The life of an architecture student can be highly demanding. An individual pursuing the same is expected to have a significant level of dedication as they must be willing to commit to long working hours. Furthermore, as a student and even as a practising architect one is expected to have meticulous attention to detail. Despite all these taxing issues, the camaraderie, formed among peers often becomes a lasting bond that persists well beyond graduation. Throughout this period, students encounter a plethora of knowledge and recurring advice from mentors and peers alike. These insights, though seemingly straightforward, serve as foundational remainders in navigating the complexities that persist within the field. As Zig Zaglar has stated, “Repetition is the mother of learning, father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment”. Therefore, in the spirit of repetition, here are some essential takeaways and key points one must revisit while studying architecture:

  1. Don’t over Problem-Solve

Problem-solving is undoubtedly one of the most important skills gained from this degree. However, the constant desire and need to solve a problem results in often fabricating non-existent problems. These usually stem from preconceived expectations and assumptions. In architecture, it’s crucial to approach challenges not as problems but as questions. Each design query requires a well-thought-out solution and must be perceived in a similar manner rather than a hurdle to overcome hastily. This change in mindset allows for the hunger for knowledge and learning to grow, emphasising that the world isn’t black or grey and nothing poses a simple or definitive answer. 

2. Listen to other perspectives

Collaboration and Communication are foundational to achieving success in this course. It’s important to remain open and receptive to multiple perspectives that exist within the field. It’s crucial to remain open and receptive to multiple perspectives that exist within the field. As this is a creative discipline, where designs can provoke different sometimes personal reactions. For instance, iconic structures like the Centre of Pompidou and the Eiffel Tower initially faced criticism among the general public due to their unconventional approaches. They challenged the minds of architects as well as the larger public and urged them to accept and adapt to a new style of thinking. This is an important takeaway for one’s college years. A student must be willing to experiment with their design process as it allows for valuable lessons to be learned and for a creative voice to be formulated. 

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Centre Pompidou_©David Noble

3. Prioritise time 

Architects often juggle various phases of projects—from initial concept development to detailed design, construction documentation, and client presentations. Each phase requires a different level of attention and effort. Strategic time management involves identifying which tasks are critical at any given moment and allocating resources accordingly. For example, spending more time refining design concepts early in the process can lead to smoother project execution later on.

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Phases of an Architecture Project_©Ugur Beyza Ercakmak

4. Narratives in design

Every effective design should incorporate a narrative—a guiding thread that leads viewers through the project’s evolution. This narrative evolves with each iteration, benefiting from feedback and revisions, which compel designers to refine and deepen their concepts. These constant design changes allow ample opportunities to develop a cohesive concept and storyline. This narrative, along with helping viewers understand the design, also will enable designers to have a reference point, allowing them to reconnect with the essence of the project during moments of uncertainty. 

5. Write, Write, Write!

Writing is perhaps the most underrated skill in architecture. It helps with communication. If there are nerves before a presentation, write a script, If unsure of a drawing, write about it, if you need to be more organised write down a to-do list. Additionally, it’s crucial to recognize that original concepts are rare, rather impossible to come around. Therefore, thorough research and meticulous documentation are essential for architects to develop innovative and distinctive design ideas effectively.

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Write, Write, Write!_ ©Pexels

6. Execution over Ideation 

It is the execution of an idea that transforms it into a tangible functional design. As previously mentioned, original ideas are impossible to come by. Therefore, spending hours of the project time on ideation seems futile. It is rather its execution that helps in setting them apart from each other. 

7. Portfolios

Portfolios are a culmination of work submitted to prospective employers in the hopes of securing a job. A crucial aspect to remember when crafting your portfolio is to showcase not just the process but also the individuals involved. It should reflect your growth during your college journey. Not every project needs to be flawless, but each should demonstrate valuable learning outcomes. Ultimately, companies hire individuals based on their skills and experiences, not solely on the quality of renders in their portfolio. Therefore, portfolios must be viewed as an engaging story.

8. Jury

Architectural juries, often referred to as crits, are a representation of every late-night working session in the semester. It involves extensive hard work and is a by-product of numerous feed-forward assessments. It’s important to view each jury as a learning curve rather than a setback regardless of how one feels after it. Projects continue beyond this evolution, undergoing rigorous scrutiny and refinement. Prior to the jury emphasis must be placed on preparing well-organised presentation sheets that communicate ideas effectively. They must strike a balance between judicious use of colour to maintain a sense of clarity and readability. One such guideline to be followed is limiting the usage of text, allowing the jurors to focus on the presentation rather than to get caught up reading the information printed on the sheet. Additionally, the visual hierarchy should be followed throughout the sheets, which can be achieved by limiting the variation in font sizes and strategic placements of plans and renders. 

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Architectural Juries_©

To conclude on a somewhat contradictory note, many degrees extend beyond mere academic learning. They’re about forging connections and relationships with people you meet along the journey. It’s important to pause, take a breath, and recognize that assignments are cyclical; there will always be models to build, plans to draft, and renderings to refine. However, what’s irreplaceable and fleeting is the time spent with peers in college. It’s essential not to overlook any moment but to cherish and maximise these experiences. And, of course, remember to pay attention to your line weights!

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Refining architecture plans_©2015 BalanceFormCreative via Shutterstock

Rosie, P., Rachel, S., Charles, D. and Mark, P. (2007). The Crit: An Architecture Student’s Handbook: Elsevier Publishers.

Urban Design Labs (2023). Architecture sheet composition Guide [online]. (Last updated 1 September 2023). Available at: [Accessed 15 June 2024].

Lizzie Crook (2019). Centre Pompidou is high-tech architecture’s inside-out landmark [online]. (Last updated 5 November 2019). Available at [Accessed 15 June 2024].

Anton Giuroiu (2024). Eiffel Tower: An Architecture Landmark to Visit in Paris [online]. (Last updated 15 May 2024). Available at [Accessed 15 June 2024].



Currently pursuing a degree in architecture Rachana hopes to specialize in the fields of adaptive reuse and heritage conservation. She believes architects must reflect existing human patterns in their designs. Her work focuses on blending tradition with innovation, creating sustainable spaces that honor history while addressing modern needs.