June 17, 2013

Make the most out of your Summer #ARCHISTUDENTS

Okay, so it has been quite a rough year for you. No longer will you have to spend really late nights in the architecture building. Actually chill with friends and loved ones who thought you were dead. Why sleep on a floor/cardboard/dirty drafting table if you can blissfully rest in your own bed, without the guilt! You don’t have to worry about excessive deadlines unless you are taking summer classes or doing a summer studio. It’s summer time and you should give yourself a pat on the back for trekking through a rough academic year of architecture school.

So what should you do to get ready and in shape for the upcoming school year? Well, I was always naive to think that I would make my summers productive and be disciplined to prepare for the upcoming school year which ultimately turns out into an unproductive summer. I had to realize that your plans will not go as schedule as you had hoped. I would get frustrated getting nowhere and would just get worried up until school. At the end of the day you have give yourself a break and enjoy and take a breather. You want to come back to school in September energized and ready to rock and roll. If anything, you can do things that still engage and work your architectural design muscle!

Don't totally cut off the architectural learning – there are so many ways and means to acquire the skills and knowledge to help you off for the next semester and really it's by having a little bit of fun with what you're doing as a designer. You're not studying History or Public Health - Architecture is cool. There were things that I did during my summers and things I did not do during my summers when it was my off time from architecture school.  So if you have some time to kill, I suggest you consider the following. Otherwise, I suggest that you take a little bit of time each day to do these things to help you:

    This is probably one of the things you should have considered in the first place right after Christmas break. But there is so much to learn in practice that school will not teach you. Believe me, It’s going to give you the confidence and proficiency to be prepared to kick some butt next semester.

    Okay, so you did not apply on time upon reading this entry. But you should still try and get ready for next summer right now!This is a flaw that many architecture students have ran across, myself included. You DO NOT want to push your portfolio to the end of your architectural education. If you want a summer job, a job right after graduation it is really imperative to work towards building your portfolio over the years and adding, removing, and revising projects. The trouble of putting it in the last minute is that it delays you time getting into the workforce, you might feel overwhelmed with the work you have to do, and you lengthen the gap between graduation and getting hired which will make it more difficult to get in the field. Ultimately, it can be at a point that you will be demotivated to get into the field. Hope you learned your lesson: apply around 4 months prior to school being done.

    For those that struggle in getting up to par with technology. Take this time to work on learning the software (college courses, online courses, tutorial websites are a plenty and are accessible online). One friend from interior design suggested that I should pick a famous house design with drawings available(the goal is not designing but honing your technical skill) and model the heck out of it with rhino, revit, sketchup, and render it – practice photoshopping it. Take classes, or even do competitions to keep exercising. One way or another just find a way to acquire more proficiency in the tools that you will use.

    There’s a plethora of architecture news websites that everyone uses. From ArchDaily, to Design Bloom, to blogs like Archidose (which my First Year Studio prof introduced to me as it provides a well articulated formal analysis of the buildings it features). You want to retain a library of designs in your head to inspire you. Also critique why you like those images and drawings you see.

    Now, I could not afford travelling a lot as a student, and when I did I made sure that it was educational and worthwhile. If you are a member of the AIAS or getting involved in running a chapter or participating in Freedom by Design, or are nearing the end of you college years – consider attending the AIAS Grassroots Convention. That was probably an eyeopening summer for me, I made many friends from different architecture schools, I defined what I wanted to be as a leader, and it made me evermore hungry for architecture school. Likewise, I have friends that have went to Europe for a summer design studio. If anything, Travel around your city – even after one year of architecture school will make you see your hometown differently.

    If you sucked at drawing, now’s the chance to continue to practice your hand drawing skills. And yes, I have a post that talked about one of the books that got my sketching skills up to par (check this post)

    I am an individual that always wants to link architecture to the world and the world to architecture. Like what the Futurist David Zach would say “Think outside the box and look into other boxes.” Realize that your interests can marry itself well with architecture and it is up to you to maintain the balance between having a life and being owned by architecture. Architecture is ultimately a reflection of society’s culture. Don’t neglect the other aspects in live that are important and value them too! Dine out, watch movies, go to shows, attend conferences - one way or another it will link to architecture and design.

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