All posts by Aldo

The Biggest Secret to Success: Take Care of Your Health

Today’s post is going to be the cornerstone of all succeeding entries on how to stay healthy in architecture school and beyond. Think of it as my guiding belief on how to achieve success – “Life is a marathon, not a sprint – so it’s extremely important to take care of your health”. 

Are you setting yourself up for long-term failure by trying to achieve everything today?

I’ve been there, friends. For some time, I was a chronic workaholic myself – and then I smartened up. 

For us young people who are still full of the vigor of life, we sometimes feel indestructible. This is especially true for many a gifted achiever who constantly seeks their next youthful success.

We take pride in our perceived resilience – so we brag about our week long all-nighters in getting a project done, inject ourselves into the roster of a number of councils and movements, and feel shaky and useless when our hands aren’t tied by new projects.

So what of exercise and sleep? Enter the commonly used maxim “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

There’s nothing wrong with being driven and wanting to pursue a meaningful youth, but once your health starts to suffer on a habitual basis, you’ve reached a point where you might be actually compromising your long-term well-beingContinue reading The Biggest Secret to Success: Take Care of Your Health

Check Out the 1,715 Entries! The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition has Rocked the World.

Update December 3, 2014 – The 6 Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Finalists Have Been Announced!

Image courtesy of https://designguggenheimhelsinki.org/
Image courtesy of https://designguggenheimhelsinki.org/

There are many architectural design competitions that sprout up across the globe on a regular basis. But among them, there are only a few that truly rock the world. The Designing Guggenheim Helsinki competition is one of them. You have to check it out.

Guggenheim Museum” is a phrase that resonates prestige in most architects, art afficionados, and regular folk alike – not only because of the art pieces they house, but also because of the architecture itself. 

The first Guggenheim Museum in New York was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of history’s most prolific architects. It remains as one of the city’s most iconic edifices.  Continue reading Check Out the 1,715 Entries! The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition has Rocked the World.

Why Is It Important for Architects to Sketch?

It might be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway – Drawing is one of the most important skills of the architect. Today we’ll talk about why.

In a previous post, I answered a Twitter question about whether or not you need to be good at drawing to survive in architecture school. I said that while you don’t need to be excellent to survive, practicing your sketching skills is still an great idea that will bring you a lot of utility in the long run.

Discussed below are some things you may or may not know about drawing, and a couple of personal tips I’ve found to be very helpful. Continue reading Why Is It Important for Architects to Sketch?

Do I HAVE to Be Good at Drawing to Survive in Architecture School? (Q&A #1)

“Do you have to be good at drawing to survive in Architecture School?”

This question comes from Shai, one of our followers on Twitter. She is a high school architecture student hopeful, and her concern is one many others have once they consider design school as an educational option. So, do your hands have to be blessed by Olympus, lest you be thrown into Hades and flunk out? I have but one answer:

The truth is, it really depends.

Continue reading Do I HAVE to Be Good at Drawing to Survive in Architecture School? (Q&A #1)

What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 3

This is the 3nd part of a multi-part series about “What You Can Expect to Learn in Architecture School”. If you’ve missed previous parts that be sure to check them out and then come back to this page. Happy learning! 

PART 1: Architectural Communication, History and Criticism, and Architectural Design and Theory.
PART 2: Building Materials and Constuction

Systems Planning 1

Mother of God

If you’re like me, then you’re not really a whiz with mathematics, and long calculations are sometimes public enemy number 1.

But if you love purposefully crunching values and find a thrill in chasing down a target numerical indication, then you’ll be in for a treat in your structural courses. Continue reading What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 3

What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 2

This is the 2nd part of a multi-part series about “What You Can Expect to Learn in Architecture School”. In the first post we discussed Architectural Communication, History and Criticism, and Architectural Design and Theory. If you’ve missed that be sure to check it out and then come back to this page. Happy learning! 

When you get to higher years in architecture school, your courses will start gravitating towards a lot of technical stuff.

Don’t be fooled by your younger years, where you will most probably be focused on presentation, standards, theory, and the creative design process. There is an entire more nosebleed-inducing side of the profession that you can – and will – learn about. This 2nd part is to give you a glimpse at the more technical side of architecture courses. Ready? Prepare your hard hats.

Continue reading What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 2

One Simple Tip to Give Yourself A HUGE Knowledge Boost

Image courtesy of the Pritzker Prize website: http://www.pritzkerprize.com

There is one valuable technique in your design studies that, if taken advantage of, can sky-rocket your early learning.

…. And that is to spend an afternoon reading about Pritzker Prize Winners.

What exactly is that, you ask? I won’t be giving a detailed history of the Pritzker Prize in this post (you can find that on their website, should you be interested), but I will stress what the prize is all about:

“To honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”.

Continue reading One Simple Tip to Give Yourself A HUGE Knowledge Boost

Know The Difference: How Architects and Engineers Are Wired Differently.

dafuq

I have a whole lot of respect for Engineers, because they do the nitty-gritty things I personally don’t have the attitude nor competence to do.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with complex mathematical processes. So it’s no surprise that as I look back at the embedded engineering courses I had to brave to get my architecture degree, I feel like I escaped the depths of hell. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But for the most part, I’m somehow in disbelief that I got through a litany of requirements where I had to:

– Calculate for stress, strain, shear, bending, torsion, overturning moment in a footing, retaining wall, column, beam, or what have you.
– Determining the spacing of stirrups, area of steel bars needed, effective depths, etc. etc.
– Calculating and deriving load schedules and riser diagrams to express our electrical set-up.
– Calculating septic tank sizes, pipe diameters, fixture units, and other plumbing mathematics.
– Okay. I don’t want to remember anymore. 

I DID, however, really enjoy the conceptual parts of my engineering courses.

Concept Diagrams Continue reading Know The Difference: How Architects and Engineers Are Wired Differently.

What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 1

We all know design school is a needed stepping stone to be the successful architect of our dreams. But have you ever stopped to wonder how and why your school teaches architecture the way it does?

Each Architectural School has its own take on how its curriculum progresses, allowing the structure to unravel architecture for you in an intended path. Some are similar, while others are seemingly antithetical. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, after all. It’s good to note that the way your school focuses its teachings and structures its courses tells you a lot about what values it wants to impart on its graduates.

Are some approaches “better” than others? That’s an interesting discussion that we could definitely delve into in the future. (I’ll just state my advanced take on this: There’s no such thing as the best approach to learning architecture, period. There’s only the best approach for YOU) But regardless of approach, there are some generalities that are common to most, if not all schools. Continue reading What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 1

What Does “Designing” Mean Anyway?

When I was a freshman in architecture school, I honestly still didn’t know what the heck it meant to “design”.

Sure, we are already in the thick of many design projects for our different classes – design a hat made out of this, a workspace for this person, a house for this client. But going into all those endeavors half-blind to what I was really doing was limiting and counter-productive.

To me, the conception of what designing specifically meant was a vague animal. The first thing that popped into my head when I heard design this, or design that was, “Okay, how to make this thing pretty?”. 

You might also like:  26 Things About Design Process That You Should Know

I remember when a high school friend asked me in a small reunion “What does designing mean, exactly?”, and I was put in an awkward situation. I said a whole bunch of somethings as a reply that really meant “I don’t actually know bro or maybe I do but i’m not sure”. I was a designer for goodness sake, but I didn’t know what I was really doing.

Do you have a clear idea of what it means to design?

Continue reading What Does “Designing” Mean Anyway?