Used to be an architecture student. Now I am here to inspire you, between work hours.
Attending architecture schools is an unexpected challenge for many students. If you want to become an architect, prepare yourself for how grueling an architecture degree really is. Especially at top architecture schools, studio courses are a rite of passage and a lot of students drop out. For those that make it through, completing a degree in architecture is well worth it. Here are a few ways to cope.
Instructions Difficulty: Challenging
1. Be prepared to spend a good portion of your waking hours in the studio. You have to accept upfront that you are not going to have the ‘typical’ college experience of partying and hanging around the dorm. That said, you are trading it for something that is potentially even more rewarding. Studio work in architecture schools is often engaging and interesting, and you’ll form lifelong bonds with your classmates. But if you absolutely cannot be deprived of the opportunity to perfect your keg stand technique, maybe you need to reconsider your major.
2. Learn to manage your time. Many students don’t grasp this concept until too late, but some learn to treat their architecture courses like a job. Plan to be there at the same time every morning and work consistently. Make a schedule to assure you will complete all the requirements of the project in time for your critique. Keep lists on a daily basis of the items you must accomplish, but be realistic. If you follow this advice, you will avoid the extremely late nights that make architecture schools infamous. You will also avoid the stress involved with rushing to complete your project just in time for a deadline.
3. Set aside some time for yourself. Obviously deadlines are an exception, but try to set aside at least one evening a week to have some fun, and also allow yourself to catch up on some sleep. Take a little time occasionally to go on a walk, do yoga, or get some other form of exercise on a daily basis. You spend a lot of hours sitting in architecture school, so a little physical activity is important.
4. Spend time in your school library flipping through architectural publications. Designing can be intimidating even for an experienced architect, but remember, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Studying precedents is a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t and how you can apply this knowledge to your own projects.
5. Don’t neglect your other classes. It’s easy to get sucked into the world of architecture studio, but remember you’re getting grades for all those other required credits, too. Think of these other classes as a break from studio. Architectural schools can be very focused, but the best architects are knowledgeable about other subjects as well.
+ some tips I’ve left a while back - 10 ways to make your life easier
I’ve first started with AutoCAD Architecture. First only 2D, but that turned out to be too much of a “long walk” process. Then went to AutoCAD 3D, it was nice, but I was never satisfied with the renderings. And I didn’t know how to use 3ds Max. Then I’ve discovered ArchiCAD and it turned out great. Fast work, fast renders, but you don’t have the freedom. I am convinced that Revit is based on ArchiCAD. And if you are using Revit, you know of the problem of creating curved surfaces and sort of sci architecture.
Then I’ve tried Revit and it was nice, but I’ve figured out that is more for a big team collaboration.
But then I’ve met Rhino. And it’s great. It has many plugins that ease your work, like Grasshopper, Armadillo, T-Splines etc. For creating floorplans, sections, elevations, I use the VisualARQ plug in. It add architectural futures, like walls, columns, beams, slabs, roofs, much like Revit. I get the stuff I need and then transfer them in AutoCAD to do some “makeup” on them, before plotting.
On the rendering engines - It supports Vray 1.5 (2.0 will come with Rhino5), Brazil (great quality, as Vray) and many more.
For construction details and some other line based drawings, I still use AutoCAD.
I’ve used 3ds Max + AutoCAD Architecture at one point, but It was time consuming.
And always use Photoshop for some other form of representation, or to add your final touches on your presentation.
My opinion on AutoCAD is that it’s great, but it will be relapsed by the BIM software like Revit, ArchiCAD and many others.
Hey meanwhilesghost, good question,
- Be succinct. Keep your application short and sweet, quality, not quantity.
- Be polite.
- Be sincere.
- Show your range, have variety, don’t present yourself as a one trick pony.
- I suggest snail mail over e-mail. e-mail is easy to dismiss, easy to lose and doesn’t take any real effort. Hard copies can provide a chance to show off.
- Don’t send e-mail with 20mb + of attachment material
- If you really must present a lot of work, have your own domain and post the work there. A tumblr would be fine by me though I’ve never seen it.
- If you decide to ignore my advice and send e-mail anyway, at least take the time to make a PDF. Keep it small.
- I like it when it’s clear that the application is written well and shows care and thought.
- I ignore the application when it places a burden on me. ie. “please call me to set up an interview”. Yes, this really happens.
- If you do get an interview do not expect the company/architect to work their schedule around yours. Take what you can get and adjust your schedule as needed. I have had a number of recent applicants act as though I was putting them out because they couldn’t meet when they wanted. In the end I didn’t interview any of them.
- Quality drawings and artwork are good. I prefer people who can draw with a pencil. People who can draw well generally understand 3d space.
- Don’t be afraid to drop by the office and introduce yourself. I prefer this because I can get a feel for the person behind all the statistics.
- Spell correctly, especially peoples names…..
- Don’t send an application by e-mail and cc: all the other offices you are interested in.
- Maybe it sounds harsh but don’t write on and on about yourself and how wonderful you are. Of course you think you are wonderful. Instead I suggest letting your presentation explain what you are capable of. It shows a different kind of confidence.
- Review the work of the company or practice you are applying to before applying so that you can talk about their work and ask questions if the opportunity arises.
- What have you built?
- What have you designed that was built?
- Edit. Don’t show up to an interview with a 100 page roll of drawings for a 30 story building then open it to show me the reception desk you worked on with 3 other people.
- Only present work that you have made significant contribution on. It doesn’t look good if/when you have to admit that all you really did on the $3,000,000 house you just presented is take notes at meetings near the end of construction.
- Understand the current market and fair market value. After all, I’m probably not going to hire you if you ask me to pay you more money than I already pay myself, right?
That’s all I have for now….If I think of any others I’ll add them later.
Great tips on a good job hunts
If Architects designed highways, they would be straight, scenic, and would take you somewhat close to your destination. I mean, you’d arrive where you probably should be, even though it might not be where you thought you wanted to go. Ah, but the view….
If Architects designed cruise ships they would be sleek, and dynamic, and inspire awe as they drifted aimlessly ashore into the rocks.
If Architects taught kindergarten kids, Kindergarten kids would be more sullen.
If Architects ran the National Parks, geysers would be more predictable, and bears would probably die.
If Architects designed artificial limbs, they would only be available in pairs, regardless of the needs of the patient.
If Architects liked birds, birds would be considered more cool.
If Architects dug holes, the holes would be perfectly square, and filled with concrete. The concrete would be polished to a fine luster. Architects would get upset if you told them they look like tombstones.
If Architects were given stars on Hollywood Blvd., they would want to use a straight edge when they write their name, and they wouldn’t want to put their hands in the wet concrete.
If Architects were to solve global warming, it would be surprising, and strikingly elegant.
If Architects made cookies, they would be perfectly round, appealing in texture and color, and inedible.
If Architects took vacations in the south of France, they’d keep business cards in the mesh pocket inside their swim trunks.
If Architects flew airplanes, the windows would be operable, and the top would be glazed and retractable. The seats would be made of 90% recycled materials. The barf bags would be the same.
If Architects helped you move into your new house, they would leave half of your furniture in the truck, and stubbornly refuse to “release” it.
If Architects reworked the tax code, there would be incentives for minimalism, however, the forms would be more complicated.
If Architects started wars, they would stick with them until they forgot why they were fighting, then they would blame their Structural Engineer.
If Architects ran the federal reserve, a small hole would appear in the fabric of time, all of the coins under our couch cushions would slip into this hole. Seven hours later Carl Sagan would come back to life and instantly suffer an aneurysm.
If Architects wrote blogs, they would….
Alright, back to work!!
Really Angie?? You are thinking of quitting just for the stupid monochromatic class. Come on … buckle up and do some fucked up art, or steal something form the internet :). It’s a 2h a week work, max, nothing more.
The mechanical drawing class … well that’s a little bit more serious. You have to get serious and learn how to draw. Architecture is not about - if you can draw a pretty picture, lets leave that to the painters. In architecture drawing is a technique. And every technique can be learned. Good drafting doesn’t make a good architect. It just makes a good drafter. Good architect is the one that can “see” a great idea in his mind. Putting the idea on paper is the technique that needs to be learned. The greatest architectural drawings I’ve seen are nothing more than a few continuous lines that capture the facts of the idea.
Mechanical/technical drawing or drafting, is what you will do all your life and in our profession is called “architectural drawing” and this is a must! It will be your tool of expressing your ideas.
So, you need to get serious for a moment and start working hard, get some help if you need, just don’t quit because of this. If you truly love architecture.
I’ve failed “History of Architecture - Old century”, TWICE and that never stopped me. Even though, I’ve passed all my architecture, design, engineering … and any kind of subject you can think of, the department still fails me on this subject, but, the hell with them, who are they to step on my dreams :))