The 5 Types of Professors You’ll Have in Architecture School (And Why They’re All Important)

The 5 Types of Professors You’ll Have in Architecture School (And Why They’re All Important)

Tutors (or professors, depending on where you live). Everyone has horror stories about their tutors, just as everyone has stories about a teacherr they truly adored. Ultimately, your tutors are likely to be the single most important element of your architectural education; no matter how much effort you put into learning through other means, these people will probably become formative figures in not only your education, but your life in general.

It's easy to forget, though, that they are just that: people, with all the flaws and foibles that being a person entails. Some you will love to learn from, while others may be a little more difficult—but like Dickens' Christmas Carol ghosts, each type of tutor has their own lesson to impart. Here are the five different types of tutor you'll deal with in your architectural education, and what you should learn from each of them.

1. The Very Scary One

© Sharon Lam

Scary from first impression to final critique, there are some tutors who are just a bit too intimidating. Although fear might prevent a late hand-in, discussion is impossible when your knees are shaking. If there’s a professor that’s made someone cry, it’s probably this one.

Why they’re important: Believe it or not, you will meet people scarier than your scariest tutor. Being around someone who strikes fear deep into your heart is invaluable preparation for the even more terrifying bosses and clients you’ll come across outside of architecture school.

2. The Role Model

© Sharon Lam

This is the tutor that you want to be in every way. The way they dress, the way they effortlessly sketch masterpieces, the way they listen to your ideas and make them ten times better—all while being someone you’d love to be best friends with.

Why they’re important: It’s always reassuring to have "good guys" in not just architecture but in life. The chance to learn from someone you also look up to can go miles in shaping what you want in your own future.

3. The Tough Love One

© Sharon Lam

They seem nice at first, until they suggest you start over completely with just a week left before the deadline, or make a million more iterations even though you’re happy with what you’ve already produced. No matter what you do, or how hard you try, you just can’t seem to please them.

Why they’re important: This is the tutor you’ll probably hate at the time, but in retrospect will be thankful for how hard they pushed you. A tutor who can see your potential and is committed to pushing you to your fullest will get you much further than one who is nice but apathetic.

4. The Boring One

© Sharon Lam

You can’t always win, and not every tutor will be a bubbly fountain of stimulation. Each conversation with this tutor seems to go nowhere, you can’t connect with them, and they talk without really saying anything. Studios become sleep-inducing.

Why they’re important: The silver lining is that you get an opportunity to work without guidance. You might work through problems on your own, or you might find value consulting other students. Either way, it’s a vital lesson in learning how to complete a task even when something (or someone) falls through.

5. The Hot One

© Sharon Lam

You’re smirking already—at one point or another there’s been that one tutor who was a cut above the rest for no other reason than being really hot. While very distracting, they're also a very good incentive to show up to studio. Even though you’re too busy trying to work out if they are single instead of listening to what they’re saying about concrete beams, each studio feels like time truly well spent.

Why they’re important: In a visually-focused field such as architecture, the appreciation of aesthetics is very important...

About this author
Cite: Sharon Lam. "The 5 Types of Professors You’ll Have in Architecture School (And Why They’re All Important)" 12 Sep 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Sharon Lam


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