Architecture remains one of the most challenging courses to study. And to be successful in Architecture requires a lot of time, effort as well as a lot of learning and self-improving. Therefore, Several architecture graduates end up leaving the profession shortly after graduation because they somehow expected that all the late nights, excess coffee intakes will come to an end. Only to find out it was a scam. They painfully realize that the stress associated with architecture in school is only a prelude to what the architecture profession is.
These frustration scenarios are way too common and what we intend to share is to give you tips (especially if you’re a recent graduate or architecture student) on how to properly navigate the architecture industry and be successful in architecture.
I know this sounds cliché but hear me out: you can’t make a great architect if you don’t read. And when I mean read, I do not mean cramming up all the information from Neufert Architect’s data or Metric Handbook (although necessary, those books are merely for reference when designing), but read up on architectural trends, innovations in materials and construction methodology, history, culture, religion, and politics. More often, architecture influences these issues as much as it influences architecture.
Reading gives more depth to your thinking process. It also improves the quality of your thought process, thereby, improving your design.
If you need help with choosing the best books to read, You can check out this article.
This includes jumping on internship opportunities while in school – paid or unpaid – to gain valuable experience in the practice of architecture. Asides it being very useful for your Résumé, it also increases your prospects of getting a job immediately after graduation as you can easily request for a retainer from any of the firms you might have worked in while you were in school.
Also, Work on getting certified within the first few years of graduation
For some reason, architects overlook this but if you have been able to study for 4 – 6 years, why not just go all the way? So whether it is ARB, ARE, ARCON, or whatever body is responsible in your country, do well to take it.
It will help build your career prospects early as well as provide you with options of starting on your own.
Get comfortable with Freehand drawings
The work of an architect involves lots of thinking and this thinking should [ideally] be done on paper – or a digital sketchbook. The same way we learn how to draw with Computer-Aided Design Tool (CAD) we should learn how to freehand draw . We should see it as a valuable technical skill and learn how to master it.
Freehand drawing will go a long way in improving our ability to communicate effectively especially when our computers are unavailable. It also remains the most expedient way to express and generate ideas.
Learn how to use Computer-Aided Design Software
Asking you to do this is like asking a graduate to learn how to read and write. and if you want to be successful in architecture you have to learn at least one or two design software, furthermore, Every architectural firm nowadays uses CAD. CAD refers to design software like Autodesk AutoCAD, Revit, ArchiCAD, SketchUp, Lumion, 3DsMax, Maya, etc.
You don’t have to learn everything, but it is important that you’re at least an intermediate level for a software that can aid both drafting, 3D modeling, and rendering. The most popular for drafting and rendering is Revit Architecture, for rendering it is Vray (for either SketchUp, 3DsMax, Maya, or even Revit).
You can read this article about the best architecture software to give you a better understanding of what software to use.
Become Proficient in Building Information Modelling
Building Information Modelling (BIM) goes beyond an ability to just use Computer-Aided Design software like Autodesk Revit and ArchiCAD. It provides a really useful alternative to collaborate on a project among consultants. It was first adopted by large architectural firms with a global reputation, now, even smaller design studios are using it. BIM is the future when it comes to collaboration in projects.
Don’t shy away from site work
It’s hard to be successful in architecture without site experience.
knowing how things are built without actually seeing them built, is not enough. It is only on-site (Not YouTube) we get to learn how different parts come together to make a building. Also, having site experience will give you a better understanding of the design/construction process, and alternative solutions to design problems.
This is important if you are looking to advance your career, especially through mentorship. Industry leaders in every profession usually belong to a fellowship where they hold events, as well as networking sessions. Becoming a part of such platforms offers opportunities to meet with them, discuss, and get valuable advice to improve your career.
Have a life outside work
This certainly shouldn’t be with just architects. You might have noticed that architects couldn’t gather without talking about architecture. therefore, maybe you should Join organizations outside architecture. For instance, I am part of the Communications Team of SustyVibes, a sustainability organization based in Nigeria. This will broaden your horizon because we can’t be of much value to society unless we’re a part of it.
Be open to feedback and criticism
Design is in most cases subjective – especially if it has to do with aesthetics. As a result, you might get some criticism for your work but it’s important that you focus on the criticism and not the critic. See every criticism as an avenue for growth as opposed to an attack on your person. And if it happens to be an attack on your person, learn to ignore.
But let it be that your work always provokes something in people.
Finally, to be successful in architecture you need to be passionate and care about what you do. Be someone who wants to change the world through design. Someone that wants a better experience for anyone comes across their work. A successful architect will try to be different not always through design but through actions.