Architecture and Design, K.Arch

Things you should know before you go to architecture school:

When you first start at architecture school, you will expect to learn the following:
 

basics of structure and materials
basics of building sequence
how to make a contract with a client
how to work with engineers and the building trades
wtf a rain screen is
how to draw things accurately for each stage of design development (schematic design, detail design, working drawings, tender package)
some cool-ass modelling programs


When you have finished your first year, you are still waiting on this list to get started.

When you have finished your bachelor, you will wonder if architects actually do anything on the list.

During your masters, you will give up on the list totally and have a mid-post-secondary education crisis about your choice of degree. If architects don't do any of those things, WTF do they do? Gluing cardboard together cannot possibly comprise 90% of your time.... can it? Is it possible that you've gotten through 5 years of school without learning how to use autoCAD? Do yucky trace-paper sketches really impress people as much as they impress your tutors? Does anyone know what a "sketch model" is outside of your discipline?

As with most 'professional' degrees, what you tend to learn--if you have not given up by the end of Bachelor--will tend to be 'soft skills' (really, really, really soft in the case of architecture). Things like 'design taste,' 'representation,' design process + method, and an extra helping of architecture ego.

You will learn that architects and those that teach them have zero skills in organization and that they truly enjoy torturing themselves with impossible deadlines requiring at least 2 weeks of all-nighters per term. You will learn how to bullshit and post-rationalize everything. EVERYTHING.

And those calculus/linear algebra courses that were 'required' to apply for architecture school in the first place? LOL! You haven't even looked at a number outside of your scale ruler for 4 years. The same goes for cracking a book. Oh, you might have been required to read some pages of Michel Foucault nonsense, and you definitely consult the design magazines for 'inspiration'. But books on theory.... or actual topics of relevance to your profession... LOL!

My word of advice to anyone thinking of becoming an architect is this: If you want to build houses, take a carpentry apprenticeship. If you want to build bridges or towers, take a civil engineering degree. If you want to paint atmospheric paintings of how something makes you feel, take a fine arts degree. If you want to build chairs and lamps, take an industrial design degree.

But: if you want to spend a buttcrap-tonne of money on doing none of those things while enduring verbal and mental abuse for 6 years so you can join the hoards of other unskilled 'design' students out there with 75% unemployment in your field with a lifetime committment to never making any money.... then feel free to take an architecture degree!

You might want to throw a French or Spanish course in there somewhere too, then you can be unskilled and unemployable in two languages.

:)