hello! i'm an incoming architect student....i'm kinda nervous about it. any advice?
Congratulations on choosing architecture! It’s one of the most obnoxious, difficult, and rewarding disciplines out there!
I don’t know how the program is like wherever you’re going, but I can almost guarantee you that you WILL be overwhelmed. Don’t worry. It’s the absolute same for everyone- some people are just better at hiding it than others. It takes time to adjust to everything- hell, I’m still adjusting.
Discard any previous notions you had about architecture (unless you took technical drawing/ design in high school- then nevermind). I came into the program thinking “oh it’s just models and drawing”. It’s much more than that. There’s an almost philosophical approach to a lot of things and I think it is one of my favorite aspects of this field.
Great drawing skills aren’t necessary. Sure you’ll look at other’s works and feel like shit (trust me, I do all the time) but it’s more about how you communicate information. Professors much rather that you have clear and simple diagrams as opposed to complex beautiful drawings with like 234 ideas mixed in.
Make friends. You’ll be spending a majority of your time with other arch students- whether it’s just hanging out, doing group projects, or crying together in studio at 2am 10 hours before a deadline. They’re also your most valuable resource. You’re going to go ask them about projects/ how to do ___ before you’re going to ask your professor/TA. My prof actually said the same thing- you learn more that your peers than your teachers.
Know when to stop working and make time for yourself. I’m probably most guilty of NOT doing this… I’ve become the girl who stays in studio till 2am. There comes a point where you get so frustrated that you’re doing more harm than progress. Stop. Go take a nap, take a shower, go get lunch, come back the next day and try again. I can guarantee you that you will be so much more productive with a clear mind.
Take care of yourself. Don’t be the person who falls asleep in lecture because of an allnighter (guilty). Remember to eat (also guilty) and shower. And for the love of god, please sleep. (>___> )
Take ideas from others. There’s no such thing as plagiarism in architecture (unless you outright completely copy everything). If there’s something you see in someone else’s project that you really like- take it, put your own spin on it, and incorporate it in your own. Again, my professor actually encourages this as well. There is no such thing as ‘original’ - it’s simply stealing and putting your own style in it.
Get really good at bullshitting. This is kind of what connects architecture to English haha. There’ll be a lot of times where the people who are critiquing your work is asking WHY you incorporated such and such in your project. As long as there is one clear, obvious thing, you’re gold.
I remember for one of my final projects, I had to explain the chamber I had made. My professor said that some of it was very metered and almost rhythmic and others where chaotic. I think I said that it was because I was a musician and I wanted to incorporate that rhythm. The chaos was the different sections of the orchestra with their own part which then transforms into an ordered sequence when the melody and the harmony finally merge together. She totally bought it <3.
Always have an open mind. Especially during informal pin ups. Criticisms can hurt really bad- but don’t take it personally. Take that criticism and use it to improve your work for the next iteration/ the final. Be receptive of what others suggest. Coming in here, you need to discard your pride. It can hurt, but trust me- it makes you a better person and helps you grow.
Always keep going, keep pushing yourself. I know several people who have transferred out of the program. Yes, this isn’t for everyone. I’ve had so many points where I thought about it, but I kept on going. Yes, it feels shitty now, but I always find that everything is okay after you turn it in. There’s this huge sense of accomplishment for me and it feels absolutely fantastic. It’s that “FUCK YEA LOOK WHAT I DID- I’M SUCH A BOSS” and just general sense of pride. Then of course there’s that period after you turn it in where you pass out the moment you return to your dorm because you didn’t get sleep that night.
I just realized how long this is getting. Whoops. But yea, it’s difficult and a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding.
Thanks so much for popping by, and feel free to send me more asks if you have any questions!