What I learnt from interviewing 15 architects, interior architects and graduates.
I interviewed 15 architects and interior architects. Some were in their last years of architecture school, others had 30+ years of experience. I learnt a lot.
I interviewed a lot of smart people who had incredible experiences and accomplishments, regrets, and advice. Here is what I learnt from interviewing 15 architects for the documentary “Behind Closed Doors – The Life of an Architect”.
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What I learnt from 15 architects
You do not always work on the things you want. But you have to own them. Show up to those things and do them the best you can. It is not until you can prove that the menial tasks your given are done well that you are given something with my responsibility.
Your education will not give you the skills you need for practice. And that is fine. What it will give you are the skills necessary to progress constantly in your career. It teaches you methods of problem solving and learning that will allow you to mould yourself and adapt to whatever path you choose to go down next. Gabrielle says architects are “jack of all trades, master of none.” That is right, you cannot be a master at everything. And you are going to have to deal with many different aspects. The ability to quickly pick up new skills, to solve problems when a new project gets put in front of you, how do you move forward? To be able to think problems through independently and think for yourself, that is what architecture school prepares you for.
Kyrstyan says you need to be passionate. Unfortunately, that does not come straight away. It is developed over time through exploring new things. We often go through ups and downs of motivation, as Marianno says, “you have your good days and bad days. But on the whole…” – by trying new things you’ll find something that lights you up.
Make the most out of your peers and teachers. This shifted my perspective quite a lot. I am very much about efficiency and getting shit done, and often skip classes if I feel there’s nothing to gain from it, but this semester I’ve noticed that just by sitting down and listening to your peers, talking with others, you learn so much and gain so much from doing so. It is not wasted time investing in relationships with people. That is what I’ve come to learn.
Nelize says she wanted to quit in her 2nd year of uni. I get messages like this daily – “I want to quit, it’s not for me.” We struggle in uncomfortable situations. If we do not have clear instructions, or we are not sure how to do something- it can cause doubt and depression. She says, she now knows how to use the software, she now flourishes in her work at Northern Edge Studio – she rocks up to work excited because she initially put herself in the uncomfortable situation of trying something new. Constantly push yourself outside your comfort zone, don’t rely on others to push you and experiment – have fun. Do not take it so seriously. Revise things often. Come back to old ideas and keep going.
Your education is what you make of it. You only get out as much as you put in. Take ownership of what you do. Own it. If you do not do so well at a project, we like to shift that blame on others. I still do this to this day, “the teachers were clueless, I got too distracted by my friends, I couldn’t work from home…” take the blame and move forward. It is the best piece of advice.
What was prevalent across the more experienced architects, they wish they had a wider range of experience in earlier years. Taking opportunities to go on study trips, constructions tours, networking events, working at different practices, trying their own thing. Do what you are really passionate about and not care about the salary.
Watch the full-length architecture documentary here: https://youtu.be/WPAXl02M9cg
Watch the 15 interviews here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8evaQZnDGAfAVFCXwm513_0eqymoQzTn
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