Ultimate List of Advice for Incoming Architecture Students
Architecture school. You’ve heard the myths – the legends of all-nighters and innovation, of unmatched workaholism and love for the profession. Perhaps you know what you want – to solve the great urbanization problem, to create the next sustainable wonder-gadget, or maybe just to start your own firm and show the architectural world how it’s done. Maybe you have no idea what you want to do, drawn to architecture by the romance, the larger-than-life scale. Maybe you’re an artist who wants a job when they graduate. A hometown hero, you’re about to be thrown into a classroom of the best, possibly for the first time in your life. You’ll be surrounded by the brightest in engineering, problem solving, writing, drawing and a host of other skills. Anxious and excited, you stand ready at the doors of architectural education, hungry for innovation and ready to share and learn from others. Stepping inside that first day, you prepare yourself for the best – and most difficult times of your life so far.
To prepare you for the strange beast that is architecture school, shed light on what is fact and fiction, and give you some peace of mind, we at ArchDaily have prepared a list of advice for all incoming architecture students. There is no other education in the world quite like an architectural one, and we hope that this list can help prepare you for its unique wonders and challenges. The advice below is meant to ease the transition into school as much as possible – but be warned, nothing can compare to experiencing the real deal. Read them all after the break.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME
School is what you make of it, so give it your best.
Ask Questions: You will (most likely) never be in this type of learning environment and be surrounded by this many intellectuals again, so make the most of it.
Teach yourself: Even though you’ll be learning from your teachers and fellow students, it’s important to teach yourself the things that aren’t always included in the curriculum. The internet is home to a beautiful, magnificent, constantly-updated treasure trove of tutorials.
Organize & catalog your research: Use My ArchDaily. In the digital age, information can be excessive and overwhelming. Taking the time to organize your research not only refines your results, but helps develop your taste and can serve as a tool in the future.
Travel: Nothing can compare to experiencing a city or building in person – and it will look good on your resume.
Read all that you can: Use your school’s library to comb through journals and books. Follow your favorite site’s RSS feeds.
Visit ArchDaily for inspiration: It’s what we’re here for!
Don’t be afraid to question your teachers: It can be tempting to gain favor with your tutors by doing everything they say, but there are many ways to approach architecture and becoming a clone of someone else isn’t always the best way. You’ll produce more interesting and individual architecture by learning from your teachers, but also questioning them occasionally.
Persevere: Frustration will be part of your everyday life when studying architecture. Each year will test your resolve to continue in the profession, but if you love the work, keep mind of the big picture.
Be Patient: Listening to an arrogant colleague or professor might be hard work, but there is always something to learn – even if it’s just what not to do.
Create freely: Schools are there to open our minds. Don’t let others close it. Often you will not find reasons for some architectural decisions you make. Just believe in your will. You have just five years of total experimental freedom.
Go to class: Though this may seem like a no-brainer, often Architecture students skip lectures to work on studio projects. Not only are you depriving yourself of a break from studio and a well-rounded education, it’s the worst form of disrespect to your professors who have spent time preparing their lectures.
Stay busy: Though downtime is rare, find a measurable and resolvable problem to work at when you have it. Enter competitions or try solving problems in your immediate environment, like making your studio more environmentally friendly.