The first year of an architecture college plays a significant role in shaping the minds of aspiring architects. The freshman studio is a phase of metamorphosis for most students. They have quite a few preconceived notions about what architecture is. But, it is about more than learning to design spaces, and whether or not you realize it at the time, the architecture college becomes an excellent teacher of life lessons. Some of these aptitudes might have nothing to do with how to design yet end up teaching a tremendous deal about it.

Things Architecture College Teaches You - Sheet1
Architect_Art by tubik

Architecture is a multifaceted profession- drawing aspect of it requires artistic skills, while the technical side of it requires analytical skills. The students must get familiar to studio learning, explore unexpected solutions, and discover its culture of experimentation and collaborative learning.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom that an architecture college teaches you –

  1. Reorient your thinking: Before you jump right into a design project, learn to reorient your thinking. You can start by being conscious of how you are structuring your thoughts while thinking. Consider the space from inside-out if you are doubtful then question yourself and do not fear to begin again.
  2. Understand the process: The purpose of architecture is not to reach the end product, but it is a journey towards that end product. The entire process of architecture- the designing and the construction phase, needs a more profound understanding of the relationship with its surroundings to attain consistent and repeatable results. “Being process-oriented, not product-driven, is the most important and difficult skill for a designer to develop.” – 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School Book by Matthew Frederick
  3. The dynamic architecture: There is a flux, a constant transformation of construction and deconstruction which makes architecture organic and ever-growing. The notion of architecture is not in theory but a growing organism. A perpetual, dynamic process which begins at the table of an architect, keeps evolving and continues until the structure is in existence.
  4. Never stop questioning: The curiosity of an architecture student and the ability to question everything or everyone is what keeps their imaginations stirring.
Things Architecture College Teaches You - Sheet2
Never stop questioning_Vetores Duvida
  1. Problems become opportunities: Begin to find triumph in your limitations and adapt your obstacles as opportunities to design.
  2. Communication:  Students can think of brilliant ideas, but they are of no use if they can not effectively communicate them, emotionally engage or socially interact with them. We must remember that Architecture is a process of communication between an artist and the art.
  3. Criticism: Architecture college has infinite possibilities of criticism and feedback. Make sure to make the most constructive critics and be willing to learn. You do not have to get on the defensive side, but have a proper debate about your design choices or motives.
  4. Making mistakes: You are making a mistake if you think that you are not making any mistakes. See your failures as a means of growth. It is necessary to fail because that is how you learn to progress. Understanding the difference between fruitful or unfruitful ideas and moving on to viable solutions is very crucial. With that, you must master the art of learning and unlearning things.
  5. Travel: Students must take frequent trips or study tours to experience the architecture of various cities. It allows creating timeless architecture and also gives an insight into cultures and lifestyles of people.
Things Architecture College Teaches You - Sheet3
Glass room_Matthieu Forichon
  1. Jack of all trades: There is no bar to the amount of knowledge you can gain as an architecture student. Interactive studios and college environment with seniors being your secondary professors, you can be an all-rounder. “An architect knows something about everything. An engineer knows everything about one thing.” – 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School Book by Matthew Frederick
  2. Narratives: Every piece of architecture tells a story. Students must explore how to narrate their experiences, discoveries and unravel the truth behind architecture with words.
  3. Making a difference: As architects, we have a huge responsibility to design things that enhance the lives of others, and this consequently allows architects to find essential careers.
  4. Detail-oriented: Have a keen and observant eye to see the details which a non-architect vision misses out easily.
  5. Read avidly: Reading books, blogs, newspapers, and journals help to build an understanding of the world around you. One of the ways to be a successful architect is to be well-read about the intersections of culture, science and technology, and business.
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  1. Experience: As students, we can traverse our versatility by working in a variety of environments- be it alone, in a team or as a leader. Do not just focus on academics entirely. Try competitions, online courses, freelancing work to gain experience.
  2. Do not complicate: Follow simplicity in your approach while thinking of solutions for any design project. “Create architectural richness through informed simplicity or an interaction of simples rather than through unnecessarily busy agglomerations.” – 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School Book by Matthew Frederick
  3. Embrace the experimental freedom: Make the most of your journey in the architecture college. You have complete freedom to think out the box, be imaginative and embrace the total experimental freedom that you have.

Architecture colleges are very different from colleges in other fields. So, relish your time. It is a journey of its kind, live it up!


Yachika Sharma is an architect who recently graduated from Chandigarh College of Architecture. She has a profound passion for architecture, poetry, art and travelling. She believes that it is crucial to go on to an adventure to fathom a city and unravel the little subtleties of city life.