A journey of 5-plus drilling and soul-cracking, insomniac years, architecture college is indeed a life-changing experience. Whereat one hand it opens an aspiring architect to the laws, principles, and disciplines of architecture, design, and structure, most would agree there is a lot more to it as well. Architecture college is a teacher of great skills, lessons, and experiences for one to take with them, and those who have been through the process would certainly approve of this.

While it may be true to acknowledge that the expectations of many who start architecture change very soon after, they come to realize that survival and success in the field entail the understanding and experience of many skills; most that one needs to grasp quickly to be able to value the marvel that is architecture. 

Public Speaking & Presentation Skills

The first thing one comes to realize as soon as a project starts is that a concept is only as good as you describe it. Whether it is about convincing your studio instructor to let you follow a certain direction, discussing your crazy ideas with your group members, or explaining the project in the final presentation, it certainly comes down to what words you choose, why you choose them, and how you say them. The best part though is the endless number of times one is put on the spot to present, certainly makes them equipped well enough to be able to at least to a certain degree, speak with confidence in, and after the final year.

Research. Research. Research. 

Another key aspect that an architecture student has to adhere to is the ability to conduct effective and efficient research. Architecture is a field that encapsulates all sorts of disciplines, whether it is history, literature, sociology, or even zoology! There is a beautiful relationship that the field can establish with otherworldly fields, and the only way one can make their design and concept effective is to be able to know how to accumulate new knowledge, and being able to implement them into architecture – certainly a very unique skill set to have! 

Learning to Respect other Disciplines

When one becomes familiar with understanding other fields that may or may not be related to architecture, a deep reverence for them also develops in the minds of a fledgling architect. He comes to realize how related things are with one another, which may or may not be directly related and understands the importance of gaining diverse knowledge and information, that proves to be very beneficial post-school as well.

Time Management

This is one thing that all Architects would certainly agree to! No matter how many times you are given at the beginning of a project, somehow you always end up running out of it by the end, resorting to “nighters”, endless sleepless nights, days turning into nights, nights turning into days… this is something that starts from the first semester and manages to continue until the very final project. However, the key skill a student takes from architecture college is the ability to respect the time and learn, to a certain extent, managing and streamlining things to adhere to time constraints and deadlines – a very significant capability to have as a professional. 

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Time management_OTC

Creative Thinking Skills

All architects are known to have high creative conflict resolution skills often to very complex problems. This comes from endless examples of coming up with unique ideas for often real-life problems that students have to tackle in different projects. After all, where else in the world does one have to think about choosing a famous personality, research on their lifestyle and needs, and end up designing a chingchi (automobile) for them? 

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Design School, Architecture, Architect, Designer, Deadline, Creative, Imagination, Profession

Team Management Skills

There is absolutely no real-life architecture project that is conducted alone, no project goes successfully without efficient team management skills. Fortunately, we all have our architecture college to thank this for, where more often than not we were assigned in groups for projects, site surveys, and research, and being able to lead and work in a team was the only way to get the grades (and survive).

How to Defend Your Ideas (And Yourself)

The art of learning effective defense strategies comes from presentation skills as well. Where we were to stand in front of panels of professionals, learning how to handle criticism, and being able to defend our projects, knowing every presentation was indeed a battlefield was something that took time to learn, but this certainly inculcated itself inside every architecture student by the end of five years.

Learning to Throw Away Ideas as Quickly as Coming Up with New Ones

Almost every architecture student has had bad critiques throughout college. Indeed, with criticism from teachers also came big NO’s to ideas that we used to spend days and often too many nights over. It is certainly very difficult experiencing your ideas being torn apart, especially when you had given it your heart, soul, and sleep. However, you quickly realize that to succeed and prove yourself worthy, you need to stand back quickly, take constructive criticism positively, and learning new ways of bringing in more possibilities and opportunities of solutions to every problem.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Be specific. One thing that almost every studio instructor has to say time and time again to help students structure and streamline their ideas, and move forward more efficiently and clearly. It is a wonderful awareness to adapt that often the most richness in ideas is achieved through simplicity rather than through a chaotic jungle of ideas and scribbles.

Being Process-Oriented, Not Product-Oriented

Architecture is indeed a lot about how you achieve a solution, the direction you decide to adopt, the paths you cover, and a load of information you learn and streamline to achieve a solution. Indeed, it is not the final plans, the sections, or elevations that carry the most weightage, it is what led you to the final drawings. Architecture students have often seen others trying to take shortcuts, coming up with the entire project night or two before the final jury. They may get the grade at the end, but it is easy to see who it is that ends up with the most clarity, and the greatest reward to take back after the project ends – it is the ones who learn to appreciate the process of architecture and not just the architecture itself.

Power of Visuals, Rather than Text

An architecture student should learn not just the disciplines associated with the study, but the approaches of being able to produce it at the end using effective visual and graphic skills. Another often-repeated statement by instructors in the studio is asking students to cut down on the words on the panel sheets and instead concentrating on the visual content. A panel should be able to speak even if the presenter is not standing next to it, is a statement cried out far more than often throughout the five years.

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Creative Thinking_https://www.akshararbol.edu.in/the-art-of-inculcating-creative-thinking-in-students/

Prioritizing People in Design

And of course, architecture is not just about the final form you achieve, the colors you use, the material or structural binding you incorporate, it is all about who the building is for, how it responds to people and their needs, and why it is the most effective solution to the problem at hand. Architecture is, after all, the art of building for the people. It is a good practice to be familiar with styles and spatial design, but the best architects are always those who learn to embrace people’s needs and their aspirations and reflect that onto their design – a key skill that is the most significant for an architect working in the professional field.

 

Author

An Architect by profession, a writer, artist, and baker by interest, Amna Pervaiz sees Architecture and Urban Planning as a multifaceted avenue allowing her to explore a plethora of disciplinary elements. She sees the field as an untapped canvas; a journey she hopes would one day lead her towards social responsibility and welfare.