Category Archives: Formation

When A Toilet Costs More Than A HOUSE.

A common oversight by young architecture students is to pay little attention to the finer strokes of a design’s intent.

The little nuances are definitely important, and add flourish and aptness to the spaces you create. As architects, you’re going to be exposed to a wide spectrum of clients, from various demographics, earning capacities, and levels of luxury.

You’re going to have to find design solutions to cater to their tastes, wants, and budget – from the pragmatic to the super rich. And sometimes, the difference is in something simple – like picking a toilet.

A knowledge of technology is one way that facilitates an apt connection between user and designer – in order to support a lifestyle.

To demonstrate this, we’re going to do a comparison on seemingly one of the most mundane fixtures that architects specify – the humble water closet.

A toilet is a toilet, yes?

Not so fast. Continue reading When A Toilet Costs More Than A HOUSE.

The 5 People You Meet in Every Project: Who Are You REALLY Designing For?

"Our thinking is a pious reception". ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we’re going to open up your brain and look inside for a bit – in order to realize some very important stuff.

Don’t fret, and don’t run away. This is an exercise in meta-thinking. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, meta-thinking is a great tool for gaining meaningful insight about your own design process.

After all, once you understand how your thinking process ticks, you’ll be able to determine your cogs in the system, weed them out, and become a better designer in the process.

This post covers something extremely critical: your motivations. 

When you handle your studio projects, who are you really designing for?

In going about your design process, whose face are you picturing with each line? Who is the end goal that your architecture must satisfy? With each little move, each element, each nuance, whose nod of approval are you primarily valuing?

You’ll be surprised at the many possible answers, their implications, and what they say about your own aspirations.

So then – as you look purposely at your finished architectural program, sketch on a napkin, get your hands goey with your sketch model, or manipulate shells and fabrics on Sketchup or Rhino, who is primarily on your mind?
Continue reading The 5 People You Meet in Every Project: Who Are You REALLY Designing For?

Pointers for Designing an AWESOME Room – Part 1 (20 Tips)

What’s in a “room”? A supposedly basic and elementary term for defining a space, you’d think. As architecture students, you’ll be designing a lot of rooms for your projects. Sounds simple enough – group together some blobs and squares to fit the form you want.

But as you’ll find out, doing so isn’t as trivial as most people think.

A good designer knows that a whole lot of careful thought should be put into each space, considering factors that relate to human psyche, anthropometrics, technology, energy-efficiency, cost-efficiency, comfort, beauty, engineering, and a whole lot of other synthesize-able things.

Don’t believe me? Well then, allow me to give you a few examples of things you might consider when designing individual spaces.

This first post will contain some 20 considerations, and succeeding posts will continue this chain – in hopes of providing you with a more holistic checklist while planning out your spaces. Continue reading Pointers for Designing an AWESOME Room – Part 1 (20 Tips)

The BIG 4: Aspects of Architectural Education You Just HAVE to Focus On.

Today is a short lesson in efficiency – getting the most bang for your buck with regards to your time invested.

Time and effort is precious in architecture school – so knowing where to focus your energy will be valuable in establishing a solid foundation.

And out of all the different skills and courses you’ll be dipping your toes into, there are 4 that I feel you should pay special attention to.

Naturally this meanders into the subjective realm, but these four are the intersection in a cosmic Venn Diagram of all my learning from my mentors’ – which is essentially centuries worth of experience. In other words, by age old wisdom, these are the four aspects that are largely responsible for driving your trajectory forward – both school-wise and career-wise.  Continue reading The BIG 4: Aspects of Architectural Education You Just HAVE to Focus On.

36 Things You MUST Consider When Designing Your Project

(Disclaimer: Many of the examples of this post are as per Philippine Context)

For the most part, defining “good design” is pretty much subjective. Each architect will have his own guiding philosophy on what constitutes an effective proposal- so at least on the conceptual level, debating on merits of styles will be never-ending. However, unless you live in a culturati first world society that likes to live dangerously, you have to be sure that your design is safe and liveable. In order to do this, there are a number of key checks I’ve found to be essential when planning out your design. It’s best to consider these early on, lest you realize you’ve made a critical oversight or code breach too close to your presentation. Or worse – to find out during your deliberations itself while your jury grills you on your fatal flaws. Continue reading 36 Things You MUST Consider When Designing Your Project

What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 5

This is the 4th part of a multi-part series about “What Can You 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 Construction
PART 3: Structural Analysis & Conceptualization 
PART 4: Lighting and Acoustics Design

Architects have X-ray vision. Bzzt bzzt.

We can’t see through peoples’ clothes (sorry) – though we can see into their minds; Instead of apparel, architects can mentally dissect the inner workings of a building.

In your quest to achieve your degree in Archi-torture, you will undoubtedly have to dip your toes into the realms of engineering courses – and survive. You’ll be taking up subjects to understand all the different systems that run through buildings, how to optimize them in your design, and what options you can suggest should they all conflict.

One thing to keep in mind: Just because you’ve taken up a few utilities courses doesn’t mean you can do the work of an engineer, because as I’ve already explained before, Architects and Engineers are wired differently.

What these courses will do is give you a good background and grasp of the trades, so you can take the lead during design coordination and site meetings. Architects, as the maestro of the orchestra, constantly have to reconcile everyone’s considerations into the architecture, so you naturally have to know first what those considerations are.  Continue reading What Can You Expect to Learn in Architecture School? – PART 5

On Death, Cancer, and Living for Others: Never Take Anyone for Granted

A solemn November 1 to all. 

What are you living for? Who are you living for?

Today on Archi Student Help, I’m going to tackle a very personal story of mine, one that is both heartfelt and inspiring, and one that I hope you can take the time to read. It’s about the death of a loved one.

But why death? How does this even fit into the context of surviving architecture school?

Remember, in whatever we do, our motivations are at the core of who we are. So I hope you’ll consider this:

There are people who have sacrificed their lives for you to be who you are today – and you should live your life to give theirs glory.

Today I’d like to share a perspective on why you should be even more driven to be the very best that you can be, in everything that you do. 
Continue reading On Death, Cancer, and Living for Others: Never Take Anyone for Granted