Architectural Studio: Expectations vs. Reality

I dreamt that architectural studio would be quite terrifying. The professors would have trendy Michael Kors glasses that rested on the tip of their noses, which poked out promptly over their clipboards, covering their disapproving frowns. Grades would be based on how much they hated your character and spirit. Keeping up with classmates would be nearly impossible. How did she build that whole thing in one night? How did everyone do this in one night? Why didn’t I do this in one night? Am I going to fail out? Will I be majorless and friendless?

Needless to say, I am still writing about it, so I am still in architecture, doing swell, keeping up, and no, none of those things are true.


On the contrary, things are actually going quite swell. I expected us to be focusing on drawing straight lines without rulers, and writing in architectural font, but so far, things have been very design-oriented with a strong focus on quick drafting and planning.

Nobody every sat us down and taught us what straight lines look like, nor does anyone seem to care unless we’re making formal drawings. Unfortunately, nobody taught us how to do more fundamental things, like how to use that strange T-square built into our desks, or how to use Exacto knives properly, or that Elmer’s glue is the only craft glue that isn’t a huge lie. We were mostly on our own as far as basic techniques went. On a positive note, that allowed me to figure out what works best for me, but that also means that I had to go through just about every way that didn’t work for me along the way… But that’s over now, and life is going well once again.

Something that struck me as strange was that we were NOT going to be focusing on little nitty-gritty details.

Really? Architectural Studio? Not caring about details? Whaaat?


One of the first things my professor told me was to be more lax on the little things. Before you make your final project, you only need a brief idea of your plan. Crazy. It’s still blowing my mind.

Also, sloppy drafting! My professor told me my drawings and some of my early models looked “too nice.” I’m still working on not being afraid of being messy during drafting. Efficiency is key!

There really isn’t any hand-holding in studio. Nobody walks you through “how to ____” or gives you systematic ways to create something. It’s a lot of trial and error. Generally, we begin by assembling at the front, and the professor scribbles down some loose sketches of something very conceptual. We trace the same figures in our notebooks, and take a few notes. After that, we’re given a project in vague terms, and we have to read up about it, do our own research and inspiration-hunting, then dive straight into drafting. (That’s usually the part where I get really giddy and giggle about getting more work)

What can I say? It’s AWESOME. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In fact, I would trade my world for more of it… Hence my whole transfer-app thing.


Architectural studio is the highlight of my week. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I get a new task, or find an inspirational design, or sketch something I enjoy, or the feeling of accomplishment I get from finishing something I enjoy.

And also, my professor is an amazing teacher, planner, and critique. Nobody trashes your work to purposely put you down. Of course work-trashing is a custom in every field of design, but usually only happens when your work is not your best, or you didn’t do the assignment right. It’s logical.

I’m not sure if his glasses are Michael Kors, but aside from that, all my perceptions were WAY off, and were mostly likely skewed by from watching “Legally Blonde.”


Life is good.






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