Tag Archives: Engineering

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?

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. 


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

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

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


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.