Lifelong Lessons Gained from Architectural Education

Architectural Education

Architectural Education


Architecture, often seen as a symphony of science and art, extends its teachings far beyond the drafting table. While blueprints and designs are its lifeblood, architectural education provides a plethora of lifelong lessons that shape students’ perspectives, both professionally and personally. Let’s delve deeper into the profound, often overlooked teachings of architectural education.

Also Read:- Beyond the Blueprint: Cultivating Thoughtful Architecture Education

Pursuing architecture is a prolonged process, but it is worth experiencing, as it is said that anguish often leads to attainment. An architecture college teaches the tactics to conquer architecture school as well as life. In the beginning, each subject seems independent where some are technical, some skill-based, some historical, and some artistic & innovative. But, as it progresses through time, the learning fields overlap and start intertwining with each other. Every subject has its learnings that apply to the way of designing and a thought process. Each subject, though learned as a separate entity, links all of it into critical design thinking. The design studios would then culminate using all the subjects, and the final ‘thesis’ predictably integrates all this learning into a solitary well-thought-out project.

Foundations Beyond the Basics

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Architecture isn’t just about creating designs; it’s about solving complex spatial problems. This rigorous problem-solving training equips students to address challenges in myriad aspects of life.
  2. Interdisciplinary Integration: Architecture intertwines with history, sociology, engineering, and more. This interdisciplinary approach teaches students to appreciate the interconnectedness of knowledge.
  3. Observational Skills: A keen eye for detail is pivotal. From observing shadows to understanding the intricacies of materials, architects learn to observe, analyze, and interpret the world around them in unique ways.

Life Lessons from the Studio and Beyond

  1. Resilience in the Face of Critique: Regular design critiques inculcate a sense of resilience and adaptability. Students learn to accept feedback, iterate, and refine, both in designs and in life.
  2. Teamwork and Collaboration: Large-scale projects necessitate collaboration. Working in teams teaches effective communication, leadership, and the value of diverse perspectives.
  3. Sustainability and Responsibility: With a growing emphasis on green architecture, students internalize the importance of sustainable living and the responsibility they hold towards the planet.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity: Architecture often reflects culture. By studying global architectural styles and histories, students develop an appreciation and sensitivity towards diverse cultures and societies.

Architecture is about integrating various skills to bring out a sensible, tangible form. Architecture is all about a way of thinking and developing the power of imagination to produce design physically. Architecture school teaches us to be open to criticism working as a rethinking and resolving process. It teaches resilience and patience to execute something new and accept rejection & failure without losing confidence in our work and opinions. Meta thinking- thinking about how you think what you think helps position oneself correctly, orienting to the opportunities you grab in internships, jobs, and workshops. Some things sound naive, but to start it nonetheless and learn to embrace it is the only way to kickstart into a direction of better thinking.

The Broad Horizons of Architectural Education

  1. Business Acumen: From client negotiations to project management, architectural training also touches upon essential business skills, preparing students for entrepreneurial ventures.
  2. Ethical Foundations: Architects hold the responsibility of shaping skylines and landscapes. This power comes with ethical considerations, teaching students to weigh decisions against moral compasses.
  3. Lifelong Learning: The ever-evolving nature of architecture, with new materials, technologies, and challenges, instills a spirit of lifelong learning in students.

An architect should know something about everything. It is essential to learn from the past, not to replicate, rather innovate. It is necessary to understand that no design system is perfect. Nothing is right or wrong; it is about good design or bad design decisions. Design always depends on the zeitgeist (actions dominated by a given epoch’s characteristics or time). The design should be sensitive in making spaces and resolved with the perspective of human interface and living interactions. To consider the building as a living machine while designing as it’s an environment where people live and grow. Different perspectives reveal different things. Architecture is not just the building itself; it’s about the built environment, ecology, and context too.

Architecture always begins with an idea; however, it is all about the details. An architecture school prepares to develop a thinking process back and forth from whole to part and part to the whole, where each element forms the whole, hence attention to details. It also means working on different means of expressions, like from plans, sections to 3-dimensional models and renders to physical models as they are the mock-up about how the building will be progressed. It is essential to think out of the box when needed. Also, it is okay to work on concepts but also be realistic and pragmatic about it. So, to believe in instincts, but be practical about its applications.

An architecture school develops a quality of being self-critical consciously and imparts to look into our decisions. Learning, reading, and researching is a never-ending process and the only way to keep educating oneself. Persuasive communication techniques like marketing, public speaking, and presentation skills make expressing easy. Also, networking in design and architectural fraternity can be a formidable tool. It teaches us to work with multidisciplinary human resources through trips and study tours as traveling counts the most in this domain. Hence, it communicates the importance of teamwork and taking a stand for people you believe.

The prospectus of Architectural education consists of subjects and practices that yield experiences to kickstart the profession out of it. It acquaints the smart use of tools and software. It is important to craft a visual feast that multiplies every detail. Time management is an essential tool, and the best results are born out of consistency. Hence, it teaches us to be process-oriented, not product-driven. Designs should be improvised ideas, not a perfectly realized building. Sometimes, we are bound by some limitations because of the project needs. But limitations encourage creativity. We need to be creative problem solver with critical design thinking. Coffee/ tea is the best friend in this process, and music, the best companion.

Other handful maxims that help through the architecture college and career are; Sketching/ expressing ideas on paper is most important, documentation & backup is the only key to a happy mind space. Never leave the urge to learn new things, always maintain work ethics, uphold professionalism, commit to yourself, set goals, strive to your expectations to deliver satisfaction in the work, hold onto your vision, and believe in yourself. Produce value drawing- quality matters, not quantity. If you can’t explain the design to your grandma in simple ways, understand that you are not evident in the subject. It should be clear, crisp, able to express well, and speak of itself with a stand. Architecture school not only bestows knowledge of skills but also bequeaths lessons that become an asset in academia and life.

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