Personally, what led me to architecture was the mere thought that it was mainly a combination of mathematics, physics and art. I love mathematics, weird right? I love anything that deals with calculations and experiments. What’s funny is that I was interested in being a medical doctor, but I hated studying. I hated being in front of books for long hours, I would definitely doze off. So, I had to decide and by doing some research I came across architecture. It had the 3 things I loved; mathematics, physics and art (or so I thought).
Architecture is a course that is both a science and an art. Along the four-year journey, courses like history, sociology, psychology, law, geography, engineering, mathematics, and physics are what you would likely encounter. There might be other courses from other related fields such as quantity survey, estate management, urban and regional planning, environmental management, and project management. I know what you’re thinking right now. How are these courses related to architecture? How does one cope with learning all these in just four years? What about design? Well ladies and gentlemen, design is a single course on its own. When you think studying architecture is just about design, trust me you are wrong.
In the first year, you mainly deal with general courses like mathematics and physics which every science student usually takes. There are some basic architecture courses like fundamentals of design, graphic communication, introduction to architecture, sociology for architects, etc.
The second year digs a bit more into the field. Architectural design starts from the second year. Building construction, building material science, history of architecture, building physics (building structures), model making, psychology for architects, environmental management, urban and regional planning are mainly dealt with in this year.
The third year is a bit more practical. As one of my lecturers always likes to say, “Architects are made in level 3”. Design is on a larger and more complex scale. Courses are a bit more realistic and practical. Construction, building structures, building climatology, urban design, building services such as acoustics, ventilation, electrical and mechanical services, fire safety and others, are what to expect.
The fourth year is mainly preparing you for life after graduation, life in the field of practice. Building economics, contract and arbitration, and professional practice are the focus of your final year. Your final year project including a written essay and a design project will mainly be what you are focused on.
I know it might seem a bit overwhelming, and don’t even get me started on the long hours of manual drafting in the studio, model making, the enormous workload, assignments, and presentations. One thing you get to take away from all this apart from achieving your dreams of becoming an architect, is that you get to be part of a family. Your classmates become more than your friends, they become your family. A family made in the studio.
Architecture isn’t only about the career, it changes and shapes your way of thinking, your imagination. It makes you see things better, makes you more observant of your surroundings. It also boosts your initiative and sense of creativity. So, let it flow through you, for it is a lifestyle.