30 day challenges!

It’s that time again…The start of a new year. After reading a couple of books regarding self improvement I came across the concept of 30 day challenges. In particular, I read ‘Challenge yourself I dare you: 30 day challenges’ by Stuart Ralph. (http://amzn.to/1F03sll). He looked in depth at the idea of setting yourself a goal for a shorter period of time – to ease the commitments and the potential risk of failure. I have used this concept as one of my ‘New Years Resolutions’ for 2015. This resolution will be versatile enough to dedicate as much time as I wish to it, depending on other commitments.

Another place in which this idea is discussed which you may find of use is Steve Pavlinas’ blog: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/04/30-days-to-success/. Steve describes it as ‘A powerful personal growth tool… a concept borrowed from the shareware industry, where you can download a trial version of a piece of software and try it out risk-free for 30 days before you’re required to buy the full version. It’s also a great way to develop new habits, and best of all, it’s brain-dead simple.’ Also, on his blog are plenty of suggestions to get you inspired!

Towards the end of 2014, I began brainstorming some ideas as to what 30 day challenges could benefit me and other architecture students alike. I have tried to include a range of goals that will help to develop aspects of architecture.

  • Sketch every day for a month.
  • Learn a new building material a day.
  • Write a new blog entry.
  • Take a photograph a day.
  • Do 30 minutes – 1 hour of 3D modelling.
  • Write an extract in your journal.
  • Meditate.
  • 10 minute life drawing exercise.
  • 30 artistic performances in 30 days.
  • Learn a new vocabulary word every day.
  • Write about 30 pieces of Art.
  • Go for a long walk every day.
  • Read for an hour day on a subject that interests you.
  • Write a 500 word reflection.

I hope to look at a range of challenges across: professional practice, technology, design and History topics within architecture. Pease feel free to post a comment and share your goals for the next 30 days if you decide to give 30 day challenges a try. I am hoping these will be a much more achievable way to complete the goals set for the new year.

My favourite architecture blogs…

I find myself travelling a lot lately and one of my favourite things do to if I don’t have my AJ handy is to read blogs on my phone or tablet.

If you have any suggestions for other interesting architecture blogs please leave them in the comment section below.

Why is it important to read and write about architecture?

One of my history teachers during a lecture once asked how many of us architecture students had a subscription to an architecture journal, the result surprised him. We all knew what was coming – a look of disapproval and a quick ‘perk up your ideas’ comment. He suggested for Christmas we asked for a subscription to one of the top architectural magazines. A few weeks later I bit the bullet and used a proportion of my slowly diminishing student loan to subscribe to the Architects Journal (AJ). I can safely say this was one of the best investments I have made. It didn’t just provide me with a weekly magazine and free online content; it provided me with a community.

There is much value in architectural writing however; it can become an almost alien practice to students and architects. Many whom have become conditioned to communicating via images, sketches, diagrams and models. Discussing architecture is crucial; everyone is a critic to architecture, it opens up communication between industry professionals and everyone else. We currently have a relatively strong publishing community which benefits the industry by circulating news, providing a forum for debate and sharing information globally. It also creates high standards and encourages innovation within firms.

Reflection in architecture is about taking the time to look. To me it is becoming an ever more important process in my learning experience. There are many ways of getting involved in reflective practises for example: Keeping a Personal development record, a project diary and writing in your spare time through a blog etc. Sharing ideas is crucial within our creative industry in order to push our profession

Overall, I have found it fascinating to read articles from critics, and this has helped me to see how these sharp eyed experts analyse and draw conclusions from our built environment. Critical reading and critical writing ultimately results in critical thinking.