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Dropped out of Architecture School

walkr

Hi Guys, 

I thought I'd write a little about my experience in Architecture for those of you who may be feeling fed up with the profession and the architectural education system. 

I've recently dropped out of Architecture school after 4 years of study. During this time I've gone through all the common stages that eventually lead one to completely abandoning the profession. I feel my experience may be of use, not only to those in academia, but also those who are out in the real world of work. 

Upon arriving at Architecture school I was, like many others, taken by the works Chipperfield, Kahn, Mies Van Der Rohe etc. To some extent, I bought into the 'life of Modern Architecture'. However, I gradually began to realise that this was not something I could sell myself to. There was something inside of me that did not fully concur with Modern Architecture. 

I grew up in a Victorian style building in a modest area in the UK, nothing fancy. My Dad was an Architect. When we went on holidays, we went to places of 'Architectural interest'; Churches, Cathedrals and the like. From a young age I had, whether I was aware of it or not at the time, an appreciation of traditional Architecture. 

When I arrived at Architectural School at the age of 18 I was exposed to the glass, steel and concrete world of Modernism. As I said before, I initially took to it and went along with the usual jargon that often accompanies Modern Architecture in academia. I did however feel as though something about it did not sit well with me. 

I was a wide reader and read a lot about history and finance whilst at University when I was not at lectures and tutorials. I kept myself to myself and despite taking to Modernism, I didn't really engage with many other people in the course or attend parties or nights out etc. I had one girlfriend, who was on exchange at my University. 

Out with Architecture School, I soon developed a keen interest in finance and the idea of 'free market economics' and developed a hostility towards, what I will loosely refer to as, Communist Ideology and Marxism. I fell into the Capitalist v Communist stratosphere and began to see Marxism and Communism as the ultimate destroyer of 'traditional values'. What's more, I began to see Modern Architecture as part of this ideology which was at loggerheads with my beloved traditional Architecture. My lecturers and tutors would often refer to traditional Architecture as 'hierarchical' and gave the impression that Modernism was the antithesis to hierarchy; being an Architecture for 'the people'. 

This was around 2nd year of my studies. However by third year and definitely by 4th year, I had began to ask myself why Modern Architectural academia was so entrenched in this Marxist way of thinking: why was it that the department of Architecture was so hostile to anything remotely conservative? Traditional relationships and family were anathema to the Architecture department: every building was to have some element of 'communality'. Designing a building with a private garden was a big No No. Buildings with communal gardens, communal washing facilities and cafeterias were the vogue and anything that hinted at 'middle class', privacy or private ownership was seen as blasphemy. 

I soon recognised that I was in a profession that was completely saturated in Communist Ideology. As I said before, I read widely and had read a lot about history and in particular, the Bolshevik Revolution. I asked myself lots of questions and really struggled with this for a long time. I soon saw Modern Architecture as not only inherently Marxist/Communist but also as part of the 'Capitalist' System and did not understand why. I looked at many of my fellow peers and my lecturers and could see that they were fully on board with the Left-wing doctrine (One of my lecturers told me that he was a Marxist when I asked him). However I could not understand why it was that in the real world of work, outside of academia that is, Modern Architecture was part and parcel of the Capitalist system. Investment banks and large corporations all had there headquarters in a glass modern skyscrapers somewhere in London or New York. I began to realise that Communism and Capitalism are two sides of the same coin. 

Where before I though that Communism and Capitalism were polar opposites, I began to see them as the same thing. I came across a book about Wall St and the Bolshevik Revolution which outlined how Wall St bankers had funded the Communist Revolution in Russia in 1917. It was there and then that the light switched on in my head: Modern Architecture is part of the Globalist agenda. Modern Architecture is part of the homogenisation of culture, the amalgamation of nation states into one super state, the plan for a one world currency, the 'spread of western culture' and the destruction of locality. 

The Architecture profession has changed drastically over the last 100 years, for the worst. I think a lot of people's frustration with the Architecture profession comes from the fact that the profession is a tool of the globalists. They are working day in, day out, destroying their culture and getting paid for it. I believe, deep down, this is why Architects today, by and large, are unhappy. 



 
Sep 4, 18 10:52 am
Non Sequitur

...and you came up with this without once setting foot outside of the protective world of academia?  Must be nice to have such clear vision.

You should know that what is "taught" in school is but a teeny part of the real profession.  Please take off your disenfranchised-millennial foil hat, it's not that simple. 

Sep 4, 18 11:24 am
SneakyPete

Man, you learned SO MUCH in school, pity you came out the poorer for it.

Sep 4, 18 11:55 am

Justifying one’s choice of action in an Internet forum appears to be the newest trend in self-help.  

Sep 4, 18 11:57 am
Non Sequitur

I know. When do I start collecting royalties? Soon people will try and expense this as part of their "wellness" benefit allowances.

randomised

tl;dr

Sep 4, 18 12:16 pm
archi_dude

Nah it was the money and terrible job security. The fact that I was surrounded by hypocritical commi’s that would talk about how profits were evil and should be done away with, then five minutes later complain they didn’t make enough was lower on the list of issues.  

Sep 4, 18 12:25 pm
Rusty!

Pre modernist architecture of 19th century all looked the same as well. Old part of Buenos Aires look just like parts of old part of Ho Chi Min City, which all kinda looks like parts of Paris. So if architecture is tool of globalism now, it sure was tool of imperialism 150 years ago. 

Architecture went through a lot of ideological isms in 20th century, just like politics did as well. Architecture seems to be over that now. Perhaps all ideologies are inherently dishonest. Or perhaps dealing with more tangible topics like sustainability and resilience brings more value to general good of society. 

Most people honestly do not know definitions of socialism or fascism, but will gladly use both terms to describe world around them. I am glad that architecture has moved away from that. Modern architecture is just celebration of technology. We invented steel, the curtainwall, the rainscreen cladding. Amount of innovation in construction industry is truly fascinating. I haven't had a project with brick veneer wall in it in years. It just seems like a wasteful way of doing a wall. We have so many more efficient options now. 

Is architecture globalist? Sure you can assign any value to it if it helps you make sense of the world around you, but it's really the other way around. Architecture is a reflection of a society, and often such reflection is not rooted in a simple ideology. 

Sep 4, 18 12:37 pm
archinet

Well I guess value engineering does make cheap buildings- and that is something almost every developer does, which is tied to capitalism. Maybe the commies also value engineered-dunno not an expert.  But they did sometimes invest in public buildings such as libraries, train stations or schools- which no late capitalist society today in the English speaking world will ever do. But you should try to find some academic articles about the topic if you are interested, I am not sure this is the place where you will get meaningful conversations or input. 

Sep 4, 18 12:45 pm
archi_dude

Wait is this a real response? Commi buildings are more value engineered than anything you’d find in the states. And sorry there’s plenty of brand new libraries along the west coast including major metropolitan ones, check out San Diego’s recent waste of money. I’ve also worked on schools in my career so....seriously? I guess the OP is right on the mark with the marxists in this profession.

archinet

American buildings always try to have a grand gesture but then have pretty cheap ass details (and yeah I lust looked up this San Diego library which is making me hurl its so fugly- especially the exposed giant HVAC everywhere barf) that looked butchered like nobody´s business. Shitty curtain wall ALL the time, with big fat mullions and this weird green glass that is full of soda content bc it is cheap. And then forget ever having a finished ceiling- they scream of value engineering moves. At least the commies would have finished ceilings in the very few public buildings they would actually invest in. But I was never implicating that commi architecture never valued engineered. Just saying that late capitalist english speaking countries LOOOOOOOOOOVE to value engineer the shit out of every building- which is tied to capitalism especially condo type buildings where you want to sell it and make the biggest return possible.

Schoon

This was a fun read, thank you.

Modernist architecture has proliferated because it's associated with technology, innovation, novelty, and progress - ideas that corporations really like to associate themselves with.  It's not Marxist conspiracy, it's corporate branding.  Also guess what, communal washing facilities and cafeterias are preferred because they are more resource-efficient than building 100 separate facilities for each individual, and owners also like efficiency.  

Look, you're still young and have a lot  more to experience.  You said in your post that you didn't interact much with your peers at school, and it sounds like your lack of socialization is having consequences on how you see the world.  Please get out of the house, talk with people, and try to understand them.  When you spend too much time alone you retreat into yourself and start to see conspiracy everywhere.  I've seen it happen to friends and it appears to be happening to you.  A good test is to read what you've read out loud and ask yourself if it sounds reasonable, or if you would feel comfortable telling it to a friend. 

Sep 4, 18 5:38 pm
JawkneeMusic

materials haven't changed much over 100 years.  architecture school could be lumped into 1 year of projects/labs.  Yes, communism and capitalism are just ethical doctrines, the philosophy of science is the other half.

but it isn't necessarily over.  I have read thru finite element analysis and every topic of architecture.  wait till you get a commission and buy the engineering equipment yourself, it's what i'm doing.

I also became an electrician and welder during my time at school.  welding is good because I can design for new codes.  I have a book on welding metallurgy.

Sep 4, 18 6:17 pm
JawkneeMusic

just read your original fully you antirational totalitarian nihilist

Sep 4, 18 6:38 pm

If the "real world" were anything close to what my academic experience was like, I too would be quite fed up. I'm glad stuck through it to realize it's not. I hated grad school yet love my career. 

Sep 4, 18 7:44 pm
sameolddoctor

What the fuck is this kid on (I need to score some of that shit too)

Sep 4, 18 7:51 pm
Volunteer

Many other students feel the way you do about modern architecture and the cult it has become. The University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami teach traditional classical architecture, check them out.

Sep 5, 18 6:02 am
curtkram

so i take it you just don't like revit?

Sep 5, 18 2:24 pm
senjohnblutarsky

On the bright side, the OP will save a few hundo on over-priced chipboard from the local art supply store.  

So, he's/she's got that going for him/her, which is nice. 

Sep 5, 18 2:47 pm
b3tadine[sutures]

Hey douche. Fuck on out of the profession. Four years and dropped out? You're a phony. You done out yourself at "globalist", cucklessfunt.

Ain't no thing not si a nazi.

Sep 5, 18 9:04 pm
eco_gen

Lots of people become disenchanted with their major in undergrad. At the end of the day, it is no different than a job you took that you soon realized you hated. Sometimes you just have to stick it out for a few more month's or a year to get it on your resume and then move on. My advice is: go back and finish the degree. Perhaps while doing so, do some soul searching and find a masters degree that might interest you. There are SO many people that work for companies that have a degree that is 100% different than what they do today. You can become one of them and there is nothing wrong with doing that. At the end of the day, architecture school teaches you how to think, so you will not walk away empty handed and if it only helps you to one day think about how to best design your own ideal of your perfect house in the future, then so be it.

I am glad you have begun to question how things are currently. That means you are developing your critical thinking skills and are likely on to the path of being an innovator in whatever you choose to do in the future vesus a sheep like so many others. You entered college with a bunch of friends, utilize them to keep you sane in the last 12 months of school and then move on. Another idea is to find a sport you love to keep you occupied, volunteer or get a job with a cool company that can distract you during the last part of your program.

Best of luck!

Oct 18, 18 10:33 pm
Joe Soda

nm

Oct 19, 18 10:17 am
archinine
Everyone should quit architecture school. Boycott!
Oct 19, 18 5:13 pm
BulgarBlogger

I feel bad for you, OP. Done being a victim now?

Oct 23, 18 9:26 pm
RickB-Astoria

walkr, who do you think commissions you for services? The low income? The "middle-class"? The "upper class"?

1) Low income never can afford your services let alone get the money or loans to build it. They don't meet the minimum income requirements and most likely never hope to get the insurance if they wanted to. They live in apartments and they usually don't own houses unless they inherit it or somehow buy it at a steal.

2) The middle income don't generally pay to have homes made for them. They buy them after they are built and usually as the 2nd or later owner or after the prices drops on the home.

3) Most homes and many (not necessarily most because I don't have supporting references for all the other building types) commercial buildings are developer+investor lead speculative developments. Most of the tract homes financing wasn't funded by the G.I. Bill. They were funded by investors knowing there was a government funded market of home buyers in the 1950s and 60s and largely dissipated by the mid-1970s. Most homes are still investment financed following human migration patterns. When some places gets too expensive, people move to places with lower cost of living.... like the south states. In turn, they finance development to meet a market need and capitalize on that. 

Most end-users of homes don't pay for architectural services or even that of other design professionals. They buy the product (the house). We are commissioned to design a product... basically. The commercial projects are a little different. Government, healthcare, and some other project types are a different kind of beast financed on their own distinct project financing scheme. 

The people who commissions for custom design services are usually upper class because they can afford the services, can get the loans and call. Additionally, they are more likely to be capitalist leaning because communism/marxism is capitalism for the benefit of the poor and equalize distribution of wealth (so they say). Communism never truly existed in the world especially in large countries. Traditional Capitalism is capitalism for the enterprise owners not the working man. Communism was capitalism disguised to benefit the "working man" while in reality it only benefited those who controlled the wealth distribution. Traditional Capitalism as we typically understand it is just the same thing without the veil of bullshit but just outright bullshit right in your face. We know wealth is power in a monetary driven system and those who controls the money controls the power and in turn uncontrolled privilege to control power corrupts the controller and the controller oppresses to gain more power (wealth) and more control to keep from being overthrown. 

Congratulations, welcome to the real world and realizing the world isn't a fucking fairy tale. It is full of corruption and abusers. It is great you learned something about the world. It is full of assholes that hand feeds you bullshit while they are ramming their multi-colored wrapped shaft up your ass while you scarve with glee that you are eating up all that bullshit they are feeding you with. Congratulations, walkr.

Oct 23, 18 11:01 pm
RickB-Astoria

Too bad you didn't figured that out before you graduated from high school.

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