Architecture is said to be one of the toughest courses due to the long working hours, loads of submissions, and arduous juries. But is this five-year course only about submissions, sleepless nights; or for that matter, fun workshops, exciting study tours and site visits?
The answer is ‘No’.
It is true that architecture is a diverse field and is open to many options like photography, sketching, sculpture making, pottery, architectural journalism, product design, and so on; performed within the profession or outside the profession. But it is also a teacher of other life lessons that aren’t a part of academics. The skills are embedded in the students right from the first year and it only keeps on developing each year.
1. Teamwork (You just cannot be an introvert!)
One of the major parts of the architecture profession is teamwork. The building of a space or structure is impossible without a team which involves people from other areas too, like engineers, contractors, other designers, and people from allied fields.
The practice begins right in college, where we have to work with fellow students of different opinions and skillsets (architecture is a subjective field. You will probably not find so many clashes of opinions in any other field!).
(Tip- Also, be good to fellow students! They will help you with your software and models and keep you updated about the latest technologies in architecture. They will also play the role of clients, civil engineers, jurors, and of all those, that will help you to polish your skills.)
2. Taking Critiques and learning to cope with it
Talking about critiques, which we’ve been absorbing quietly or defending since the first jury, we become invulnerable to the critiques we get from the jurors that bring tears in our eyes; and yet we overcome those difficult times and develop the attitude to keep going and achieve our goal. We learn to have a strong opinion about our work.
Most funnily, we also develop a thick skin to the gazes from people while we take out our measuring tapes and start measuring the spaces or the roads and carry large models or rolls of sheets, which altogether helps us deal with such ridiculous situations but leave us with bountiful confidence about our work and lesser social awkwardness.
3. Patience and perseverance
The school of architecture tests our patience. The six-month hard-work goes in the dustbin within minutes if the jurors don’t like the design, or when we are asked to submit numerous models and sheets at impossible deadlines- leaving us frustrated and broken, and an urge to quit. The sleepless nights we spend solving design problems seem to fade. Yet, we stand again, dealing with the ups and downs, and continuing to work towards our goal with dedication.
4. Presentation and communication skills
Whether we are presenting our design to our classmates or teachers or jurors, it is a hardcore fact that we will get critiques – and a lot of them. So we prepare ourselves with a shield of ‘deep research and strong opinions’. Over the years, as we practice this skill in our studios, we feel comfortable presenting our work in front of any number of people apart from just studio mates and jurors; it also helps us to communicate our work to the clients; and make a layman imagine the spaces we design by our presentation and communication skills in their language.
After completing the education, even though we feel that a lot of the burden is taken away from our heads, we automatically tend to make architecture a ‘lifestyle’. We begin to think ‘architecturally’ and develop ‘architectural choices for everything. The skills that we learn in the school of architecture become a way of seeing the world with a whole new perspective.