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10 things you dont get taught in Architecture School 662 60 4 16POST A COMMENT In my early assignments at Architecture School I struggled to obtain a passing m ark and in fact, I was lucky to make it through my 1st year! Initially, Architec ture School was overwhelming, in particular I struggled learning the new design l anguage , managing the intense studio hours (goodbye to mum and dad for a while) a nd dealing with the tough criticism. Then there were the super-students , those who appeared to achieve the unattainable; Supers could draw in plan, section AND pers pective, not to mention they maintained a superior ability to verbally communica te and sell their ideas. Six years on from this tough beginning I graduated with high distinction, achiev ing the highest overall aggregated marks of all students, in the subject areas o f History, Theory, Construction, Practice and Design. I was the University of T echnology (UTS) winner of the most Outstanding Design Student in 2010, awarded a scholarship to study in L.A. and was also nominated by UTS for the NSW Architec ts Medallion in 2011. Today I reflect on my time at university (or college for my US readers) to recog nize that the most important lessons didn t come from what was in the curriculum, but from what I discovered along the way, including things relating to architect ure, life and individually. Through my own experience, and in no particular orde r here is what I uncovered about surviving and achieving high in architecture sc hool. The following was instrumental to my experience and growth allowing me to literally go from the bottom of the class to the top! 10 things you don t get taught in Architecture School: 1: Forget about Winning or Losing Architecture is undoubtedly subjective and therefore your tutors will tend to fi nd value (or lack of) in things that you don t (or others don t) and vice versa. Whe n you stop focusing on what other people do (or think) then you will become more capable of focusing on your individual design value and agenda. Ultimately, by ruling out the process of comparison you begin to define your own standards and measures of success which, in my case, is greater than the perceived expectation s that someone else will place upon me. You therefore create your own benchmark for success. Document your work well and find a good forum such as pushpullbar.c om for presenting your ideas and being open for criticism and growth. Always be satisfied with your achievement, irrespective of your mark and of those around y ou, part of what makes architecture so exciting is the fact that everyone contri

at minimum. When it comes to the design brief. your tutor needs to see. what you can learn from them and how to approach and pitch your design strategies. or perhaps a problem (even better!) to the jury or client (in your c ase tutor) which stood out from the competition. tutors establish the brief to ensure students address particular challenges and import ant considerations relating to the design subject. It is also important to be professional. If you need extra help. Tutors hope to see progress every single week and if you start developing your design from day one without stopping. addressing the requirements of the brief (see 4: Break the rules). There is far more value in a student who strives to find solutions that challeng e the status quo than in one who simply meets the rules without considering why they ve been established (and what they do) in the first place. which in turn will lead to questioning: so why does the house need to be 2 sto ries? There is never only one answer rather university is about speculating many and asking the right questions. students are not able to achieve the same kind of thought processes with consideration and continuous design iterations that the students with momentum have. it is unlikely you will feel the need to pull an all-nighter before su bmission time (this being the quintessential anti-momentum). and when done so successfully you will stand out from your peers. just be present and invested. the student who best communicates their idea in architecture school will likely get the highest mark. Maintaining this will also eliminate the need for major last -minute design changes that often do more harm than good. With momentum it is difficult to sto p. the house must be 2 stories high or you must ha ve 6m setback from the road.butes uniquely to its perception. Many architects who have won major competitions (look no further. 4: Break the Rules It is important to think of the design brief as your minimum expectation. values and motivations. 2: Your tutor is your client Similar to a client. and in the sa me way. break and/or negotiate the rules but always understand why. The most successful projects are unlikely to be developed in just 1 night and design tutors are wel l aware of the students who haven t slept based on the thoroughness of their proje ct. as well as generate a more valuable discussion for learning. By bringing unexpected agendas and obstacles into view. There will be a number of rul es which are outlined in the brief. visit their office or catch up in a cafe. Curiosity will lead to discovery . Last-minute changes ar e usually less resolved and less likely to be communicated successfully. By understanding what their methodology and interest in architecture is you can best gauge how th ey can help you. discourse and practice. In a design competition the firm that best commu nicates their idea through various mediums will often win the job. rules are made to be broken. it is difficult to start. ask for advice. By doing this you think about how architecture works as opposed to how it looks. 3: Play the Momentum Many great leaders in business (including Donald Trump) talk about the importanc e of establishing and maintaining momentum. Bernard Tschum i) have done so by breaking and/or negotiating the rules. if you have a better solution. while without momentum. However. Taking the time to know your tutor (like you would a client) will give you a gre ater understanding of their knowledge. to communicate a desig n solution. understand and be convinced by you r design process and resolution. You need to be able to convince your tutor that your design is well-considered. your tuto rs are likely to have many responsibilities outside being a teacher and mentor s o show them that you respect their time by considering their advice seriously an d by working hard. Without momentum. architectural proposals can re-order the traditional lo .

You need to develop strong visual. and even better is Architecture inspired by Science Fiction or Fa ntasy. One of my favourite architects Andrew Maynard often talks about the storm trooper detail in his work. in an interview with the New Yorker he describes h imself as a true extrovert. personal reso urces. While it is important to have these people available to guide you. Admittedly. process and resolution Bjarke Ingels is a master when it c omes to winning competitions. they are behind the wheel driving. Why bother trying to drudge through any part of the process ? 7: Up-skill Your tools. Limiting your influences can quite simply lead to producing designs that loo k generic because one can only imagine the reproduction of what they know or hav e seen. at one point or another. As soon as you fee l that you do not love what you re doing. In their protest for what they believe they don t stand in-front of the car. May Not Architecture Again Become a Living Art? ). verba l and written communication skills. Many successfu l architecture partnerships are formed between people who met in school. Seek out events and happenings that will expose you to other . Don t feel like you are doing the work because you have to. Your capacity to communicate ideas is your hammer and chisel. biology or cerami cs. his idea. allowing you to naturally broaden your skill-set. It is also possible to do subjects outside architecture by taking units in anthropology.gic (see Arakawa and Gins) and allow the jury or client (or tutor. it is important to have many influence s and mentors from outside the industry. or the public ) to find unexpected value. Redirect your process or motivation and don t let anything get in the way o f your love affair (see Louis Sullivan s essay. question why and re-eva luate. for example. Something as simple as mastering Google search. think of everyone you encounter during school as a potential connecti on for the future. CAD programs. or getting models laser cut can save hours! 8: Build meaningful relationships The relationships you build. Game changing Architects advocate a strong cause and with precise convict ion. Having broad motivations and influences will allow you to constantly inf orm your peers and tutors and to keep them engaged in your projects and processe s by showing them a perspective which is unique and outside their own. Through concise yet relaxed storytelling com municating. I often did self-guided subjects where I could write my own design brief to expl ore such topics of anarchy and architecture and social and political agendas in architecture because this is what most interested me. 6: Have cause and conviction Be passionate about something to motivate you through university and into your c areer. creating a broader and more interesting forum for discu ssion and negotiation. rather yo u should do it because you want to and allow your energetic attitude to inspire and lift your peers. it s time to stop. 5: Have broad influences and mentors When studying Architecture it is quite easy to isolate all of your influences an d mentors to people who directly work in the industry. techniques and methods of communication will significantly affect yo ur ability to communicate architecture. every ar chitecture student finds him or herself dragging their heels. and way of thinking about architecture (think of Shigeru Ban s unique weavi ng aesthetic). represent the beginning of defining your views and finding your own path in architecture. which is a white surface with black detailing revealed benea th. (see As ymptote Architecture or Hurzog & de Meuron) But beyond keeping a reliable group of go-tos. This allowed me learn from people with vastly different perspectives and considerations and to then apply this thinking back into architecture. both in and out of school.

idiosyncratic work is far more satisfying than any mark. Park inson s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexi ty in relation to the time allotted for its completion. I can tell you now that to be surprised by your own. By contrast. A lot of people never use their i nitiative because no one told them to Banksy. . at the right time. 10: Don t expect the outcome Students often limit their projects by anticipating certain aspects or the desig n outcome far too early on in the process. This is also unfortunately common in practice and ge nerally Architects need to be better managers. Like I said back at number 1. When you anticipate a given outcome. time.dpuf .com/10-things-you-dont-get-taught-in-archi tecture-school/#sthash. taking you places not possible without. resources and so on for maximum gain.966sacWe. embracing what serendipitous events come up along the way. money. then you are denying yourself the opportunity to discover what you could no t have expected. . 9: Learn project management As an architecture student. Not ever did I feel a design project was perfect and likewise Architects on every project wish they had done something (or many things) differently.com. intuitions and hunches of individual thought and expression. one of the first things you find out (and last thing s you learn to figure in) is that everything will likely take three to five time s longer than you expected. allowing you to m ake smart decisions on where to spend your effort. For anyone who would like to learn more about any of my points above please feel free to email linda@archi-ninja. if you try to set yourself up for the act of discover y. The Four Ho ur Work week.Tim Ferriss.archi-ninja. you will begin to tap into the tacit and often highly subjective insights. For anyone who has finis hed architecture school or currently learning things along the way Id love to he ar your own experiences and advice in the comment section below. processes and focus will naturally be managed in a way to best meet the anticipa ted solution. equipment.people in the field. Having conversations with as many people in the industry as possible will open up the most opportunities for you to grow and form new profe ssional friendships and partnerships. or planning to study architecture finds m y advice helpful. there are no winners or losers architecture is interesting because it is after all ca pable of surprise! I hope everyone studying architecture. I believe this is because archite cture is both a qualitative and quantitative process which helps to negate the fi nish line. Understanding the perceived importance of a given task will effectively allow yo u to direct your focus on the right things. your research. If you are too focused on a fixed res ult. no one can teach y ou the answer. you need to discover and create.See more at: http://www. You will need to find your own way. be engaged and proactive. For more guidance on study hacks and optimising the use of your time check out Cal Newport s blog and 99U.

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