ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Carla Joan is the Business Developer & Marketing Director at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón, and heads the firm’s Internship Program.
ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL TEACHES YOU MUCH MORE THAN DESIGN.
People could be under the impression that studying Architecture only teaches them the design aspects that make up this career, but after doing my master’s degree in Architecture and not actively exercising a position as an architect, I realized that architecture school taught me much more than architecture.
Here’s 10 things I learned in architecture school (other than design).
It’s no mystery that studying Architecture requires discipline, and that it’s a career that demands many hours of work, where you work with aggressive and high-intensity deadlines…and it can get tiring. Discipline helps us continue to focus on the big picture and, ultimately, be successful.
2. DESIGN THINKING
Design thinking is a process for solving problems by prioritizing the user’s needs above all else. It relies on observing with empathy how people interact with their environment and employs a hands-on approach to creating innovative solutions. It’s a way of thinking and working that’s centered around what people need to make their lives better.
The strategies for solving a design problem are the same as for solving any problem. Architecture school teaches you tools that are universal and easy to translate so that they can be applied to any type of problem we face.
3. FEEDBACK IS KEY
One of the things you learn most while studying Architecture is how to receive feedback. From evaluations on the progress of your project to final juries, you’re always in a position where someone is critically evaluating your project, the decisions you made, and the reasons why you made them.
There’s always room to learn and improve, and the only way to do it is by graciously receiving feedback and being open as to how you can improve on your performance.
4. ALL ABOUT THE PROCESS
In architecture school you make decisions about each aspect as you develop your project, with the end result in mind, but focused on one step at a time. This can be applied to any type of project outside architecture by enjoying the creative process without clinging to what the end result will be like. As they say, is not only about the destination, but also about the journey.
5. FAIL OFTEN, FAIL QUICKLY
Architecture school is all about learning from your mistakes. No one knows everything, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s the quickest way to learn and grow in any profession.
6. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Research is one of the fundamental things you learn in architecture school. Why? Because you don’t know it all. Because you must nurture your mind with valuable information that you will then apply to your design. Because you learn from historical information about how things have been done in the past, what things have worked and what things don’t, etc.
Doing research keeps you relevant and up to date on topics you work with daily, it can elevate any project you face, it can propel you to do things that you haven’t done before, and it keeps you constantly evolving.
7. FIND YOUR OWN VOICE
In architecture school you learn from architects who have made history in significant ways, and you also learn about the style and design process from your teachers. This gives a good foundation to start creating your own design style that is in tune with your values, your experiences, and your story. One that aligns with your purpose, your vision for the future, and your legacy.
Like in architecture school, learning to find your own voice will serve you in everything you do because it will ultimately guide your decisions and your heart. You will find what you’re passionate about, what motivates you, and what makes you a better person.
8. GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCOMFORTABLE
Another thing that architecture school taught me was to get out of my comfort zone. Throughout my courses I learned how to get comfortable speaking in front of an audience, talking about myself, and expressing and defending my ideas. Architecture teaches you how important it is to get comfortable with the things that make you uncomfortable in order to improve important skills such as public speaking.
9. VISUAL PRESENTATION SKILLS
In architecture school you learn to present information in a way that is easy to digest and relevant to your project. You learn to analyze and synthesize your information to only present what impacted or guided your decisions. You learn to be concise and to present an idea without having to offer unnecessary information. You learn to visually explain the decisions that led to your final project.
All of these lessons are important strategies when it comes to collaborating or communicating your message in any setting.
Last but not least, in architecture school you learn to collaborate and work as a team towards the same goal. You also learn how to deal with group differences, conflicts, and resolutions. You learn how important teamwork is inside and outside the architecture and design world.
During your time at architecture school, you fill your toolbox with valuable skills that you can apply to any aspect or project in your life. It really allows you to learn lessons that will serve you for a lifetime and, even if you don’t end up pursuing a career as an architect, it will definitely help you with whatever you choose your path to be.