Recently we’ve written a fair amount about the state of architectural research. The general consensus appears to be that it lacks rigor and, even more importantly, is not grounded in good science. Steven J Orfield has some strong opinions about architectural research. He’s been conducting it—for architecture and design firms, as well as Fortune 500 companies—at his Minneapolis-based Orfield Laboratories for more than three decades now. Late last week I talked to him about why architects are afraid of science, how he would introduce it into the schools, and his work in the field of universal design.
As architecture students head to their final year of BArch, half-crazy from years’ worth of scraped fingers, ghastly juries, sleepless nights, and a general lack of social life, they encounter the mighty problem of choosing a thesis topic. There are many subjects to choose from, but a personal interest in a particular subject is just one of the many factors that should influence this decision. Students need to ask themselves several other questions: Is the topic significant enough? Is it expansive enough? Is the project realistically doable?
The process can be daunting, for the decision has many consequences; sometimes, the choice of topic alone can mean the difference between the success and failure of a thesis. With so many factors to consider and deadlines closing in, students easily end up making decisions that they regret later. Here are eight tips to help you make an informed choice on the matter:
Design juries undoubtedly form the very foundation of architecture school. Their success or failure, however, largely lies in the hands of the jurors who are assigned to review student work. While architecture is an inter-disciplinary subject with wide-ranging consequences, most jurors are specialists in a singular sub-field. This makes design juries a terrifyingly unpredictable affair; students don’t just battle against their nerves and sleep-deprivation, but are also required to be on their toes to ensure that they can handle anything that the jurors might throw at them.
However, this is easier said than done. As a student, defending your work against criticism from an easily-offended know-it-all juror will probably do you more harm than good. Similarly, it’s hard to impress a building services expert by harping on about the probable positive sociological impacts of your design proposal. Being able to correctly identify the academic or emotive leanings of a juror can go a long way in helping students present their work strategically, thus ensuring that they make the most of their jury experience. Here’s a compilation of nine types of design jurors every architecture student will probably face at some point in school:
You’re a chipper young first-year student, still soft and tender in the early stages of your induction into the cult of architecture. Apart from fiddling with drafting triangles and furiously scribbling down the newfound jargon that is going to forever change how you communicate, you often find yourself planted in a seat, eyes transfixed to a projector screen as your professor-slash-cult-leader flashes images of the architecture world's masterpieces, patron saints, and divine structures.
Soon, you develop a Pavlovian response: you instinctively recognize these buildings, can name them at once and recite a number of soundbites about their design that have lodged themselves in your brain. Your professor looks on in approval. Since we here at ArchDaily have also partaken in this rite of passage, here are 15 buildings that we all recognize from the rituals of architecture school.
Is your child suddenly wearing angular clothes and pretending to need glasses and talking about things like maylines (sorry, forgot we’re not in the 90s anymore) and 3d-printing and the power of the research lab to change the world studio? Has your child started rejecting your Frank Lloyd Wright photo books and started asking for that super sweet punched-out Chora L Works thing that makes no sense to you because there are literally holes in it? Has your child refused to go on anymore holiday house tours because, seriously mom, this is what I do all day at school?
Then congratulations! You now have an architecture school student child. And as much as we have—and need—the framework of, say, Adult Children of Alcoholics, just as deeply do we need a framework for Adult Parents of Architecture Students. You may be panicking right now. You may be wondering why Bessie is suddenly hating prints (unless she’s wearing all the prints at the same time); why Mark is rolling his eyes when you say there’s a nice-looking house for sale down the block. Rest assured, these are phases that will pass.
I would like to offer you the Phases of Architectural Education, so that you may feel calmer as you embark on this new journey:
You did it! You finished those grueling years of architecture school, perfected your portfolio and your interview pitch, and you landed your first job with an architecture firm. Everyone told you that working in a firm would be lightyears different from what you were used to doing in school, but until you get out there yourself, there is really no way to know just what that might entail. Once you’ve tackled life’s bigger questions about surviving outside of architecture school, you still have to learn to function in a day-to-day job. The learning curve is steep and it can certainly be overwhelming, but you’ve made it this far and there are a few lessons and skills you are sure to gain quickly as you start your career.
For the third year in a row, in June we asked our student readers to submit the design-build projects which they have recently worked on. And, for the third year in a row, the response we received was excellent. With hundreds of submissions to ArchDaily, ArchDaily Brasil and allfourArchDailyen Español sites, in 2017 our readers gave us more projects to choose from than ever before; we’ve narrowed this selection down to bring you the 34 best student design-build projects around the world from the past year.
Had the worst jury ever? Failed your exams? Worry not! Before you fall on your bed and cry yourself to sleep—after posting a cute, frantic-looking selfie on Instagram, of course (hashtag so dead)—take a look at this list of nine celebrated architects, all of whom share a common trait. You might think that a shiny architecture degree is a requirement to be a successful architect; why else would you put yourself through so many years of architecture school? Well, while the title of "architect" may be protected in many countries, that doesn't mean you can't design amazing architecture—as demonstrated by these nine architects, who threw convention to the wind and took the road less traveled to architectural fame.
It's graduation time. As universities around the globe—or at least most in the Northern hemisphere, where over 80% of the world's universities are located—come to the end of the academic year, many university architecture studios have recently closed out the construction of pavilions, installations, and other small educational projects. For the third straight year, ArchDaily is calling on recently-graduated readers to submit their projects for our round-up of the best pavilions, installations and experimental structures created by students from all over the world.
Architecture school is a long haul and we all know it. Whether you get a 5-year professional degree or choose to take on a few years of graduate school (or both), it’s a grueling process. However, most would hopefully agree, it’s worth it for the knowledge you gain throughout those years (not to mention the friendships you form in the close quarters of the studio). Architectural education is about more than learning to design great spaces and whether or not you realize it at the time, architecture school is also a great teacher of other life lessons. All the skills below are those you’ll likely attain incidentally during your tenure in architecture school, but which will be an asset outside of academia as well.
This is the inaugural column “Practice Values,” a new bi-monthly series by architect and technologist Phil Bernstein. The column will focus on the evolving role of the architect at the intersection of design and construction, including subjects such as alternative delivery systems and value generation. Bernstein was formerly vice president at Autodesk and now teaches at the Yale School of Architecture.
This semester, I’m teaching a course called “Exploring New Value Propositions for Practice” that’s based on the premise that the changing role of architects in the building industry requires us to think critically about our value as designers in that system. After studying the structure and dynamics of practice business models, the supply chain, and other examples of innovative design enterprises, they’ll be asked to create a business plan for a “next generation” architectural practice. I’m agnostic as to what this practice does per se, as long as it operates somewhere in the constellation of things that architects can do, but there is one constraint—your proposed firm can’t be paid fixed or hourly rate fees. It has to create value (and profit) through some other strategy.
After reading through ArchDaily’s article on the hours architecture students work outside of class, I was curious. I made it through a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree and I’m currently enrolled in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania, so how does the time I spend on coursework stack up to the average of 22.2 hours per week? Granted, the data they presented only represented first-year students, but it could still be an interesting comparison. With that in mind I set out to log one week of my time, just like you would at a job. Here’s what I found.
Frank Gehry has been selected by online education platform MasterClass to lead an interactive architecture and design course on his creative process. The course will include 15 video lessons, and critique from the architect himself on select student work.
At a cost of $90, the lessons will cover Gehry’s career and architectural philosophy, illustrated with sketches and models from Gehry’s private model archive. Each lesson will offer a downloadable workbook with notes and assignments for the week. Students will then be able to upload videos for the opportunity to get feedback from the class and Frank himself.
Architecture students have long groaned (or bragged) about the long hours and all-night work sessions demanded by their chosen major. Surely, we’ve all thought, no other major must be working this hard – right?
The Harvard Graduate School of Design has announced a new, free online course entitled "The Architectural Imagination." Taught by the school's Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory K. Michael Hays alongside Professor of Architectural History Erika Naginski and G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Antoine Picon, the course is advertised as "introductory" level and described as teaching "how to 'read' architecture as a cultural expression as well as a technical achievement." It will be delivered through edX, a platform for high-quality massive open online courses (MOOCs) which was founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012.
One of the main difficulties encountered by students when looking for a job is dealing with a lack of professional experience. This fact is a paradox since people who apply for a trainee position have often never worked in the chosen area. Therefore, it is vital to invest in education and also to know the cultural diversity that’s available. Below we have 10 tips that serve as guidelines for students who want to build up their CV and get through the interview processes:
Jeremy Till's paper "Architectural Research: Three Myths and One Model" was originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Research Committee, and published in 2007. In the past decade, however, it has grown in popularity not just in the UK, but around the world to become a canonical paper on architectural research. In order to help the paper reach new audiences, here Till presents an edited version of the original. The original was previously published on RIBA's research portal and on Jeremy Till's own website.
There is still, amazingly, debate as to what constitutes research in architecture. In the UK at least there should not be much confusion about the issue. The RIBA sets the ground very clearly in its founding charter, which states that the role of the Institute is:
The advancement of architecture and the promotion of the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith.
The charter thus links the advancement of architecture to the acquirement of knowledge. When one places this against the definition of research given for the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), “research is to be understood as original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding”, one could argue that research should be at the core of RIBA’s activities. This essay is based on the premise that architecture is a form of knowledge that can and should be developed through research, and that good research can be identified by applying the triple test of originality, significance and rigor. However, to develop this argument, it is first necessary to abandon three myths that have evolved around architectural research, and which have held back the development of research in our field.
At just 42 years old, Makoto Tanijiri and the office he founded in 2000, Suppose Design Office, have emerged as one of Japan's most prolific medium-sized architecture and design firms. However, Tanijiri's path to success was somewhat different to the route taken by his contemporaries. In this interview, the latest in Ebrahim Abdoh's series of “Japan's New Masters,” Tanijiri discusses the role that education plays in a successful career and his work's relation to the rest of Japanese architecture.
Ebrahim Abdoh:What was your earliest memory of wanting to be an architect?
Makoto Tanijiri: When I was about 5 years old. Of course at that age I did not know the word “architect” or “architecture,” all I remember was how small our house was, and all the things I didn’t like about it. Back then, my dream was to be a carpenter, so that I could build my own house and live on my own.