Why is architecture school a waste of time?


Richard what's with the condescension? Those other students in your "Intro to Architecture" class have all graduated and most of them have been working full time since then and now have more real-world practical experience than you do, and the portfolios to prove it.  The value of their education is that they are able to find gainful employment in the field while you are not.  My recollection is you insisted on hanging out in the halls but weren't even admitted to the major. 

Mar 2, 16 10:26 pm  · 

A point to consider. It's not design school that the problem, it's the generation. 

That's not a condescending attitude, but an observation. It's known that the current cohort of students (not just designers) like to think and problem solve in packs, and they think service work in the form of public engagement is a good thing. Perhaps one of the values of school is to train that attitude to be more valuable, but perhaps offices could be more mindful of how these new staff members work as a cohort. They don't think like the old joke and likely never will, so why try to force that mode of thinking? Oddly enough, some of the more notable targets for abuse (like BIG) are very good at using this collective attitude to be productive and prominent. 

One other point- there's always a demand for schools to teach people how to build. I'm always unclear as to what that means. Is this a call be a universal building standard and educational format? Everyone should design for building foundations in Minnesota, wind loads and projectiles in Florida, and lateral loads in California? If not, how can you assure that  the student that is from California and is attending the Souther Illinois in Carbondale will be  able move to Maine with any competency? 

Mar 2, 16 10:55 pm  · 


Condescension not intended. 

They weren't admitting me into the major because I refused to take the SAT. It is against the damn rules of the state board of higher education for the university which ALSO INCLUDED ANY sub-component such as "department" or "school of _________" within and part of the actual institution, to require a student who takes the GED to have to take the SAT.

If the University doesn't require me for general admission, I shouldn't have to for ANY of its academic programs. The university normally requires it for students graduating from high school. Students coming in with GED doesn't. Why is the department of architecture out of compliance with the University itself?


High School students don't HAVE to take a bank of tests like the GED to graduate. Add to that, I already took the general education required course that was required when I started college even for an AA-OT. I took the requirements at the time. 

Also, SAT is not a valid metrics for testing aptitude for architecture courses. Why should I not have to take and submit SAT scores is simple. I took the GED. They didn't have such an exam to graduate and SAT tests is not required to be taken in high school to graduate.

Add to that, being home schooled during high school, I had annual end of the year tests to test aptitudes. Why on Earth would I take another test when I am taking REAL COLLEGE credit courses from ACCREDITED COLLEGE INSTITUTION for already 10+ YEARS at the time.

I call it discrimination. They didn't want me because I had a college education given their bias AGAINST transfer students. They also don't like building designers as students and probably held that against me on top of that.

It isn't like the college financial aid pays me money to take the SAT or my instructors are going accommodate me taking the SAT. They won't make allowance or adjustments for me in terms of submitting homework. They always assign homework to be done over the weekend assigning them on Thursdays or Fridays and requiring them Submitted Monday before class.  The individual assignments takes close to 10-20 hours each and SATs would kill most if not all of Saturday. Usually two of the classes will pretty much consume Saturday and Sunday and the other two would consume Friday and the free time on the other days. 

Pretty much, there isn't weekends free on any week.

As for those students who took the class has it easy because high school is almost impossible to not have a 3.5 or higher GPA.

Even a 2.0 GPA at college is better than 4.0 GPA in high school because the work level is that much more at college than high school. Sorry but high school is a joke.

Mar 2, 16 11:01 pm  · 

Richard all through your time at UO you averaged several hours per weekend posting on internet forums.  All you had to do is use that time one weekend to take a test that lasts a few hours.  It only costs $75 and there is in fact financial aid available for it.  Your excuses are embarrassingly pathetic.

Mar 2, 16 11:13 pm  · 


What financial aid program pays for SAT ???? It isn't like I was 11th or 12th grade for a long time now.

Mar 3, 16 12:08 am  · 

Fee waivers for the SAT are provided to all low-income candidates.  They're distributed to high schools, and to community-based organizations, including some community college and vocational/tech schools.  If you're in high school you have to be in at least 11th grade and from a low-income family to qualify for a fee waiver.  If you're not in high school then you need to provide proof of low income (there's a list of types of acceptable proof) to a guidance counselor at any local public high school, or to a local community-based organization, college, etc. that distributes the waivers.  There isn't an age limit. You just have to show that you were home schooled and that you are low income.

Mar 3, 16 12:47 am  · 

Also for future reference (before it becomes the next excuse): all colleges can process fee waivers for the GRE.  You don't have to be enrolled - you just have to provide proof of low income and fill out a 1-page form.

Mar 3, 16 12:51 am  · 

Hmm... The last I checked, it was only for students still in 11th or 12th grade.


GRE is a separate matter. Won't get into that. There's no complaint there.

Mar 3, 16 1:18 am  · 

If the only goal is to create a competent building the architects have a lot of competition because others can do this.  

Mar 3, 16 1:35 am  · 

Except they carved themselves an exclusive domain over ALL buildings except those that are exempted under the exemption laws.

The engineering exemption is being closed up by changes either to the laws or how the board interprets the matters to assure that engineers that do complete building design without an architect. If they don't follow, they get courts to issue injunction which means on top of the fine for each violation by the engineer levied by the licensing board, the court will issue fine or even jail time if the they violate injunction. (You know... contempt of court penalty as you know Judges don't take kindly to people not obeying.)

Mar 3, 16 2:10 am  · 

Rick the waivers are distributed to other organizations, including community colleges, social services, etc.  All you have to do is provide one of the items documenting low income - as long as you're not younger than 11th grade age they will grant your waiver.  The regulations aren't intended to keep older students from taking the SAT for free if they qualify - they're intended to prevent younger students from receiving waivers (younger students are usually taking the SAT in order to apply to private high schools, and the waivers are intended to help those going to college - not prep school applicants - that's all.)

This is all a little silly anyway - $75 could not possibly have been the barrier between you and architecture school.  You spent 3 years of time and loans in a major that wasn't your first choice and didn't even graduate.   Surely that cost a lot more than $75 - and will continue to cost you in loan interest and lost earnings for many years to come. 

You've spent thousands of hours, whole months or years of your life, writing about yourself on architecture forums when you could have spent a tiny fraction of those hours netting $75 at any minimum wage job. 

You find the money for AIA dues, AIAS dues, and  that building designer group you're always touting, and for a spare AIA pin "in case the first one gets lost".  Why don't you invest the money you spend in trying to convince others that you're an architect in actually becoming one (or something else - whatever you want to be) instead? 

Mar 3, 16 4:42 pm  · 
Sharky McPeterson

"The function of beauty is in fact function as beauty has a function beyond that of utility which is probably the most easily understood concept for function but people can often forget about the function of beauty..."

—Richard W.C. Balkins, Fellow of the American Institute of Building Designers (FAIBD)

"Computers can pretty much replace engineers but they can't really replace the designing spirit that we as building designers..."

—Richard W.C. Balkins, Fellow of the American Institute of Building Designers (FAIBD)

Mar 3, 16 4:51 pm  · 

The fact they require an SAT for the department of architecture from someone who had already a GED, a two year college degree, and then some like more college credit than any other student other than maybe MAYBE a student applying to a M.Arch program. What the hell is their malfunction for requiring that.

Fuck.... the asstard admissions staff would have ran me through this crap if I had got licensed in California by the experience path and still want some stupid ass crap like that.

Mar 3, 16 4:55 pm  · 
On the fence

I am never homeschooling my kids.

Mar 3, 16 4:56 pm  · 


I haven't received that so I would request people not representing me as having that.

Thank You.

My point with the engineers is engineering science is a physics/math based occupation in which a computer with software could effectively replace the engineers since engineering is basically an applied math & physics occupation.

With the advancement of BIM and implementing material properties, software can pretty much be full fledge simulation engines that is design to calculated and detect calculation deficiencies.

Mar 3, 16 5:00 pm  · 

On the fence,

Don't then. So f---ing what.

Mar 3, 16 5:11 pm  · 

I wouldn't recommend home schooling anymore. Especially is this discriminating culture that we do live in. 

Why can't architecture schools develop a degree major subject oriented aptitude test? They make tests for subject courses so why can't they just do something on that aspect?

It would be more valid for aptitude for the major itself that one is applying to.

Mar 3, 16 5:45 pm  · 
Sharky McPeterson

"The function of beauty is in fact function as beauty has a function beyond that of utility which is probably the most easily understood concept for function but people can often forget about the function of beauty..."

—Richard W.C. Balkins, not a Fellow of the American Institute of Building Designers (FAIBD)

Mar 3, 16 6:48 pm  · 

They require the SAT because they want to make sure that they're giving spots in a limited-enrollment major to students who have basic college readiness (language and math skills).  

UO only requires the SAT for transfer students who are trying to enter competitive majors AND have less than a B average in their previous college coursework.  You transferred several years of previous coursework from a community college known for its rampant grade inflation (more than 70% of all grades awarded are B+ and above), and yet your GPA was less than a 3.0.

High school students who plan to attend college generally take a college-track curriculum - particularly English, math, science, and social studies coursework well above the minimum requirements for merely graduating from high school. The GED is not considered a good test of college readiness because it is a test of the minimum threshold to graduate high school - not a test of college readiness.  Of course some people who pass the GED are very well prepared for college - but it's not designed to sort levels of high school grads.  

You chose to avoid a $75, 3 hour test, as a matter of principle, and instead spent 13 years in college, incurring 5 figures in debt, without earning a degree.  That's not a great indicator of rational thinking.

Mar 3, 16 8:42 pm  · 


I had QUITE a few courses prior to taking the historic preservation program at the college. However, the more classes you have at an institution, the more it takes to change cumulative GPA that much. Even with a second associates after an associates, a certificates and other classes, those courses in the second associates would take a lot to change the courses. 

13 years of college and only earned a debt that is basically under $50,000. The first 10 years of so, I had $0 student loan debt. It was only at UO that I had the loan debt.

Mar 3, 16 11:24 pm  · 

Lets think about this for a moment. So lets say the SAT tests college readiness. College readiness is for testing if someone has at least average scores. Taking the SAT and getting a high score is no prediction that when the student DOES take the college level course that they only do average C level in the course.

There is plenty of statistics to support that. 

You elaborated how the SAT is for general college readiness. That would be the concerns of the general admissions of the university. I was actually more surprised that they didn't require the SAT because of the GED versus not requiring the SAT because I am transferring with completion of college level reading, writing, science, social studies and other general ed liberal arts courses, ALL of which I had PASSED with a C or higher grade.

Even the UO architecture major doesn't require grades to be a B or higher. Only a cumulative GPA. You have to pass your courses but not all of them have to be B or higher.

Add to that, studios are pass/no pass at UO.

How does aptitude scores of the SAT have any relevancy to the "price of rice in china" (translate for point: How does the aptitude scores of the SAT a valid prediction of success of students in architecture.

You say that they have a limited enrollment. Okay, that's supporting their bullshit excuse for requiring an SAT and other bullshit requirements just so they can have excuses to not admit students. Unjustified requirements so they can have X number of foreign students, Y number of American students, certain numbers of students of each ethnic category. 

You might day... they don't have the space. 

I argue, BULLSHIT. They have not only the non-utilized MacArthur Court, they also have another non-utilized building(s) on Agate st. near the law school which was an elementary school. They get MILLIONs of dollars every year and with construction projects going on ALL over the campus every year I was there.... it is all excuse to say they can't accommodate more students as needed.

There is also quite a few hours where the class rooms/studios aren't even being used especially after 5pm. That's just them making excuses about available seats and all that. They had been having these prediction of student enrollment for a long time. It isn't likey they got that big of a swelling increase. If they admitted more students, they make more money, they can add more staff... too! and expand the program offering. 

Mar 4, 16 1:07 am  · 

Someone mentioned above of architects building a sound building. Engineers determine if it is a sound building. They have 2 exams to get their license, while we have 5 or 6.... The exams are where the problem lies tell me another profession where 70 % (this is general assumption) of people don't get their license? I have worked in firms where people are in their 50s and never completed the process to get it. It has always been taught if you don't plan on having your own practice then no need for a license. Now you have people that are :designers", no degrees doing the fundamental thing that architects do which is design a structural space. Whether it be a wall, A door. they call them as well house flippers. Architects are not drafters and that is how designers treat us. I blame this on the everyday architect with companies as well as the AIA not taking hold of the industry and cutting off the" design" industry, we are designers that is what school trained us in. Now they have interior designers. Interior design is another part of architecture an architect can do that work but now it is a whole other industry, with its own degree. Architecture is a dying industry. We will just be drafters very soon. I am sorry for those that want to design.

Mar 4, 16 7:10 am  · 

nyander, I agree that 5 or 6 exams are probably too many.

Yesterday I went to a small talk by the associate VP of AECOM's transportation division, and she emphasized that when approaching a leadership position (or any situation, really), you should ideally have 60% of the knowledge and be able to learn the other 40% on the job.  It's tempting to want to attain close to 100% knowledge before you start a project / accept a position, but by the time you get there the opportunity will have passed you by. 

Are these exams trying to push that starting number over 60%?  Are architects expected to learn things ahead of time for exams that can more easily be learned while in practice?

Mar 4, 16 7:46 am  · 

^ A "good" architecture program would impart the first 60% and the internship period would fill in the last 40%, so that when you took and presumably passed the test, you would be ready.

You are always going to have to learn the fine points of any building type, etc. but the license would tell the world that you won't do any lasting damage.  First, do no harm.

Mar 4, 16 7:56 am  · 

Rick, my husband is a very good educational psychologist in private practice and he can help people like you. I have worked for him too, tutoring people in the ACT, SAT, and other tests. The ACT and SAT test 10th and 11th grade skills. These basic skills in reading and writing are tested by colleges because they form the foundations of thinking and learning. You can get help with that. 

Definition of Hyperlexia copied below from here

What is hyperlexia?

Hyperlexia is a syndrome that is characterized by a child's precocious ability to read (far above what would be expected at their age), significant difficulty in understanding and using verbal language (or a profound nonverbal learning disability) and significant problems during social interactions.

What do we know about it's diagnosis? 

Although hyperlexia may be the key symptom in describing the learning difference in a child, it is not a stand-alone diagnosis. Rather, it exists on a continuum with other disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, language disorders and nonverbal learning disabilities. Children with hyperlexia may also exhibit other conditions, such as sensory integration dysfunction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, motor dyspraxia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and/or seizure disorder.

We have often been asked why we identify children with hyperlexia if they have other diagnoses or conditions. The most important reason is that these children learn primarily through reading, so the therapeutic and educational programs that we devise for them must take their reading skills into account. The reading skills of these children are their strength, and we use this strength to develop their weaker skills.

Children with hyperlexia are delightful, interesting and challenging. They have taught us about learning, language and life. We have found that there are new concerns at each stage of development, and our work with these children is never done. The children we worked with in the early days were a capable group. Most of them did well academically, thanks to a lot of hard work by their parents; however, their social skills remained an issue and needed continued intervention. As we treated many more children over the years, we realized that there is a spectrum of outcomes depending on the severity of the cognitive, language learning and/or social disorder associated with the hyperlexia.

Identification of hyperlexia is most important when children are young, because early intervention increases children's chances for success, and since reading is a powerful tool for learning language and social skills, Once a child begins to understand verbal language, written language call be gradually decreased and used only in certain situations when something new or confusing is introduced. Although symptoms tend to decrease over time, the characteristic learning style remains through adulthood.

What is observed in a child with hyperlexia?

Hyperlexia is a syndrome observed in children who have the following characteristics:

  • Precocious ability to read words-far above what would be expected at the chronological age-or an intense fascination with numbers or letters.

  • Significant difficulty understanding verbal language.

  • Abnormal social skills; difficulty socializing and interacting appropriately with people.

Mar 4, 16 8:42 am  · 

Did you just diagnose Rick with hyperlexia? oh damnnnnn.

Mar 4, 16 8:49 am  · 

I'm not qualified to make a diagnosis, but I am qualified to make observations. 

Mar 4, 16 9:15 am  · 

I would like to expand on Daniel Lears case,

Architecture is a profession for creative minds with a sense of vision and optimistic individuals who find satisfaction on what they do. If money is the end game, this is not it. I know servers that make more than me. 

To be an architect in essence, and not classification, one must realize the real role an architect plays. That role goes beyond beauty and structure, those are just components to a much bigger plot. To say that knowledge of structure and code is all that is needed, is to dismiss any other component, such as: urban ideals with a sense of advancing society as a whole, environmental responsibility, etc. One must look at the bigger scope of the world the architect is submerged in. 

Again if you are not passionate about the real meaning of architecture, then this is not for you. 

Is knowledge of all practical things needed? yes! it would be naive to assume otherwise. But those are things you learn through experience. You cant learn how to think creatively and critically in a work based on production, as it is today. You do not need any architecture training to be a drafter or to know codes. 

School is meant to cradle your creativity and satisfy your curiosity. Is that a naive way of thinking? Perhaps, but as history has shown, architects are theoretical and deep beings. And if that classifies me as a dreamer, then I am OK with that. It gives me satisfaction and sense of purpose, rather than wake up every morning complaining about a monotonous desk job. 

So in short, self satisfaction is what one must find in this profession.

Mar 4, 16 11:19 am  · 

so cruz, what you're saying is that you're still a student and you don't have very much practical experience in the profession?

i wish you the best of luck along the journey that lies before you.

rather than wake up every morning complaining about a monotonous desk job. 

you know, there are desks along that path. . .

Mar 4, 16 11:37 am  · 

Is knowledge of all practical things needed? yes! it would be naive to assume otherwise. But those are things you learn through experience. You cant learn how to think creatively and critically in a work based on production, as it is today. You do not need any architecture training to be a drafter or to know codes. 

Some of the practical things you learn through experience, but you need to avoid the dismissive attitude that most young would-be architects have.  The reality is that most architectural practice is glorified code checking and drafting.  Your job is to produce documents that a building can be successfully built from.  Clients really don't like it when you are getting your trial-and-error education at their expense.  Advancing society as a whole and environmental responsibility may be important values to you, but they are not what the client is paying you for.

Mar 4, 16 12:13 pm  · 

Rick the more classes you take at an institution, the EASIER it should be to improve your GPA.  If taking more courses didn't help your GPA it is either because you had a very large percentage of poor grades earlier, or because you continued to do poorly.

I can understand why the architecture department would rather give a spot in their program to someone with more potential than to someone with a long, proven record of sub-standard performance.

Strong academic programs are strong in part because of the aptitude of their students.  Admitting poor students just because you have desk space is a sure recipe for a mediocre program.  Students like you take too high a share of time and focus, and drag down everyone around them into their dysfunction, drama, failure to thrive, and insatiable need for attention.

Mar 4, 16 12:29 pm  · 

wake me up when firms start hiring high school graduates and english literature BA's for entry level architecture positions.   and geezertect, yeah, clients do pay for trial and error education.  architecture works this way, as does medicine, law, finance, business...i doubt very much that you just arrive at a fully formed solution in hour 1 of schematic design.  

Mar 4, 16 1:06 pm  · 

"wake me up when firms start hiring high school graduates and english literature BA's for entry level architecture positions."

The last architecture/design build company I worked for had a guy with an english literature BA from Miami U in Ohio. He was acquired when the development company next store went out of business. He was learning how the draft and doing all the change orders, etc....for $12 an hour in Denver circa 2013...

So I guess you should wake up?!

Mar 4, 16 1:23 pm  · 

sure m8, a 12/hr draftsman position in the midwest in 2013 is not 'entry level architecture'.   

Mar 4, 16 3:38 pm  · 

^ It was for me ... only I was getting a dollar more, and it wasn't the midwest, and it was a little before 2013. Sure they called it an entry-level intern position, but it was really a drafting position.

Mar 4, 16 4:15 pm  · 


Hyperlexia.... maybe. It is a symptom of computer programmers as that very skill and extreme attention to detail regarding textual and numbers and the ability to read attentively is inherent of computer programming. I'm not saying all cases of hyperlexia is due to computer programming but it would be a symptom because computer programming inherently requires those skills. 

Hyperlexia could very well be a symptom and an element that aided understanding computer programming when I started which was considerably early.

My exams I taken like the CAT tests would document supporting evidence of reading skills. My early school records from faculty and staff would support hyperlexia. 

I know you are not qualified for precise diagnosis and I do not claim your are.

Whether there was a precondition or systemic development that would fit into the symptomatic term of hyperlexia, it has been embodied as part of my self-study approach to learning (autodidactic model of learning things). Hyperlexia does not negate skills in visualizing or creativity. It should be noted.

In my life, social skills had not been developed as much as it would have been for others. Learning development in a balance approach means people will develop their skills more slowing in all areas. Hyperlexia for those here reading, would somewhat neglect to develop some areas to focus and develop other area. If you live in an area that you didn't really get involved with other children. Overbearing, paranoid father who also is an annoyance all the time would make developing social relationship in those years more difficult. Part of life at the time, I rather read and learn than hang around him if you think about it. I focused a lot with computers, reading and learning for myself.

Mar 4, 16 4:47 pm  · 

so email tintt and ask for her (and her husband's) help.  there is a 'contact' button there.

Mar 4, 16 4:53 pm  · 

 and geezertect, yeah, clients do pay for trial and error education.  architecture works this way, as does medicine, law, finance, business

I am not referring to trial and error in the design phase.  I'm talking about things like details that leak, etc. because the architect doesn't know or care about basic building techniques because he thinks of himself as the grand creator who simply delegates such lowly tasks to the proletarian drafters.  Clients don't expects and shouldn't expect to pay for professional incompetence.

Architects are supposed to know how to build buildings, not just bullshit and philosophize about them.

Mar 4, 16 6:27 pm  · 

I know you feel that way and when most of us were in school, we all thought that way at times. Architecture school teaches you to pull apart your ideas and come up with something entirely new. When it comes to the structure, you don't need to know the intricacies of structural design, that is why you have a structural engineer and geotech engineer. At the same time, you need to know enough to be dangerous so you don't design things that can't be built at all and which waste the structural engineer's time. What architecture school prepares you for is the stupid owner's that ask for stupid ideas which make no sense. You have to keep your calm and you have to shine for the firm that you are working for. You have to get a whole group of people on your side and they must believe your vision in the end. You can't design whatever you want, instead you need to listen to what the owner says, otherwise you will get fired or your firm will get fired. The crit panels may seem like a waste of time, but it just goes to show you how later on when you are working in the real world, you will need to convince your team of your vision, just like how you have to do with your jury. Hang in there and remember to have fun! After this, when you get out, you won't be able to think outside of the box and push the envelope in the same way. Remember, that every project you are doing now needs to look good in your portfolio for the firm you will be applying for when you graduate. So, even if you want to give up and you are over your current professor, at least remember that you are doing a great model or putting in all your effort so you can show your future employer what kick ass work you did in school.

Mar 19, 16 5:26 pm  · 

daniel lear

you sound like you should still be teaching pointless concepts to all the guppies in my studio.

I feel you man, I spent a year and half working (drafting/fabricating) after my second year of undergrad and it was the best/worst. I learned an incredible amount about everything I was interested in from concrete composition to CNC milling to roof details. Now i'm back in school designing an invisible urban grid and actually thinking about dropping out because of how depressing it is to have waste this much money/time  (which is what led me to this forum). My only solution is to work while attending school to numb the crashing hammer of ineptitude that idiots like Daniel Lear spew out daily at fucking design schools.

Oct 25, 17 8:12 pm  · 

Don't know why this got revived but... if you don't want to be an architect I can imagine architecture school is a waste of time.

Oct 26, 17 3:33 am  · 

I didnt learn very much about architecture in college.  The best way is to find a really good mentor who understands the business side of architecture as well.  In fact, fine 2 or 3 mentors if possible and partner with a good friend who's on the same track as you but has different skills and strengths than you do (you guys should have complimentary talents).  Architecture requires a variety of skills and it's hard to master all of them without collaboration and help from others. 

Oct 26, 17 11:53 am  · 

wow, the sense of entitlement...YOU are in charge of your education.  If you fail to learn in school it's probably because you didn't take full advantage of the resources.  Teachers are not there to spoon feed you.  

Oct 26, 17 2:27 pm  · 

And if you are incapable of self learning while surrounded by libraries, technologies, professionals, professors, peers, and studio space then you should quit now.


Amen. One of the best things about architecture school - at least where I went - was that you could appeal to the dean of academics and fit the curriculum to your interests, if you had a good enough argument. Plenty of us subbed out extra 4th year architecture 'multimedia' electives (which was typically pottery or watercolor) for additional courses in architectural history, BIM/rendering, drawing, welding, furniture making, etc., Plus if you wanted to find an opportunity outside of school to develop your interests, there were faculty there to help you find a position within the community where you could contribute and figure it out. You just had to be willing to ask someone for guidance.


Arch school is like a gym membership.  Not a guarantee that you will get in shape...

Oct 26, 17 2:30 pm  · 

Nice bumper sticker :)


I had a huge love/hate relationship with architecture school.  I loved the people, the late nights in studio, the work, the classes, and belonging to that community.  But I HATED that the blobby, crumpled paper "high design" aesthetic that comes from a mysterious diagram.  It just made no sense to me.  And I would question my profs about why this was the right approach to providing a working building for a client, and they would have no answer.  I wanted to try to understand and employ other design languages I'd learned about in other classes, like classicist, mid-century modern, or even egyptian revival styles just for fun, but any time I did anything that wasn't Decon/blob, my profs would give me this confused look like they didn't understand.  The uses we were given were almost very specifically random like a vertical farm (this was still a new idea then), a meditation tower, or a butchery.  A lot of times we spent 2 weeks of the semester researching what kinds of spaces we would need with their optimal environmental conditions because the proposed use was so complex, and completely outside of anyone's knowledge base.  I will never understand why a butchery needs to look like a crumpled piece of paper.

I felt like a design style was forced on me, and because I never bought in, I was always in the lower half of my studio class.  I was also told many times by my profs that I should find a new major because I would never be an Architect, and that if I didn't like studio, I would never succeed in the job.

That being said, the program also required a bunch of classes in structures, systems, hand drawing, hand drafting, architectural history, construction documents, and 3d modeling/BIM programs.  I loved all of those and feel that they best served me in my current professional practice.

Oct 26, 17 3:29 pm  · 

Agreed. I was Consistently a B student in studio. All semester I'd be threatened with Cs, progress grades would be Cs, etc. I kept designing buildings and exploring techniques that I had learned growing up in the construction trades. Not sure about other studios, but come final review, as long as you had every drawing/model well documented and made, you'd have a horrible final review where the entire crit boiled down to "You shouldn't be an architect because what you're doing looks like 90% of the buildings built out there", and then you'd get a B. Only actual people who got Cs or worst didn't do their work, and only people who got As were those who's design interests were in line with the prof of that semester, and continued to follow the prof's guidance to mimic whatever zaha swoosh or 'insert starchitect here' blob that they picked out in the first week of studio.


because despite record numbers of graduates competing for shitty drafting jobs, there's like a dozen people who can guess a plan in the eponymous thread on the internet's most popular architecture forum.

it's only a waste of time, if you don't commit yourself to learning about architecture - whatever that means to you when you apply, and challenging that definition through the process of being there, surrounded by motivated and knowledgeable people

Oct 28, 17 1:18 am  · 

I just (perhaps naively) thought we'd have higher participation in what (in my opinion) is one of the best threads on the board in a long time. There's a very low amount of cynicism there, if any at all, and it's a strictly disciplinary activity. I know there are people looking through the forum who are seeing some of the plans in their studies - so what's the hangup when it comes to posting a few lines about the work?


Because it's been diluted down to an art major. 

Oct 28, 17 11:19 am  · 



However, school does not even focus on any of these topics except for a brief second. Instead of focusing on what's really important, we waste our time doing repetitive and pointless design projets that would never be built in the real world.

There are many factors, but I think that, generally speaking, architecture used to be more of an act of culture. That idea is still lingering around in some areas, see this L'architecture est une expression de la culture

Architecture shifted from CA to CA - from a Cultural Act to basically Contract Administration, with everything this entails. 

Also generally speaking, architectural education didn't follow suit and is stuck in the "architecture ~ culture/art" paradigm, and does not sufficiently address the requirements of the modern concept, hence the disconnect and perception that architectural education is useless or a waste of time.

Oct 30, 17 12:06 pm  · 

To me it will always be a Cultural Act, no matter what the pencil pushers try to make us believe...



Oct 31, 17 2:29 pm  · 

Confidence sells. (Confidence comes from knowledge).

Nov 1, 17 1:41 am  · 

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