Stress, anxiety, depression, and fear. Is it all worth it?
Low grades, less knowledge, and high competition. Is it all worth it?
Lots of investment, lots of energy, and lots of time. Is it all worth it?
Is it all worth it?
A question that bangs in our head from time to time while being an architecture student. An interview was held in the documentary “Behind Closed Doors- The Life of an Architect” to expose the answers from aspiring architects, interior architects, interior designers, BIM managers, landscape architects, intern architects, and graduate architects.
Zaha Hadid once said, “If you want an easy life, don’t become an architect.”
But why? Why isn’t it an easy life? What do we’ve to sacrifice? Let’s find out below.
15 people. 15 visions. 15 statements.
“The education from university is like a ball of knowledge that will sit into your entire career that will be dip into and pull constant things out at the appropriate time. Therefore, it is fine and not to worry about.”– An optimistic approach by Chris.
A never-ending learning journey is what architecture is all about. It includes dealing with people(fantastic and worse), understanding your failures, learning psychologies, human personalities, politics, and decisions by the government. A constant path that evolves and rewards us from time to time. For example:- Architects have their timesheets which include the varying percentages for business works, project works, and business development plans, as it proves everything is vital to growth.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Chris, from the university.”– Run to the beat of your drum: If you believe you’re right from your heart, then ignore the contradicting vision of someone else. Architecture is about art rather than science, is about perspectives, and is about finding inspiration and ideas.
In university, we learn designing, thinking, technological skills, and so forth, that even helps a little bit at the start of our practice. But in practice, everything happens with high speed, including design work that helps to put a building together, massaging the best workable options, conceptualizing, talking to the team, and also reverting to a thousand emails concurrently.
Practice starts when you land a job. There are times when even after four years of graduation, you’re totally into documentation work rather than interacting with clients, leading you to think about your worth and feel hurt being a social person. Though, keep the hustle with the increasing graph of your knowledge and be physically fit for your mental strength.
Graduates believe whatever they do is perfect, but their mindset gets molded according to the firm’s patterns. Therefore it is recommended to take a grain of salt with everything, as it adds a new perspective. For instance, if the design gets changed by someone, rather than thinking your seniors are trying to crush your soul, they might be trying to provide you guidance. These might lead to hectic times for resolving constraints and completing the huge final work on time, whereas everything gets equalized when we see people enjoying that space.
“An architect is about managing people, interacting with people, convincing people about what you’re doing. It is a people-focused job, whether face-to-face or virtual.” says David.
A void still in universities’ teachings is that architecture is not only about creative or artistic design but also about a process. Discussing ideas and evolution is the first phase, whereas implementing and navigating the works is the other phase. In practice, we might get suffocated due to burdens, but in the end, we’ve to understand that a good amount of money, people, and time gets invested in the projects.
David enjoys day-to-day tasks by listening to diverse people’s ideas according to their perspectives in the workshop room. Connecting the two dots through these meetings helps him to know the diverse knowledge everyone has.
What we design in universities is pretty, but in practice, we design something good and keep on working on the best option for people.
It feels great that every architect has utopian ideas due to their demographics, socioeconomics, culture, and all the aspects varying from different areas. On the contrary, it sometimes becomes frustrated due to the challenges and clashes it creates while communicating the ideas.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Mohammed, from the university.”– Be receptive and communicative because, with different cultures, visions, and wisdom, we learn a lot more than we even realize. Also, be like a sponge while reading, listening, and understanding to gather knowledge.
It feels amazing to see the projects turn from sketch to reality, but it even becomes stressful sometimes due to the deadlines.
Studies are all about hands-on experiences, good challenges, and experimentation, however, we learn budgets, programs, phases, and so forth after entering the real world of architecture. Whenever allowed to attain working experience, it shall be taken without a thought as it slowly and steadily tends to push our boundaries.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Dani, from the university.”– Do not be a last-minute person and work on your time-management skills.
“Without compromise and collaboration, you won’t go anywhere.”, says Raphael.
A shift from self-oriented things of being a graduate to selfless decisions in practice relating to teams and clients is vital. On the other side, for our hunger, we might keep inspiring ourselves through architectural blogs, talks, or social platforms that help us to know, learn and upgrade ourselves about what is happening in the world.
“Nobody expects you to be Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe at 22. These types of people are unique in the world therefore enjoy and embrace every moment as it gives you freedom and vibrancy. A 3 a.m. presentation will not define who you are, so continue with your learning journey.”, says Paul Cooksey.
The most enjoyable tasks in an architect’s day can be talking to contractors about the complexities of a project and understanding solutions, which leads to numerous things that are still to be learned. Secondly, helping and designing buildings for people that resolve the problems according to their needs. Third, the field of architecture is not always about pushing information but taking it too.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Paul, from the university.”– Read and draw more! Pick a pencil and draw something whenever something comes to your mind. It’s crucial to take out the ideas even if the sketching quality is not good.
In practice, we learn a lot of technical stuff, such as contacting people, asking for samples, working with clients, and communicating better than us during our university.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Nelize, from the university.”– Keep growing, learning new things, and passing through the frustrating phases; while working on them because, in the end, we get to know it wasn’t that bad.
In university, we shall seek out tutors who particularly run their practice, try to understand different types of firm patterns, and what suits us the best. Later in practice, being unbiased with a particular person and doing our job in the best way is required.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Gabrielle, from the university.”– Design conversations shall have your voice, as is very important for our growth even after being very experienced. We shall understand that it is not about our level of knowledge, but a contributing mindset to learn from a team.
The site-focus jobs’ primary goals are: to talk to contractors, look for RFIs(Request For Information), work on workflows and shop drawings, and revert to emails. But, everything becomes a little difficult if there is no positive environment(happy and collaborative) at a firm.
15. Mariano Didwoni
Learning and pursuing your passion are the things we receive from the universities. An extensive amount of camaraderie, collegiality, experimentations, and cultivated thoughts while expanding your latitude are the most amazing experiences for the students. Whether we are in education or profession, don’t forget there are always good and bad things, so keeping a positive attitude towards architecture will help to grow better. In the end, stepping into someone’s shoes for a temporary duration helps deliver a better structure which includes understanding their life, profession, political persuasions, commercial agendas, family situations, and so forth all come into this vision.
“Look back and tell something to the 1st year’s Mariano, from the university.”– The life of an architect is like a marathon where the path will not be linear and happy therefore, continue your journey with patience as it takes time to change the world.
“I have been an architecture student and intern architect within the last six years, but haven’t got that much clarity before”- The author(Anmol Billa).
When the author knocked on the door to see the life of an Architect, it changed the vision and misconceptions about architecture. It proved that we’ve sleep deprivation, hectic schedules, collaborations, challenges, stresses, meetings, and consumption of lots of caffeine, but if it is about our passion, nothing can stop us. This clearly explains what we(including me) can take being the young architects.
- Successful Archi Student, 2022. Behind Closed Doors – The Life of an Architect (Full Documentary).
- Available at: <https://youtu.be/WPAXl02M9cg> [Accessed 5 June 2022].