Learning to adapt and be flexible; it’s something that comes in handy both in an architecture firm and yoga studio. The everyday motions you go through as an architect can sometimes feel like a strenuous physical routine. Whether it be performing tasks for work or sneaking ways to get some precious shut-eye, architects need to learn how to be nimble to get through the long days and nights (coffee doesn’t hurt either). Take some deep inhalations and exhalations as you check out, in four easy to follow steps, some common positions architects find themselves in.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. David Bowie was right when he sang it – life’s full of so much uncertainty, variables, and excitement that half the battle is riding the wave and adapting as best as one can. Some adjustments are self-directed and others are forced upon us, but regardless of this, change allows us to reminisce, regret and reflect on what once was.
Being an architect comes with its own set of significant life changes (and that’s in addition to that major wardrobe overhaul) which more often than not, can’t be helped. Gone are days of relaxation, relationships and rendezvous, now replaced by multitasking, models and meetings. But no matter how busy you are, a moment of self-reflection never hurt anyone. So switch off that second monitor, grab a coffee, and sit back, as we take a look at how your life has changed, for better or for worse, since that fateful day you stumbled upon architecture.
Modern technology; when it works, it's brilliant. Even the cell phone, primarily a communication device, can now transform our face into a dog or let us throw angry birds at pigs. Computers really do separate us from the animals.
But it's not all fun and games, particularly for architects. Whilst the new kids on the block such as BIM and virtual reality are hurtling the profession into the 21st century, AutoCAD will always be the dear old friend we could never let go of. And that presents a problem - because AutoCAD is more than capable of letting go of us. It's never through a heartfelt letter, or an endearing text, but through a cold, abrupt, soul-destroying message. AutoCAD knows it can leave us unexpectedly, it knows we will come crawling back, but at least now, you know what it really means when it says goodbye.
Confidence. It’s a journey, isn’t it? But when you’re in architecture school that journey turns into a high speed roller coaster, complete with the double loop. And that would make sense, as the sheer amount of knowledge, variety and level of information that gets absorbed at us year by year only increases with each new group entering the mysterious and complex world of “the studio”. As we’ve gone up that long and winding path that is our education, our emotions go through it with us. From sheer bewilderment in first year (WTF is a 2-point perspective???) to the pride when handing in that final dissertation (tears of joy), to the fear of jumping off that deep end after graduation (real world?!), we go through it all.
“Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” Nope, just another sketch model flying out of the studio window, armed with powers of frustration and rage of its creator: the architect.
Asides from all technical know-how and caffeine tolerance levels, successful architects have a specific set of gifts that set them apart from regular citizens. These superpowers, gained through the slice of the radioactive cutter, are essential as they fulfill their destinies meeting budget constraints (BAM!), producing spectacular ideas (POW!) and managing clients’ expectations (KABOOM!). But most important of all is the iconic underwear. You didn’t think just anyone could pull that off now, did you?
Professors: for many of us, they're the windows through which we first glimpse the huge breadth and depth of the subject of architecture. They're our guides and our mentors--but they're often also strange, unpredictable and infuriating (although there is a silver lining to even the most frustrating of teachers). Of course, every different person brings their own quirks to the job of teaching architecture students, but the likelihood is that you've come across at least one professor that fits each of the following descriptions:
A degree in architecture teaches you to see the world differently. For confirmation of this fact, look no further than the poor souls who have accompanied an architect on vacation—people who, at some point between being dragged far outside of their destination city to visit some apparently exemplary office buildings, and stopping for hours to photograph structural details, probably started to question their companion's sanity.
But what happens when an architect visits the Taj Mahal? The experience of being in the presence of this wonder of the modern world must surely be so humbling that even he or she can do no more than stand in awe like any regular person... right?
Architecture students have a lot in common. We share a long-term committed relationship with coffee. We share an instinctive urge to collect random cardboard boxes for model-making. We share a university studio which, over time, becomes our ‘home away from home’. As we get to know our fellow students, however, we learn that the architecture studio hosts a micro-society of ten different, but lovable, characters.
The legendary John Lennon once said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” And had a group of disgruntled, bespectacled, darkly clad architects been present when he spoke these words, their response probably would’ve been: “Time? What time, Johnny boy?” But as a matter of fact, there was no group of architects listening to these wise words, because they were probably furiously puffing on their last cigarette, tearing up another piece of trace, or lying collapsed somewhere.
It’s common knowledge that time is not exactly an architect’s best friend. Sleepless nights, endless hours of painstaking work and coffee expenses are but a few of the side effects that are all too familiar within the profession. But if the watch on your wrist looks something like this, don’t worry, because ours do too.
To most people, Facebook is simple. They use it as a survival tool during never-ending university lectures. They use it to distract themselves during arguments at the family dinner table. They use it to ‘research’ that new person in the office. But when the architect signs in, everything changes. To us, Facebook is an ‘archi-forum’. Every passionate, powerful sketch of ours is uploaded. Every deep, reflective, opinion of ours is posted. Every non-architectural event is advertised with the intensity of an adventure to Narnia. Happily, we know our audience – other architects...
To be certain, architecture students are required to perform a wide variety of skills to complete a project. But thanks to some guys named Gates and Jobs (among many others), we are now able to execute nearly all of our tasks on one magical machine: the computer. While things like sketching and model making will always be fundamental parts of our profession, the laborious task of hand drafting has already become the "walk to school uphill both ways" of architecture – that is, something most of us are happy to have moved on from.
Check out more of then vs. now below:
At its best, architecture can be a dream come true: the physical manifestation of the creative architect's most exquisite design fantasies. Nowhere is this kind of creative liberty more pervasive than in architecture school—with few practical concerns for cost, policy, or even structural integrity, architecture students are free to execute the purest and most complex proposals their imaginations will allow. And indeed, as their representation and spatial skills progress, students gain the ability to realize more advanced interventions over time. In the real world, though...not so much.
This here is an architect. The architect is a strange sort of a creature. Typically nocturnal, it survives purely on an unhealthy work-life imbalance. After years of primary research, our experts have finally succeeded in dissecting The Architect...
Here is an anatomy.