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March 2017
The Value of an Architect, The Beginning

What is so special about an architect?  Let us begin, as they say… at the beginning – architectural school and the architectural student.  The amount of work that an architectural student puts in is as demanding as any curriculum and features sleepless nights, volumes of reading and writing, complex and sometimes strange architectural concepts, jargon and state of the art computer tools. Add in the nerve wracking design presentations and you have an intense educational experience.Check out some of the quotes and memes created by architectural students.

The architectural student frequently charrettes, a long, focused and often collaborative design session exploring the myriad complexities of any given project. This usually means working many hours, sometimes days in a feverish attempt to finish the design process required by the professors and the curriculum.  Caffeine and the endless search for ways to stay awake, while being creative, accurate, and relatable are all part of the process.See 38 things that all architectural students know only too well.

According to an article published by Dezeen.com,“Architecture students work hardest of all US college majors.”  OMNIA Architects know this well.  The first year of school weeds out the least passionate students.  According to partner, Gene Grimaldi, his class at Temple University began with over 300 students.  By graduation time, an intense five years later, there were fewer than 40 students.

A graduate from architectural College or University is a professionally trained student who sees the big picture (known as the “Parti”), who is trained to use the latest technological tools and who is coached in the art of communication and public presentation.  Architectural graduates are educated in art history and the history and styles of some of the world’s most famous architects. The graduate learns to process raw data  learning how to understand, philosophize, imagine and produce a knowledgeable plan from the broadest grasp down to the smallest and often critical details.  Both the education and the work required teach the students that architecture matters!

Recent graduate and current associate, Nick Grimaldi speaks about life during and after architecture school.  “The hardest part about architecture school is that there is never a set right answer and never enough time to fully explore what a right answer is or could be.” Every design is subjective and critical responses during the always looming and often humiliating Jury presentations vary from person to person.

This continues as you leave school and enter into the client market. It is like trying to create a harmonious song with the “right” melodies synched with the “right” words. But what does the “right song” look like? And what kind of music does this client like? Music can be a way to understand architecture but architectural solutions are much more complicated because architects are working with real objects that have a direct physical relationship to the real world. So, while naturally there is a broad range of opinions that need to be learned and understood in an overall collaboration, it must be understood that only the Architect is trained to compose the right solution of form and building system combined to construct a design that is not simply pleasing but that is “perfected” for its particular purpose.

The finish of the architecture student’s schooling is just the start of an endless pursuit involving stress and gratification; hard work and passion. Oh, and you graduate with an immunity to caffeine!

For further feedback from students, check out the website, Life of an Architecture student.

And Hug your favorite architect today!

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