Tag Archives: Architectural Design

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

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?

The Start of Something New: A Short Story

Adam was a tortured freshman in Archi-torture school.

The first semester of his 5-year long bachelor’s degree had just concluded, and as he slumped down in a dazed stupor on his dorm’s dusty couch, he couldn’t quite imagine himself surviving the next few terms.

It’s not as if he hadn’t expected that it would be difficult- it’s just that no one is really truly prepared for the new kind of work and endless projects that come in design school. He thought it would be hard – he didn’t know it would be hell.

“But don’t you guys just draw?”, his high school classmates would ask him when he showed up zombified during their first reunion. He wanted to flip the table – they didn’t understand. Heck, no one outside the circle of the design profession seemed to understand.

“Come on Adam, it’s just a night of drinks. Won’t it like, take you an hour to finish your drawing?”
“You’re just going to make a building pretty. Sounds easy enough”.
“Ooh, architecture. Is that…. like engineering?”
“How hard can it be?”
Continue reading The Start of Something New: A Short Story

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.