Architecture students: a bright future for building designs?

  • Kevin Fullerton
  • 5 years ago

As the summer draws in, every art and design college is spitting out a fresh set of architecture graduates, each of whom is brimming with new ideas and stunning structures that they’ll strive to get funding for.

But if you wander around any showcase for architecture graduates, you’ll seldom see designs that seem realistic.

Instead, they’re the kind of fantasy constructions that, although impressive, don’t consider the actual building process.

Designing a building requires plenty of different people to come together and work as a team, which seems rarely considered by these young bucks. Yet as soon as these new graduates have liaised with the people tasked with making their dream building a reality, a number of their grandiose or left-of-centre plans will be shot down in flames.

The veteran architect

Becoming a veteran in the world of building designs is about having a few aces up your sleeve when your initial blueprint isn’t viable. It’s about understanding how all your crazy, pie in the sky ideas connect to create one viable building. And it’s about working with others to make a building that is both aesthetically and structurally viable, and responsive to its environment.

A lot of this knowledge will come from knowledge of specific suppliers who can help you along the way. Say, for instance, you wanted an outdoor mezzanine floor to complement the stunning views that surround your latest building project.

A design greenhorn would have to shop around for different suppliers, spend days or weeks comparing and contrasting the quality of materials, before eventually hitting upon something perfect for their construction.

An old hand, conversely, will have a catalogue of suppliers in their back pocket, shaving time off the turnaround of a building and making the construction process a lot easier. They’ll be able to liaise with any supplier they can at a moment’s notice, and they’ll always have a back-up if things go wrong.

What’s more, they’ll have to make sure they can justify their decisions to planning committees and financiers, as well as battling through bureaucratic red tape.

Finding your limit

A great architect, however, understands how to create exemplary work within their limitations, which is why many architecture graduates are hobbled from the get-go.

Allowing your imagination to run wild is a positive, creative enterprise at the beginning of a project, but your vision has to be sculpted down to its essence if you’re to please your clients and stay within your budget.

Speaking to Design Boom, architect David Chipperfield said, “The one thing you can’t do with architecture, at least in my opinion, is limit your way of thinking to a style, or a material, you have to be responsive to the circumstances of a project.”

Limitation, then, can be both a blessing and a curse when designing a building. Hopefully many architecture students will learn that for the future.