My graduation ceremony was this weekend and the occasion was a perfect prompt for an article. The first ideas for the article bordered on cliches such as “Things I wish I knew before graduation” or “Top 5 things that Freshers must know”. The one thing I learnt from my graduation is that there are some things that we architects can learn only by working, no matter the prep in college. So here’s a list of things I picked up only because I wasn’t a student anymore.
We think that all architects do is design : Studio culture has never prepared us for the other half of the job spectrum. Our design studios are so focused on the design process that we often don’t realise that there is so much more to an architect’s responsibility than just designing the space.
Design is a process : It’s not about “solving a program” but being conscious that there’s an evolution to reach the end product. With every suggestion from a client, every issue at site, I have learnt that there is no end product until the user has moved in. Until then, it is always a work in progress.
It is a deeply self motivated profession – yes, we have deadlines and are answerable to many. But the quality of our work purely depends on the effort we dedicate to it. In college, a design project lasts a maximum of 4 months and we move on to the next new design. Real life takes much longer – the results aren’t instant and the gratification isn’t as quick. It takes patience to see a design come to life.
There are some things that can be learnt only through practice. No matter what – some things cannot be taught academically. Some subjects are only meant to make us aware of their place in practice.
Learning doesnt end in college. Working exposes a new side to the field – You have to work your way up. There is no graduation in work. Only a constant learning through our mistakes.
Whether seated at a lecture or a work desk, it ultimately boils down to what we make from the experiential learning our field has to offer.