College is a significant step for anyone. It is where a person faces the real world and discovers his/her individuality.
Architecture colleges are a step ahead of other colleges in this aspect. An architecture school is like an ocean. It has so much to offer, and I find it challenging to number the things I have learned in my architecture school.
When I first stepped into my college, it was overwhelming, but I will never forget the campus’s vibe. From faculties to the juniors, all of them were interacting without any hesitation. Most of them seemed to be passionate. A sense of joy prickled when I peeked into the classrooms (Sorry Studios). During the campus tour, only two theory classes were happening where students were seated on the writing armchair. Students were drawing something(drafting) in a half-bent position (to be precise) in all the other studios. Everything was wonderfully weird, from using scotch tape to carrying T-scale and set squares.
PROCESS OF DESIGNING
The one best thing I learned was the significance of the progress of the design. It is usual for anyone to visualize the end product before getting to it. But my faculties always insisted on sitting with a butter sheet/sketchbook at first. While it was a bit annoying, gradually I learned how crucial it was. By observing the process, I was able to witness the evolution of the project I designed. I still remember having a great laugh at the first sketch I made for a mall design at the end of the semester. In simple words, “Rome was not built in a day.”
Architecture school made me wonder so many things and also gave me the curiosity to search for answers. How can a building stand for 100 years? Why do some buildings develop cracks quickly? Why are some cities developed, and some are not? How is urban planning connected with people and cultures? How does climate influence street patterns? While some of the questions have definite answers, most of them offer different opinions in place of answers. All these opinions guided me to understand my individuality as a person and as an architect.
ART OF OBSERVATION
Observing things is one of the many qualities that I acquired after going to an architecture school. You would have walked past an old building every day from your childhood. But have you ever wondered why it was uninhabited or who was the landowner or how it survived so many years without supervision?
Architecture school helped me to understand the distinction between noticing and observing. You notice a million things every day, but out of that, you register hardly any. Details matter a lot. Only when you observe the stroke of your brush, you will be able to finish the masterpiece.
ABOUT AN HOUSE!
What I am going to tell might sound crazy. Yes, I learned about houses. After joining the architecture school, I realized the processes and people involved in constructing a simple residence. From introducing a concept to drafting a plan, it is like nurturing a plant. We Indians have a sentimental attachment to lands and houses. For most people, building a house is one of the things in their bucket list. I have heard many people talking about a dream house and so much more. But seeing a house from an architect’s point of view was quite different and a wonderful experience. It was the moment I realized I was not a commoner.
I have never heard of any course that requires a student to learn a wide variety of skills other than architecture. Sketching, understanding colour schemes, manual drafting, software (2D & 3D), and mathematics are skills learned by architects. It is not mandatory to be an expert in all these, but everyone expects a beginner level. So basically, the course itself introduces the students to multi-tasking.
Patience is the one word that summarizes the course as a whole. The college will put you through so many different situations to push you over the edge. You should carefully watch your temper when faculties tear your sheets, smash your models or give redo for the nth time. Unfortunately, even your laptop may betray you at the last moment. Everything in architecture takes time like your renders that take a whole night. But it is for the best. Last but not least, AutoCAD predicts your viva dates and crashes precisely the night before (change your autosave to 5 minutes, just in case)
Even after completing the course, you may have to wait for the right client, the right project, or the right time to start your firm. Hang in there. Good things take time.
LOVE & PASSION
The architecture was not my first choice when I passed out of high school. I was creative, and my friends suggested that this would be the right course for me. It turns out they were not wrong.
I somehow fell in love with architecture, from being clueless about what it means to write an article about it. I cherish every moment as an architecture student. Right now, I might just have taken my first step, but I could not wait to travel on this journey.