Some Universal Lessons from Architecture Design Studio

When I was an architecture student in university, one thing became glaringly apparent to me - many people had no idea exactly what an architect did exactly. Come to think of it - for most of my early years in college, I wasn't quite sure what an architecture student did either. All I remember are the many all-nighters in studio, desperately trying to tackle a design assignment which seemed at the time as challenging as solving world peace. And I remember trudging home in the early morning, with bloodshot eyes and coffee breath while the rest of university was just coming alive, refreshed from the night's rest.

The bottom line ultimately, was that I loved design, the creation of space, culture, history and the human ability to push the limits of creativity and possibility and so I persevered and graduated with my degree in architecture. However, what would have my life a little easier during those five years, is this book I just came across recently - "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School" by Matthew Frederick, an architect and studio professor. It crossed my mind when I was reading this book that - I don't think I have ever read a book on how to design or important design considerations or guidelines. However, that is what all our design studios attempt to teach us.

While this book is written for architecture students and professionals, I think there are quite a few universal lessons too....

Lesson 30: [paraphrasing Louis Sullivan, he quotes] "A proper building grows naturally, logically, and poetically out of all its conditions."

I think so many architects today forget this lesson and that is why we have the identical looking building popping up in cities around the world. Or we have architects who view their own personal statement more important than context. Hence, Lesson 86: "Manage your ego."

Lesson 48: "If you can't explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms she understands, you don't know your subject well enough."

Lesson 51: "Beauty is due more to the harmonious relationships among elements of a composition than to the elements themselves."

Lesson 81: "Properly gaining control of the design process tends to feel like one is losing control of the design process."

Lesson 97: "Limitations encourage creativity."

Lesson 99: "Just do something."

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