Architecture students, what's it like

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Graham 14
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#1
To all architecture students,

I'm planning to study architecture at uni next year, and I just wanted to know what it's like studying architecture, positive and negatives, how long do you spend in the studio etc and is it worthwhile.

Thanks
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username818632
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Graham 14)
To all architecture students,

I'm planning to study architecture at uni next year, and I just wanted to know what it's like studying architecture, positive and negatives, how long do you spend in the studio etc and is it worthwhile.

Thanks
Want the real truth? It's a bloody nightmare at times. Because of the nature of the course your work never stops. You will always go into Studio and even if you think it is finished and don't know what to do with it your tutor will always give you more work to do.

A great artist once said (I think it might have been Monay) when ask whether what he thought of his work and he said "A masterpiece only a masterpiece when you can't do anymore to it". Very true of architecture studio work never has an end. As a result around deadlines it can be very stressful. Tutors will suggest tweaks towards the end but more often than not they are just as big to do as the massive changes and I don't think tutors realise that. Also tutors like to give to opposing advice. More often than not an entire week has been lost because on Monday Tutor 1 says do X and I come in on Thursday and Tutor 2 says I don't think X take it out and on Monday I'm back where I started.

Personally, because it is so intensive a course I haven't had the time to do anything other than work, but that is because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and have always been work orientated. Other students have had a full student experience unlike me.

How much time in Studio? Well that depends on the year you're in and how close it is to deadlines and what uni you're at. At my uni, Studio was 10-17.30 on two days a week for every UG year (i.e: years 1-3). Year 1s pretty much only had that to do with the occasional homework which didn't really take long maybe 1-2hrs each time. Year 2 was getting more serious alnighters were starting around deadlines and it wasn't unusual for Yr2s to be working in Studio 08-21:00 Mon-fri and then more at the weekend. At deadline time you can expect to be in your room solidly working from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed for at least 2weeks and probably an alnighter or two before the final hand-in. Yr3 was longer than that because we hand 2 final deadlines including a pin-up for the final exhibition so it was more like 6weeks of intensively working and 2 or 3 alnighters before the deadlines. It wasn't unusual for people to be getting like 3hrs sleep in the run up for the hand ins and yr3s virtually lived in Studio especially after about March.

So now that that's out of the way, Architecture is a hard course but it's also incredibly rewarding. I'm not sure whether I would be as proud of say a History essay as I am of my exhibition. Yr1s really fun. You get to do crazy stuff like building sculptures out of wood and string and if you're lucky enough you might even get a live project. My uni buildings a school in S. Africa every year and when they don't they have so cool sculpture/pavilion thing to do. The tasks I find pretty interesting and even though in yr3 I spent my whole Xmas break writing essays. I found it fascinating walking round a building and knowing why stuff is like it is rather than just looking cool. There was genuinely a point where I was walking around Manchester and I stopped my mum and said "that building in front of us. I bet you don't think that's a good building. I bet you would have walked past it but it's good because...." and I love being able to do that. You can't get away from Architecture and once you start to study it you can't switch it off and I love it for that.

Plus I really enjoy the job. You can watch you're designs get built which is amazing and you can't really do that anywhere else. Plus you live in the knowledge that your work will live well beyond you which I think is awesome. What other profession can to drive around and go "I built that! I designed that. Oh and that one too!"
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GormlessWonder
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Scribbled)
Tutors will suggest tweaks towards the end but more often than not they are just as big to do as the massive changes and I don't think tutors realise that. Also tutors like to give to opposing advice. More often than not an entire week has been lost because on Monday Tutor 1 says do X and I come in on Thursday and Tutor 2 says I don't think X take it out and on Monday I'm back where I started.
I didn't really figure this out until third year, so here's advice for new first years: They give wild and opposing advice on purpose in order to make you consider other options, because lack of context and informed testing are the biggest mistakes young designers make. You only follow the suggestions blindly if you haven't taken yourself through some type of design process, by that I mean you should research and sketch out options then choose the best because of informed reasons. Come to design tutorials with considered evidence of decisions, as opposed to neat finalised renders, and you'll find the year much less of a nightmare.

(A lot of the problems in schools like the flashy render arms race and the 'working' culture is as much to blame on students' not really understanding this process evidence learning thing and trying to compensate by slogging out drawings, as much as the tutors fault by being wowed by them.)
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_sophieann
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#4
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do you ever have to do presentations infront of the other students?

what is the homework like?

Do you do alot of designing, or more technical stuff?

do you do BA or BSC?
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Jackhsb
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#5
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#5
Hi im new to the Student Room and am also thinking of studying architecture does anybody know when the universities ask for a portfolio of 'digital images' does that mean 1 image is 1 piece of work or can 1 image be a page of multiple pieces, would be grateful if someone could help thanks
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jrhartley
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#6
You can put more than one image on a page but unless they are intentionally related I'd warn against it. Admission tutors want to see evidence you can self edit - they want you to select the 10 (or 15 or whatever) most relevant pieces you have. They don't want to see loads of small images.

Bear in mind the average admissions tutor will receive 500-1500 applications each year. Your work needs to jump off the page, not look like a film contact sheet.

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jrhartley
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#7
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#7
(Original post by _sophieann)
do you ever have to do presentations infront of the other students

what is the homework like?

Do you do alot of designing, or more technical stuff?

do you do BA or BSC?
Presentations in front of peers, tutors and external critics is how the work is predominantly assessed.

Homework? This is university - not school. The work is pretty much unrelenting. Count on 40 hrs a week in 1st year up to 100 a week at the end of third year.

Most courses are design focused with some technical elements.

BA/bsc is largely irrelevant as covered a few times already in this forum.

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_sophieann
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(Original post by jrhartley)
Presentations in front of peers, tutors and external critics is how the work is predominantly assessed.

Homework? This is university - not school. The work is pretty much unrelenting. Count on 40 hrs a week in 1st year up to 100 a week at the end of third year.

Most courses are design focused with some technical elements.

BA/bsc is largely irrelevant as covered a few times already in this forum.

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its work given to do at home, therefore its homework...

thanks
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GormlessWonder
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#9
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#9
(Original post by _sophieann)
its work given to do at home, therefore its homework...

thanks
haha, adorable.

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username818632
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#10
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#10
(Original post by jrhartley)
Homework? This is university - not school. ]
It's still school. That's why they call it the School of Pharmacy, the School of Mathematical Sciences, the School of Architecture and the Built Environment....

Heehee

(Original post by _sophieann)
its work given to do at home, therefore its homework...
Lol! At my uni tbh we called it this too. But only in first year when there was a definitive end to the work. :P Yr2/3 we were expected to work in studio when doing work anyway so I guess it was no longer homework.

(Original post by _sophieann)
1) do you ever have to do presentations infront of the other students?

2) what is the homework like?

3) Do you do alot of designing, or more technical stuff?

4) do you do BA or BSC?
1) Er .... YEAH! All the time. Usually day to day it will be just you and your tutor sitting down and talking about your ideas but depending on how your class is run this might be with another student (at my uni we did have tutorials with both older years as well as our own year). Some had group tutorials which were infront of your whole class (30 students of yr2 and yr3s or just 15 for yr1) but they weren't usual. Our equivalent of exams were 'Crits/Reviews' which are done in front of a panel of 3 tutors/experts/practising architects and the rest of the class (who aren't rapidly finishing off plans/sleeping/or battling with a printer before their slot).


2) Well in regards for 1st year we had tasks/workshop work set for us. In the beginning it was just drawing tasks (really annoying for an art student who's done it all before) such as drawing the negative space of an object (which was never helpful for me every time I did it) then it was how to model make/technical draw. At one point we needed to technically draw plans for out rooms at 1:50 and we had to model a random building they gave us plans of in groups and because it was so complicated we had to finish it off in our own time (that happened a lot). Other home work towards the end of the year was just doing the work they set you from tutorials which were tweaks to your drawings which in my first year was all hand drawn! Not a SketchUp, Photoshop or Illustrator file in sight. They were other tasks which weren't strictly homework which was building a sculpture around the dept, and building a chair using no glue, or tape with just cardboard. In Yr2/3 it just turns into constantly updating you drawings and when Studio hasn't given you work to do, writing documents for the other modules. These are both academic/theoretical and technical (by which I mean building performance not details those go into Studio generally).


3) see 4#


4)Neither. I'm a B'Arch. just to put a spanner in the works.

It's the age old question. Is Architecture an art or a science? It depends on what your school's ethos is. As a general rule B'As are like art schools: highly conceptual and lots of abstract art and emotions being forced on the reader, B'Sc are more 'technical' as you put it. These focus on getting the building to work first, ie would it stand up, would a local council like it to be built, could it be built, in reality would it be used or would it just be far too unpleasant for people to return, does it fit into the ethos of the context/city its in, does the site/city actually need another industrial memorial crematoria? Having said that it could be only an indication of what they were when they were first set up. Glasgow Unis course for example is almost 100yrs old. Teaching methods/ethoses can change dramatically in that time. Universities tend to love tradition so many will try not to wander too far away from their origins but at the same time they are essentially a business, they need to give the people what they want.

B'Sc in Architecture are not engineering degrees like a lot of people think (me in 2010 included)! If Architecture was purely engineering it's quite likely there would be B'Eng Architectures floating about not BSc. We are not engineers. Archs are generally not required to produce all of the detail drawings for the project; Structural Engineers usually do that job! We are required to know a little bit about everything in a building project. That's what we are there for our primary purpose is to design a building aesthetically. Just because you are going into an Arch school in the Engineering department doesn't mean you won't be doing any arty design stuff and the same goes for BScs in Art departments. In my experience, BScs are more practical and more realistic. BA courses tend to have their head in the clouds designing for the 'vision' rather than reality.

As I say Architects have to be the masters of everything and hence whatever uni you choose it will always have elements of both design work and technical work. Where courses (and where B'A vs BScs) will differ is where they put the emphasis. Studio will be, no matter where you go, your core subject and will probably be quite a high percentage of your year and degree. But the tutors will encourage you in one direction or the other depending on whether they are concerned with a building as a sculpture or a building which isn't necessarily pretty but fulfils its purpose and is a pleasant and we'll integrated building within its context, heating performance, its "Carbon-zero", its reaction to it's climate, fulfilling a need, settling into its typology right etc etc etc (Sorry I've waffled on here but I've seen far too many people (past me being one of them) who said I want an arty Architecture school but don't really understand the alternative. Basically in your art class if you do crazy, wild, mad pieces of abstract art which are trying to convey some kind of message, but as a outside viewer you don't really know what you're looking at go for an "artsy" school of Architecture

(Original post by Jackhsb)
Hi im new to the Student Room and am also thinking of studying architecture does anybody know when the universities ask for a portfolio of 'digital images' does that mean 1 image is 1 piece of work or can 1 image be a page of multiple pieces, would be grateful if someone could help thanks
Depends on the university. Sheffield asked for portfolios as soon as I had sent the UCAS through. As for 1 image for 1piece, again it depends on the university but generally speaking yes 1 image for you piece of work. Sheffield asked for slides of a ppt rather than images. So if you had a sculpture for example you could get away with putting two on the one slide. That's the only way I see you getting away with it. If they quote images you must stick to the specified images if it's slides you can get away with whatever. But baring in mind the more images on one page the smaller the images and the smaller the images the harder it is to see. If you are unsure shoot off an email to the university admissions office and ask them I'm sure they won't mind, if not ask at open days.
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Sarvenazsamary
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#11
How long you study Architecture? Do you like it ?
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Sarvenazsamary
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(Original post by Scribbled)
Want the real truth? It's a bloody nightmare at times. Because of the nature of the course your work never stops. You will always go into Studio and even if you think it is finished and don't know what to do with it your tutor will always give you more work to do.

A great artist once said (I think it might have been Monay) when ask whether what he thought of his work and he said "A masterpiece only a masterpiece when you can't do anymore to it". Very true of architecture studio work never has an end. As a result around deadlines it can be very stressful. Tutors will suggest tweaks towards the end but more often than not they are just as big to do as the massive changes and I don't think tutors realise that. Also tutors like to give to opposing advice. More often than not an entire week has been lost because on Monday Tutor 1 says do X and I come in on Thursday and Tutor 2 says I don't think X take it out and on Monday I'm back where I started.

Personally, because it is so intensive a course I haven't had the time to do anything other than work, but that is because I'm a bit of a perfectionist and have always been work orientated. Other students have had a full student experience unlike me.

How much time in Studio? Well that depends on the year you're in and how close it is to deadlines and what uni you're at. At my uni, Studio was 10-17.30 on two days a week for every UG year (i.e: years 1-3). Year 1s pretty much only had that to do with the occasional homework which didn't really take long maybe 1-2hrs each time. Year 2 was getting more serious alnighters were starting around deadlines and it wasn't unusual for Yr2s to be working in Studio 08-21:00 Mon-fri and then more at the weekend. At deadline time you can expect to be in your room solidly working from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed for at least 2weeks and probably an alnighter or two before the final hand-in. Yr3 was longer than that because we hand 2 final deadlines including a pin-up for the final exhibition so it was more like 6weeks of intensively working and 2 or 3 alnighters before the deadlines. It wasn't unusual for people to be getting like 3hrs sleep in the run up for the hand ins and yr3s virtually lived in Studio especially after about March.

So now that that's out of the way, Architecture is a hard course but it's also incredibly rewarding. I'm not sure whether I would be as proud of say a History essay as I am of my exhibition. Yr1s really fun. You get to do crazy stuff like building sculptures out of wood and string and if you're lucky enough you might even get a live project. My uni buildings a school in S. Africa every year and when they don't they have so cool sculpture/pavilion thing to do. The tasks I find pretty interesting and even though in yr3 I spent my whole Xmas break writing essays. I found it fascinating walking round a building and knowing why stuff is like it is rather than just looking cool. There was genuinely a point where I was walking around Manchester and I stopped my mum and said "that building in front of us. I bet you don't think that's a good building. I bet you would have walked past it but it's good because...." and I love being able to do that. You can't get away from Architecture and once you start to study it you can't switch it off and I love it for that.

Plus I really enjoy the job. You can watch you're designs get built which is amazing and you can't really do that anywhere else. Plus you live in the knowledge that your work will live well beyond you which I think is awesome. What other profession can to drive around and go "I built that! I designed t
That's amazing I really enjoy it but I have a question from you is : which subject did you choose for foundation year ? What you recommend for someone want to study Architecture ?
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