Architecture School and Athletics


I have been a licensed practicing Architect for  20 years and have often wondered about the possibility  of students being able to succeed in Architecture school while also participating in a major sport. 

I was a student athelete in Highschool (captain of Football Team and Wrestler) with a passion for Football, Architecture and design. I didn’t receive a football scholarship so I had to rely on loans, aid and mom/pop to pay tuition. I wanted to play college football and be a an architect but everyone told me how demanding Architecture school was and that I would not be able to do both Architecture and a sport. I was also told that if I injured my hands that I wouldn’t be able to draw and would fail Architecture school.

I attended Penn State in the 80’s when they were national champions and or contenders. Architecture studio class was daily from 1:00 PM till 5:30 PM. Football practice was daily from 3:00PM till 6:00PM, while the games and travel were typically an all day Saturday event.

I succeeded in studio, because I put the necessary time and effort in which included week nights past 5:30 PM and at least one entire weekend day. So, I did not have the time that major college athletics requires. While in Architecture school at PSU in the 80’s no one had time for sports and few had time for fraternities/ sorrorities, although there was one athelete in the Landscape Arch program.

I also attended graduate school at another university and that school discouraged the students from participating in sports too. One kid there wanted to do crew but was told that he could not do both Arch and Crew. 

Do you know of Arch schools where it’s possible to be successful as an athelete and student? I do know that Andrew Luck was able to do so at Stanford a few years ago, however his program was not a 5 year BArch like my program.

Would Architecture programs that encourage other outside activities produce better Architects?

Jan 1, 19 10:54 pm

When I was at Virginia Tech we had one track athlete, and one volleyball player, that I knew of.  There may have been more.  We also had one Hokie Bird Mascot. 

Neither the Track or volleyball player were the shining stars of studio.  I'd have paced one in the low middle range and the other in the low range. 

The mascot did well enough. I don't think that hindered his performance. 

Jan 2, 19 8:04 am

Athletics do not belong in academic programs. 

Jan 2, 19 8:37 am
Non Sequitur

I've never understood the american obsession with athletics above academics.  How many future architects were playing yesterday in the rose bowl?

Jan 2, 19 8:54 am

Archtiecture school and American football are actually quite similar as both result in brain damage.

Jan 2, 19 9:29 am

It is possible, but you need an academic program that has a commitment to work life balance.  The same time constraints and demands of sports would be in play for parents, people involved in the community and people caring for an elder. 

I did ok in studio A student while producing radio and TV shows, being on the board of the local transit district, student government, chair of the arts council and community radio station board member in undergrad and graduate school.  The key thing is managing your time but most importantly is to become efficient at making and sticking to decisions.  Most of my studio mates who struggled with deadlines and time management worked hard but did not stick to their decisions or took a long time to decide what to do similar to writers block.  The parents and athletes in my studio often were fast to decide what path they are taking on an assignment and did not hesitate to dig in and develop their idea.  Sometimes they had so much lead time by virtue of starting right away that they could afford to trash an idea and start over with plenty of time to finish.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Jan 2, 19 1:04 pm

I rowed freshman varsity crew my first year in architecture school. The time and energy demands were just too large to do both, so I gave up the rowing and stuck with academics for the remainder of my time in school. This is a fairly common story for architecture students with athletic interests. You switch away from competitive team sports to personal recreation sports pretty quick when they run up against studio work.

Jan 21, 19 5:50 pm

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