Category Archives: Formation

“Is It Too Late to Start Pursuing Architecture Again?” (Q&A #7)

Got an email last night from Erika, a young, driven former schoolmate who had to put her architecture dreams on hold due to migration to a different country. Now she has a number of questions that I’d gladly shed some light on.  Let’s check out what she had to say.  

Hey Aldo! :)

I came across your website just recently. It's really refreshing to know that a Filipino site like this exists!

As a fresh graduate and someone already exposed to the working environment in the corporate world of Architecture, I thought you might be able to give me a lot of perspective on things. If you have the time to go through this, it would help me significantly! I'm sorry this popped in so randomly. Any kind of insight would be great.

This might be long and a little confusing; I apologize in advance, huhu.

Hey there Erika! 🙂 So nice to know that you appreciate the site. It’s really been my goal to put some Philippine context in the myriad of architectural learning sites for students. I’d be glad to help; go on and tell me your story.   Continue reading “Is It Too Late to Start Pursuing Architecture Again?” (Q&A #7)

6 Simple Truths Incoming Architecture Freshmen Can Expect.

 1. You don’t NEED to be excellent at drawing.

Contrary to popular belief, rendering like a true artist is a non-essential part of being an architect.

Sure, it’s an impressive skill to have, but for the most part, being able to draw clearly is of higher worth. Sketching is very important for the thought and communication processes of architectural work – but the clarity of your drawings holds more weight than their flashiness.

Related Post: Why Is It Important For Architects to Sketch?

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2. You’ll be using computers to refine your work.

Sketching is great for fleshing out broad ideas and moves. But during the tail-ends of each design project, it’s more time-efficient to refine your work and do the final drawings with computer software. And so you might be dipping your toes into a myriad of programs that your local scene gravitate towards.

The best bang for your buck would be to learn a 2D Drafting Software (like AutoCAD), a 3D modelling software (like Sketchup and 3Ds Max), and a BIM Software (like ArchiCAD or Revit).

You might also like: The BIG 4: Aspects of Architectural Education You Just HAVE to Focus On. Continue reading 6 Simple Truths Incoming Architecture Freshmen Can Expect.

On Smaller Firms: Low Pay, But High Value? (Q&A#5)

Got an email last night from Millie, in response to The Internship Guide 1: What Are the 2 Major Kinds of Design Firms?. She has been in the design workforce for well more than the year, and gave some insights I thought would be great to share with everyone. Take the floor, Millie!  

Hello Aldo! :D

I think that as a business model, the Design Studio is only as good as its team. A small team can only be as well-oiled as the assembly line if everyone is hardworking, willing to step up, and takes responsibility. Apprentices should be fast learners and mentors should be generous with time. 

Unfortunately, most small studios don't compensate as well as big companies. Small, young companies are still growing, and all extra money gets invested towards the firm (new software, comfier chairs, etc). The salaries and benefits may be the same, but the perks are limited. Office parties and bonuses are rare, and you are expected to work a lot (even during typhoons, huhuhu). 

Although working in a small design studio is rewarding, I understand it is not for everyone. Cheers! :)

Continue reading On Smaller Firms: Low Pay, But High Value? (Q&A#5)

The Internship Guide 1: What Are the 2 Major Kinds of Design Firms?

Architecture is learned best through practice.

And when I say practice, I mean hands-on, integrative, and synthesizing work. The kind that makes you take everything you know and piece them together in a meaningful puzzle.

It’s for this reason that reading books day-in and day-out without any application probably won’t give you the best retention and bang-for-your-buck.

The solution? Practice. And make sure you’re in the best environment possible while doing it. The kind that makes you feel the weight of your actions, gives each line purpose, and provides you with mentors that hold you accountable for your output – like an architectural office.

I’m a firm believer that every architecture student should experience working for a firm or sole practice at least once before they graduate.

I spent two summers of my undergrad life as an apprentice, intern (and eventual employee), and they were invaluable learning experiences. The kind that expanded my view of the truths of the practice, and made my succeeding works a whole lot more guided.

But of course, there are lots of things to consider and be aware of when dipping your toes into the workplace. It isn’t all fun and games, and there some very important decisions and attitudes you need to be cognizant of.

This series of posts entitled “The Internship Guide” number things you should be very receptive to, so you can get the most of each and every day.

To start off, let’s talk about the two most common organizational set ups of a typical architectural design office, starting the discourse on which one could be better for you based on your own needs. Continue reading The Internship Guide 1: What Are the 2 Major Kinds of Design Firms?

The 6 Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Finalists Have Been Announced!

Last October, I giddily posted about the Designing Guggenheim Helsinki competition, practically jumping up and down on my keyboard.

Check this out first if you aren’t yet aware: Check Out the 1,715 Entries! The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition has Rocked the World. 

My fervor was justified. After all, the recent architectural slugfest was officially the largest architectural design competition of all-time, grossing 1,715 approved entries. And from this ocean of proposals, the jury and organization were then faced with the daunting task of picking 6 finalists.

And they’ve done it. By Jove, they’ve done it. Continue reading The 6 Guggenheim Helsinki Competition Finalists Have Been Announced!

Don’t Be Discouraged: Why Having A Flawed First Design Project is NORMAL. (Q&A #4)

Q: "How do you feel about the early designs you did as a freshman or sophomore in architecture school? How did they look like?"

It’s a question I’ve been getting often as of late, so I thought I’d semi-formally answer it on the blog.

I chuckle a little bit whenever I’m asked this, because it involves me looking at my own motivations and process at the time, and comparing them to what I know now. 

And there is a really big disparity between the two.

Quite simply, I can say now that my approaches back then were flawed, unrestrained, form-centric more than they were occupant-centric, and paradoxically incohesive. They were messy and didn’t consider a lot of things properly.

But that’s fine. Because that’s how a lot of our early works really do end up.

It’s a rite of passage of sorts, especially for this generation of contemporary designers that are giddy to produce iconic forms. (This ain’t all bad. At least it means you aren’t settling for boring architecture.)

It’s normal, and in some ways, needed in order for you to discover how to develop as a budding architect.

Besides, if I were designing the same way today as I was when I was a freshman, then it either means I didn’t need architecture school (yeah, sure), or I didn’t grow at all.

Today I’m going to discuss a few of my earlier design projects, how I worked on them at the time, and what I amusingly saw when I looked back at them. The three are my first two houses, and an archaeological studies center for within the university.  Continue reading Don’t Be Discouraged: Why Having A Flawed First Design Project is NORMAL. (Q&A #4)

22 Simple Guidelines for the Successful Architecture Student

"Victory is the child of preparation and determination". ~ Sean Hampton

Today, I thought I’d give a bit of a token piece for the new readers, for them to get an easy overview of all the topics Archi Student Help has covered in its first 50 pages or so. 

From me to you, here’s a 22 point summary of the blog’s take-home points for young designers thus far, geared at helping you become your best self yet. If you find them helpful, please – feel free to share them with your friends. 

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1. Discover early on what it really means to design. And in-grain it into your thinking.

2. Understand that the best take-home from every project isn’t a pretty rendering, but a more-informed design process.

3. Prioritize your health. Consider that life is a marathon and not a sprint.

4. Invest in your brain power. Integrate life-hacks into a comprehensive program to keep you revved like a well-tuned car.

5. Become process-oriented. It will make you happier, more consistent, and will give you solid self-worth. Continue reading 22 Simple Guidelines for the Successful Architecture Student