Welcome to the war zone tears are not rare in these areas. All of us have heard about the notorious experiences of architecture college, few of us have had the privilege of experiencing them. In the words of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.’ Sure, there is a bit of exaggeration to the suffering, but it is certainly not a journey on anyone’s bucket list. I still remember so many stories by my seniors and even professors about their time in architecture college. During my first year, I remember one of my seniors was telling us about the horrors of his CAD files crashing and how he forgot to ‘SAVE’ his work. Being naïve at that moment, we didn’t think much of it, but when faced with the same horror two years later, I learned my lesson. 

Apart from these horrific lessons, we did learn a lot of things in architecture. The perspective you have when you begin your journey is quite single-minded in most cases. But as you gain experience, learn about more theories and explore the field, you understand that architecture is not one-dimensional but instead is exhaustive in-depth. In the beginning, it is all about the grandness of the design; everyone is trying to create something different, something marvelous. There is nothing wrong with pursuing that, however as you grow you discover the importance of stories. The story we fabricate around our design and how we represent it to either peers or clients is the principal detail of the design. I remember while preparing for my final portfolio my professor told me to focus on the story that I would want to represent through my designs; he asked me to create a portfolio that is understandable by my peers as well as any other person that views it and ask myself the question, “what do I want to be?” 

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Lucy Mcrae’s ‘Compression carpet’, she coined the term ‘Body Architect’ to answer the question – what do I want to be? _©Pinterest

Architecture is more than just buildings. Yes, designing buildings and spaces are our work however, that does not mean that this is where it ends. Architecture as a career has far and wider paths that most of us are aware of when we start but a lot of people have deviated from the main field and have expanded their work into the extended fields. I have seen architects that deviated into architectural photography or even game designing; it is about your design ideologies and interests and not following the norm. Reinventing yourself is extremely important what you want to be? What do you want your designs to be? You have to keep asking yourself these questions so that you do not feel trapped and always feel faithful to your designs.

On occasion, it is not about you or your design ideas and ideologies but is all about the client and his vision. We all have done some projects that we particularly did not like because the client kept asking for changes until it became something else entirely. Some projects you did just for the sake of money, you did try to add your design ideologies; however, it just was not that great for various reasons, and not every project in your portfolio will turn out like The Falling water.

The architecture will drain your blood metaphorically and sometimes even literally. Remember those long nights and the thirst of the modeling blade for your blood. Whatsoever may be the struggle; the process is what matters. Sketching and model making may be the most crucial technical skills we all might have learned in architecture school. No idea is a bad idea. Sketching every thought that you brainstorm is the best way to proceed with your design. We were given 15 minutes with sheets and pencils to create as many variations of the idea we have in our minds; at the end of every session, each one of us used to have so many completely different thoughts and ideas. The most important thing with sketching is it takes away your fear of bad design; when you sketch nothing is bad while everything is acceptable. Then working further on these sketches, the development of rudimentary models gives you the visual perception of your idea.

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Carlo Scarpa’s sketch for Castelvecchio, 1962 _©Research Gate

Swift visualization of the design solution, basically the architecture school teaches you to think on your feet and represent your idea in the most organic yet acceptable way. This skill will go a long way in retaining clients in your career. I have had many client presentations where you were asked to give an alternative idea immediately; this swiftness made all the difference.

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Sou Fujimoto presents three-dimensional design sketches made from everyday materials such as staples. _©www.latimes.com

Section, section, section. The chant of every professor ever in architecture college. It may feel frustrating; nonetheless, the right presentation of the sections can make or break your design sometimes. They might be a hassle to create, but they are the most accurate description of your design. So, we might want to curse the professor, but sections do matter; they matter the most. 

Section of the Grand Central Terminal, New york _©Twitter

After all these years as an architecture student and professional, the principles that we all have gained not only made us a better architect but have also made us into a better person. The presumptions are left behind, and a system of beliefs is instated. Architecture is not just about design, but it is a cohesive process, cohesion with execution.


Taapsi Nayyar, a recent post graduate in Interior Architecture and Spatial Design from Edinburgh College of Art, United Kingdom. She is an avid reader and painter with a passion for art, culture and architecture. Furthermore, she is working on exploring the relationship betweeninterior design theories and their impact on the psychological behavior of users.