When I first started studying in Architecture School, I was already preoccupied with a vague idea about the architecture profession. I could imagine myself building miniature models and sketching buildings in my office. However, attending the classes soon proved me wrong.
The spectrum of architecture spans numerous disciplines so that the architect has to define the concept and coordinate the building process. Therefore, my idea of the creative that prepares plans on his deck collapsed, but a different perspective came to fill in. Here are some of the most important things I learned during my studies.
Architecture Accommodates Intent
Architecture has to provide actual solutions for specific needs. As an architectural student, you have to examine the program requirements in detail. Creating a list with all the activities that will take place in the building is key to conceiving the building itself.
Architecture is also a synonym for conscious meaning. The goal is to mediate an underlying message through design or to outline a spatial narrative. So, the design should be an answer to the required specifications, but also convey meaning.
Learning to form the contextual and spatial conditions that enable exciting experiences to happen, constitutes the core of architectural thought. In architecture school, one has to comply with the rules and create within the restrictions.
The Analysis Defines The Design Process
In Architecture school, the design process is the most important criterion for the project evaluation. The results are not as relevant as the path that you used. The design process consists of two parts: the analysis and the synthesis, where you have to combine all parameters in a coherent concept.
The analytical tools that you apply are indicators of your way of thinking. They incorporate your design principles and already have a synthetical aspect. In the beginning, you have to conduct a site analysis, examining all geographical and socioeconomic parameters, continued by relevant case study research according to the given program.
Then, you have to shift to the synthesis of the building, taking into consideration all the results. Even at later phases of the planning, employing analytical thinking to create diagrams about the project is highly required. The analysis leads to the design concept and also becomes a strong representational element.
Build Three-Dimensional Models
Three-dimensional physical or digital models can help you explore your project in new ways. From the early design phase, you need to create a massing model that will reveal the volumetry of your project. It should be a study-model that you can easily change to test multiple design options under consideration.
You should be able to rebuild it, add, or remove surfaces from it. So, be sure to choose a material that allows you to build it fast. The digital model allows you to compare different concepts quite faster. CAD and image processing Software proficiency is an essential tool you want to master as soon as possible.
There are plenty of programs that allow you to visualize your projects, but as soon as you master one of them, it becomes easier to expand your knowledge, as they share similarities.
In architecture school, there are plenty of team projects that encourage student collaboration. It can be a frustrating procedure, but it is essential to develop communication skills and put aside the creative ego. You have to learn to accept other people’s ideas and implement them, although they are not identical to your aspirations.
Teamwork can lead to great results, while all students learn a lot through exchanging ideas and sharing their background knowledge. Furthermore, this is one of the most useful lessons, as it is a fundamental skill also needed in any architectural firm. So, the sooner you learn to work with other people efficiently, the easier your work life will be.
Acquire General Knowledge
In Architecture school, you will also receive a universal education. You will gain general knowledge in different scientific fields that will enable you to orchestrate the design process. The coursework consists of subjects from diverse disciplines, like philosophy, world history, and neuroscience.
Nevertheless, learning is an ongoing process. So, to stay up to date with the technological and environmental progress and to react correspondingly, you should do additional research on your own. Although architects get a grasp of different sciences, we are not experts in those fields. Thus, it is necessary to work in transdisciplinary teams and cooperate, especially for large-scale projects.
Present Your Work
The most demanding exercise in Architecture school is constant presentations. Some students are struggling to get used to them at the beginning. Being able to explain your work requires practice.
For this part, you will need to acquire strong persuasion skills and be ready to defend your concept. Being eloquent and sometimes even argumentative is a key part of the young student’s life. It is an opportunity to boost your confidence, as you will often need to present your work or even yourself to future clients or employers.
The things I learned in Architecture School shaped my idea about the spaces around us and changed me as a person. Studying architecture is entering a new world and developing a new way of perceiving your surroundings.
Although there are differences between the work environment requirements and the university exercises, the knowledge you obtain will help you deal with potential challenges in any work environment. Just keep enhancing your skills and studying the versatile nature of architecture to develop resilient future projects.