.

When you leave school and step into the school of architecture, things can get a little mind-boggling at the beginning. You would self-doubt your capabilities but you would be surprised how much you are actually capable of when you discover your potential. Even though you might feel you are not good at it, you will learn to communicate by sketching, drawing, scribbling and modeling, and you start having an eye for visual design elements. When you look back, you can see how much you have grown as a designer as well as an individual.

Your presumption about architecture changes and evolves as you progress each year. Understanding that you make mistakes and learning quickly while trusting the process is the key to adapt. After all, know when to follow the rules and when to break them!


Nadia Hussain is a graduate architect and writer by choice. She believes there is beauty in chaos; within herself and those around her in parts that are confusing, difficult, and challenging. Patient and lost, she is exploring the chaos with her cup of strong coffee and her enthusiasm