The Life of an Architecture Student

A narrative slideshow that depicts a day in the life of a Berkeley architecture student (played by Chris Torres). Photography and editing by Peter Hess. Music by Nine Inch Nails.

Thanks Brian for sharing this with us!!!

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "The Life of an Architecture Student" 03 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • varia

    Pretty lame if you ask me, bad music, wrong voice, ok pictures. Weak.

  • Ana Rúbia

    Aaaa, muito bom este vídeo, as imagens dizem tudo
    só um estudante de arquitetura entende!


  • Mina

    Have been there, know exactly how you feel…

  • Peter

    This is missing a good 23 seconds of slideshow. The full video can be found here: It changes the tone at the end almost entirely.

  • Elisabeth

    Thank you! It makes me feel a little better now :)

  • Palau

    muy bueno….

  • Opium

    omg…this so true…wonder why there isnt more movies about architecture and architects…architecture is everything and it can reflect so much of who we are as people…This hole idea of stress and architecture being linked forever and always…i don’t know…shouldn’t we demand something better afterall we are humans.This romantic idea of working beyond your phisical capabilities is very seductive but are you playing the game because you like it…because it’s good?or because someone else want’s you to think it’s good?

  • George

    It’s always pretty funny to me to see stuff like this. Unfortunately, for my taste, its too staged. I was hoping to see something a bit more intimate in a way. Personally having gone through Architecture school, I can say I can relate, though the way that students seem to posture the crit seems so ridiculous. Your not in a lion’s den. There not out there to destroy you. Any criticism they give should be appreciated not taken to induce some sort of fear or suggest they’re “tearing you a new asshole” if the work is bad, its bad.

  • omeg

    Brian…awesome! guess what!?? after you graduate, it continues only you get an OUTSTANDING 30K p/year! But then again it’s not about the money this life is about progressive thinking…At least that’s what I thought untill the real world of architecture hit me straight in the face!

  • krock

    When is someone going to acutally stand up and say this is a bunch of BS!!! When are we as architects going to wake up and realize we’ve been brain washed…I totally agree with OMEG!

    • Jessica

      As a potential future architecture student, I’d really like to know what you mean by that..

      • Maria

        there is no way to explain it but in 1 year in the system you will know it :)

  • PaulR

    Former Columbia University student. Was up for 39hrs straight (not 1 min of sleep) for my final thesis. Got rave reviews for my presentation. Graduated! Started working in NY for very well know (elite) architect. 172 employees. Started making 22K. Could not afford to live or eat. 5 years later…Working for other well known architect. Now at 39K. Could not afford to live, eat, get married, have children, visit my mom (florida), visit the inlaws, watch porn, pay my phone or even go out to eat with my 6 rooms mates in harlem!

  • B R

    Thanks for making me feel a little better about never having had the opportunity to go to school and become an architect like I always dreamt of since I was young. Still, I sometimes wonder what if I had.

  • provecho

    A (dirt poor) friend of mine worked his ass off to get full scholarship at Princeton. Graduated top of class. Applied to ‘elite’ architecture firms in New York and quickly got interviews and tremendous positive feedback. Received two ‘job’ offers–both of them paying the exact same amount: $0. And so the cycle continues: the only architecture graduates who can afford to live in NYC and work for free to gain entry into high-profile firms are those with rich parents footing all expenses. Those with talent but no money have to make other plans.

    It’s shameful that highly recognized and profitable firms exploit graduates in this way. I’m so glad that I got out of the architecture rat race and into an industry with more professional integrity: advertising.

  • kc

    There must be ways around the ‘rat race’ for chill people like me. It’s possible I know for sure!!!

  • thane

    At the end of the day, there is no one forcing you to be an architect, you do it because you love it, not because it pays well, not because it’s easy, and certainly not because you like getting 8 hours of sleep nightly.

    Also did anyone else not notice the horrible model this guy was presenting? This project deserves criticism!

    • Skylar Kitchen

      Haha, I thought the same thing.

  • مكتوم

    that’s a great video. so true in every architecture school!

  • Ismael

    Triste… pero cierto.

    Sad, but true, really sums ups my mondays… review days…. ROFL (or not)

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  • CA

    Heh, this is all so horribly true… Working throughout the night and suddenly hearing the birds sing outside your window is one of the worst realizations one can have. I always end up pulling AT LEAST 1 or 2 all-nighters before a review.

  • Peter S.

    I cannot count how many sunset/sunrise combos I greeted from the 7th and 8th floors of that building…hearing the cheers in the stadium as I spent another Saturday working on models…listening to the Campanilie play “Under The Sea”…ah, the sleep-deprived memories…

  • erz_arch

    hehehe, yes, that’s how it is.
    greetings from a bavarian architecture student :)

  • freddy wolf

    Yeah , had the feeling. I once worked 72 hours straight for a review, pausing only for eating/drinking/toilet. For my final thesis I worked 10 days straight with 3 hours of sleep per night. You really get a love/hate-affair with architecture. You work while others sleep/relax/live their lives. I am glad I did it though, because it really pushed my boundaries psychologically, physically and most of all intellectually. I watched many other students get beaten by it, leaving architecture with slamming doors. The real world however is also stressing. The same 0$ in Europe for working for an elite architect/ starchitect.If you want to get paid, work for commercial architects that don’t do competitions, and that work particularly in residential design. Negative point in many European countries is, that you have to be an independent architect (freelancer), so you have to pay taxes, insurances, social security, … all by yourself ($$$). But for a good architect with five years of experience, a commercial architect pays around 30 euro an hour excluding tax, which is liveable enough to buy a car, buy a (small) house, and pay your bills. No time for competitions and magazine architecture however.


    video and comments all true, true, true… lesson learned, don’t get a job in NYC?


    From an student beginning his M.Arch with 2.5 years in the field:

    What I’m not looking forward to is people who complain about how much they work or how little sleep they’ve had. Get your work done and stop complaining. Everyone has long nights.

  • Sander

    start earlier…

  • Ahoy

    Still have the time to do a video like this? Not bad at all.

  • K

    Try having a wife, 18 mo baby, 2 jobs and a mortgage on top of it all. Just did that. One more year to go.