Part 2 by Joanna Vaughan
Studying architecture at university is an eye-opening and transformative experience. The course not only teaches us about designing structures but also about shaping communities, fostering sustainability, and understanding the human psyche. Throughout this journey, I have discovered that architecture goes far beyond the drawing board; it requires empathy, creativity, and an eager pursuit of knowledge.
One essential lesson I have learned is the significance of collaboration. From the very beginning, our professors encouraged us to work in teams, mirroring real-world architectural projects. Through these collaborations, I gained invaluable insights into the power of diverse perspectives and how they enrich the final design. As incoming students, be open to teamwork and actively seek opportunities to work with others.
Reflecting on my time as an architecture student, the most important thing to bring with you one is a passion for exploration. Architecture is not just about following predefined paths; it demands a curious and adventurous spirit. Embrace every design challenge with enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to experiment with unconventional ideas. Engage in the broader realm of architecture by attending lectures, workshops, and exhibitions beyond your coursework and reading architecture books and engaging in discussions with your peers.
On day one, my top piece of advice is to embrace failure as a stepping stone towards success. In the design process, you will face setbacks, encounter critiques, and sometimes your ideas won’t translate perfectly onto paper. Embrace these moments, for they are the catalysts for growth. Architecture is a field of continuous learning, and each failure brings new insights and refines your skills. Remember that your design tutor or jury, who evaluates and critiques your work, can be seen as your clients during this learning process. Embracing their feedback with an open mind will not only help you hone your design capabilities but also better prepare you to meet the demands of future clients in your architectural career.
Furthermore, time management is a crucial skill. The demands of an architecture course are intense, with numerous projects, studio sessions, and deadlines to manage simultaneously. Create a well-structured schedule that allows for focused study sessions, studio work, and personal time to rejuvenate. Efficient time management fosters a healthy work-life balance—an essential skill to cultivate during your university years and carry forward into your professional life.
In addition, it is crucial to immerse yourself in the world of architecture beyond university. Engaging firsthand with the built environment will provide invaluable context to your learning and ignite fresh perspectives on design. My own experience, having studied architecture during the COVID-19 pandemic and missed out on these opportunities, reinforces the significance of making the most of visiting sites. It contributes to your education and personal growth in ways that textbooks and virtual experiences simply cannot replicate.
Lastly, it’s important to note that architecture is continually evolving with the integration of new technologies. Familiarise yourself with CAD and other digital tools to enhance your skills increase your desirability to potential employers once you graduate.