Studying Architecture For 15 Years: Worth It?

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Architects are known as creative people with a high aesthetic sense. They can also be described as people who can solve spatial problems without the necessity to measure or check plans.

But, how do these professionals achieve skills that cannot be explained in any formal course?

The answer is a combination of a series of factors that together makes them develop innate abilities. After studying architecture for so many years, until Ph.D. level, I can definitely cite some important lessons.

From The Spoon To The City

It is true that in some countries, town planning and landscape are different professions, but in my case, I studied both during my regular architecture degree. And one thing that is often said is that we have the capability to switch from micro scale (a spoon) to a regional scale (cities). It is very interesting how people quickly find themselves focusing on what there are more inspired by. Besides being technically capable of performing all kinds of design, the field is very wide, so that it is more feasible to specialize.

We Become More Alert To Details

You see that person looking at the ceilings, touching the walls of a new place? This is very common behavior with architects. We spend years imagining, planning, modeling 3D spaces, creating animations and simulations with the main goal to represent and feel how it is to be immersed in a building. When you have the chance to experience it in reality, you want to enjoy each moment. We still develop a sort of perfectionism and accuracy. Practicing architecture consists of organizing spaces, objects, flow; all of the time. It can be stressful for us to see objects that are not aligned, spaces that are not well optimized, clutter and disharmony.

Honesty Of Materials

Yes, it may sound weird to the general public, but in our jargon, it is the way to explain that a finish is exactly what it is. Concrete is just concrete, with its natural appearance. No ceramic with fake stone print, no plastic beams with wooden aspects, no fakes or imitations basically. This exercise is what makes architects appreciate the beauty of authentic things.

The Inner Engineer

The beauty of this profession is that is an equilibrium between arts and engineering. In France, for example, there are architecture classes in the School of Fine Arts as well as in the Polytechnic school. In practical terms, it means that in Art school the focus is more on plasticity, form, beauty, and the latter is more centered on technical aspects. The technicians tend to have a very functional and brutalist style while the ones that tend to follow the artistic stream propose more irreverent solutions.

Drafting And Coding

Over the last decade and a half, the profession has been changing radically. Thanks to technological advancements, candidates interested in starting a career in architecture are not stopped anymore by their apprehension of their lack of manual drawing skills. Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) is playing a fundamental role in the activities of architects. So today, when seeking solutions in Generative and Parametric Design, programming knowledge is much more appreciated than the ability to use the old paper and ruler.

However, despite spending an enormous amount of time in the university, I consider that all professionals, regardless of the field of activities, are in a continuous learning loop. What is special in the academic sphere is how the environment stimulates more philosophical questioning and proposes new concepts that only holders of a deep theoretical base knowledge find possible to accomplish.