Get Sketching! – Learning to draw by hand is a key skill for an architect. It is a quick and easy method of explaining ideas to both clients and other industry professionals. Since the development of computer software, we often forget what a powerful tool sketching is. Get in the habit of carrying a sketchbook with you at all times and sketch when and where you can.
Give back to your studio community – It is often easy to feel competitive with your studio peers. It is good to have a bit of competition to drive you forward but don’t forget architects work in teams. There is no harm in sharing your knowledge or expertise with your peers and no doubt they will return the favour to you. This can be extended into the profession.
Consult your peers and superiors – Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The beauty of university is that there are people there from all walks of life and at different stages of there academic or professional careers. Try talking to other year groups, your tutor and open communications with your classmates. We can learn a lot from each other.
Read – There is an abundance of material on all aspects of architecture: books, journals, magazines and blogs. Whenever you have a spare minute delve into the unknown. You will never stop learning something new. My favourite times to read are: whilst travelling, half an hour before bed and on the weekend. Don’t forget to arm yourself with a cup of tea.
Get out the studio – We all spend too much time in studio even though we come home thinking it wasn’t long enough. Don’t spend your life in front of a computer. Get out and look at and experience buildings or research in the library. It is important to have a change of scenery. You will work better if you have variety to your week.
Self Wellness – To me, this is the most important factor. Take care of yourself. Make time for your basic needs. Shower, have a good meal and get enough sleep. A lot of work goes into an architecture degree and you want to be working at your best. In my opinion there is no point slugging away at 4am producing mediocre work and then having to attend a 9am lecture you won’t absorb.
Have a life outside of studio – Give yourself time to concentrate on other things. Go the gym, go for a walk or learn to play an instrument. If you do not allow time to relax and pursue other interests you will start to hate what you are doing. Don’t make it a chore. No one likes chores.
Listen – As an introvert myself I find this habit pretty natural. Listen carefully in lectures, listen to critic and listen to your family and friends. hey can see things you can’t and it always interesting to get a different perspective.
Learn to deal with criticism well – Final crits are never fun and you rarely get one with sunshine and rainbows so don’t be disappointed if things seem to not go so well. Listen to the opinions of others and take the criticism on the chin. Remember everyone has their own style and you may just get a critic with an opposing one. It is the universities job to toughen you up a little for when you get into practise. It is daunting now but you will feel better for it in the end.
Think – Learn to think for yourself. Look carefully at the brief and approach it from many angles. Develop your own ideas. Let the design stem from the site, client, and the program specific requirements. Finally, question everything.
Be brave – It’s university, have fun and take risks. Be confident in your ideas. This is the safest time you can experiment with form and architecture. Try new ideas even if at first they seem far-fetched, you may just end up with something wonderful.
Enjoy yourself – Remember, you’re there to do something you love! Have fun with it!