Congratulations freshly minted graduates, you have survived the all-nighters spent in search of innovations. As you step out of college with a romanticized love-hate relationship with architecture in hopes of resolving urbanization problems, creating the next best sustainable module, or simply an architectural wonder, remember to fasten your seat belts as the real joy ride is yet to come.

“Architecture is not a profession for the faint-hearted, the weak-willed or the short-lived” Martin Filler

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In an attempt to prepare you for this one of a kind selfless profession we have prepared a list of instances and incidents that provide a preview into professional practice. Ruminate over all the advice to help you with the real deal whilst remembering Bruno Zevi’s warning to all of us that among the planets of the arts, architecture is the dark side of the moon.

Prepare for the Great Race

It will be an understatement to say that the final design dissertation year is an avalanche of workload. Even with this workload, prep your portfolio and seek jobs well before graduation. This will prove to be a huge advantage when the market is saturated with fresh graduates’ post-college convocations.

First Year all over again

While you may feel that the intense grilling through Architecture College has prepared you for practice. Professional practice is a completely different ball game and you will have to learn the basics all over again. Each firm has a dictated ideology and basis for conception governing specialized learning in a particular category of design

Pace the Star Architect Within You

The office will most definitely have a system of hierarchy unlike the one principal – one draftsman approach you are familiar with during your education. It may take at least a year before your opinion on design is seriously considered but rest assured it will be considered.

The 100th Option Is Probably Good Enough

There are only so many ways to do something. The most important thing that is expected from you is the hard work it takes to complete all the possible iterations. While this is a tedious process, with each passing year you will achieve the right answer sooner.

Be Ready To Diversify

Architecture is a relatively large umbrella providing different problem-solving solutions. The building Design branch may not suit your aspirations. In that case, you should be open to reviewing the relevance of your skillset to subcategories ranging from architectural photography to project management.

The Foot Fetish

Site execution demands the formidable language of feet and inches. From the mason to the client, the metric systems hold very little explanatory value. You are most likely to end up designing in the metric system and executing it in the imperial system. So brush up on the imperial system before starting professional practice.

Befriend The Bylaws.

Students are used to designing in a utopian world. The practice, on the other hand, is dominated by the by-laws. The amount to which design decisions are influenced by bylaws is going to be a hard pill to swallow. Nevertheless befriending the bylaws to your design instincts is going to be a very productive skill set.

This Job Pays In Experience

Well, this one hits where it hurts the most. The profession is sadly still struggling to maintain a moral compass and has most of its young employees underpaid. Famous organizations related to architecture and architects justify this iniquity with payment by experience.

Reintroduction to Personal Life

On the brighter side, there is a very distinct personal and professional life post-graduation. You can exercise in the mornings, attend events on weekends and the most prominent change is being able to sleep at a regular time. Though it is quite possible you might end up being a workaholic anyway.

Maintain Periodic Upgrade In Skill Set

This is probably the most important advice. Student gullibility leads to the graduates getting habituated to the office to home routine. Graduates should keep a clear agenda of the give and take relation with the company. Additionally, do not lose curiosity, keep researching, writing, attending workshops, learning new software, and participating in fellowships.

In Conclusion, we would just like to put out a disclaimer that you might win a Pritzker but your relatives and friends are still going to call you architecture instead of an architect. Only Divine intervention is capable of changing that. Professional practice does not guarantee to be any easier than Architecture College but the experience when your design is executed and presented as a completed project is truly humbling. Your enthusiasm and peculiarity will sail you through umpteen challenges, hang in there.

Author

A practicing Architect and an eager activist, Urvi is a staunch believer that architects have a subconscious impact on all the collaborative networks of the society. An underlying sense of responsibility towards this impact governs her practice and commentary.

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