This article aims to solidify the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive when semester start. My experience as an International student in Architectural Association (AA) and now my own students show me again and again that the questions and confusions of architecture school are near universal:

    Architect model and  Model
    Architect with Model(left) and Model(right)
    Image from http://www.bls.gov/

    1. Softwares all installed and Models are ready
    That includes image editing, image library, 3d modelling, 3d library, rendering, rendering library, and not running on an expiring Operating System. Though this may seems trivial, a good selections of software and library may lay way for swift completion rather than tireless night finding the right images and software. This includes modelling tools like scissor, clay, cardboard, foam, plastic, sheet metal and etc. Though some may ended up searching for trial software in the light of expiring licensing, this IMPROMPTU exercise may led to last minute panics.

    2. Repay all sleep debts
    Though not having enough sleep is a mundane experience, your goal is not to put your audience to sleep during presentation. During your semester break, save up as much sleep hours as possible to recuperate your mind. Eat and exercise well to strengthen the body is an additional bonus for architectural students whom so often find little time to explore outside the classroom.

    architecture sleeping student
    Out of Exhaustion

    3. No More Looking for Accommodation
    Having the comfort of accommodation will save you one less task at hand whilst having to work on a number of impending dateline. Having to shift around and hopefully not getting into the hassle of negotiating with a troublesome housemate and landlord, will land you less excuses to confront your tutor/ lecturer due to late submission. This is a typical scenario of a problem causing another problem. So it’s better make safe that problem!

    4. Stay Healthy
    Do not get sick during submission/ exam/ presentation time. This is crucial for those who are having the last chance to retake the semester/exam. Get yourself healthy. Go back to point 2.
    Alternatively, get your friends/juniors to help you. Your friendship in architecture schools can help you a long way when unexpected things were to come. This has proven pivotal when you are hungry, missing an eraser and forgetting to print your last presentation board. Friends can also lend you a hand as an assistant. Teamwork is crucial in architecture.

    5. Plan ahead all religious duty or other trips
    Look into the possibility of having to sit and resit for exams during the semester. The published exam timetable are made to your planning. It is utmost unlikely for the university to change the timetable or create another paper due to your failed participation. Worst case, inform the school of your anticipated failed participation and discuss for any possibility.

    6. Researching into Senior’s Work
    Though it’s like counting how many steps left to win a board game, looking into what the seniors did for their years can help you to prepare your tools and mind set for the new semester. If you have done enough research, get to know the teaching tutors as well, their work, experience and what they can maximise your learning capability can put you in a more prepared designer. You may also study ahead as sometime the syllabus are retained.

    internship student
    Intern as Coffeeboy
    Image from http://www.mhpbooks.com

    7. Look into the possibility to gain extra knowledge and skills during the semester break
    Students often come back from semester break equipped with better drawing skills and new perspective in design process. The skills learnt outside the school allow the students to stand out among their peers who are still having the skills learnt from last semester. Such examples are working intern in any designer, Architectural trip, NGO, community service or architectural firms, or even sitting at home learning from online tutorials can help boost your skills when you usually have no time to do such during the semester.


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