Architecture Degree – Why You Shouldn’t Study

Architecture is a wonderful thing. We all use it, see it and interact with it every day, whether it be in our homes or the spaces we work and play in. Great architecture drives passion, awe and marvel in those that see it, inspires those that use it and brings security to those within it. We live in it, work in it, eat in it, play, move interact and experience in it. It’s through our relationships with the buildings and spaces (and partly due to Kevin McCloud) that our collective love affair with architecture grows, and every year the number of students wishing to pursue a career in architect increases.

Today, I want to try and convince the majority of those applying to university to study architecture not to bother. If architecture is your passion, your life long dream and ultimate goal, then read something else on habitables. If you’re on the fence and feeling over inspired by Kirstie Allsopp, then read on for our 10 reasons you should NOT study architecture.

We aren’t party animals, you’d be better off studying Law

The architecture student is a special breed of human being, they have to be to make it through years of late night/early morning study sessions, with only the dream of late night/early morning work sessions that pay to get them through university. If you enjoy a good social life, go do something easy like dentistry, cos quite frankly, you wont have time to socialise and fraternise whilst studying architecture (even if you do manage to find a free moment, we predict it’ll be impossible to find a class mate who isn’t catching up on last months sleep).

Brutalism isn’t a sex fetish

If you don’t know your Wright from your Foster, your Khan from your Ando, and you think functionalism comes standard on your iPhone, this isn’t for you. Architecture is about being completely and utterly absorbed in the built environment, understanding the great masters and their masterpieces. If you’ve learnt everything you know from Grand Designs, you’d be better off finding some other course.

Because you’re not on Grand Designs, and probably never will be

I LOVE Grand Designs, I just don’t think it should be the main reason one goes to study architecture. Grand Designs is about exactly that, grandeur, its special work, worthy of being on TV. the majority of architects don’t work on one off original works such as those featured, a lot of life as an architect is about hard work on smaller projects that require just as much attention as if you were designing the Empire State Building. I know it’s inevitable that after watching James Bond 95% of the male population dream of going to spy school – they soon realise they’d suck as a spy, clever boys.

I’m here to learn, why the hell are YOU here?

Attending tutorials shouldn’t feel like the morning commute; too many people, most of them smelly and hungover reading the metro. It’s meant to be inspiring, a chance to learn and interact with like minded people with a love for architecture (and an addiction to sleep suppressant drinks). The last thing any dedicated student wants is to listen to is the story of how you puked all over your sheets, which were subsequently eaten by your dog. Being an architecture student is hard enough without the distractions of the class idiot, GO AWAY.

Thanks to you, my tutors a tool

Thanks to all the drunks attending (or not attending but joining the course) the universities are taking on more staff to handle the increase in the students. Super? Not really. All tutors are not created equal, and unfortunately for every great tutor you encounter, you meet a couple of misguided souls intent on highlighting the construction qualities of cheese (true story). The less students means the retention of quality teaching and the trimming of staff fat. Please, no one should have to be taught by a man who believes its OK to leave final crits in the middle to go get coffee… bastard.

We are angry people, it’s the red bull man

Maybe that was slightly harsh, but by the end of the year, the architecture student body is made up of young people with a dangerous reliance to caffeine drinks, and tempers fray very easily. Seriously though, it is a really trying period in any architects career. The long hours, constant criticism and lack of sunlight lead to a collection of people on their last legs. Don’t take the decision to study architecture likely, its a serious commitment, and if you’re in, its all the way or not at all.

Can anyone spell bankruptcy?

My debt level for studying so far stands at just under £25,000, that’s a lot of money. It is however a debt I’m ok with having as it’s helped me to get to where I am. I’d sure hate to have that debt and nothing to show for it. The beautiful thing about debt is its not prejudice in the slightest. It doesn’t care if you graduated or not, it doesn’t care that you hated it and didn’t really want to be there. Debt will burden you no matter your reasons. Before you sign on that line,ask yourself: is this what you want, what you really really want?

Architects drive Mondeos’, not Mercedes’

It’s a well known fact among architects that the pay in our industry sucks. The only people who aren’t aware of this fact is everyone else. If you’re studying to be an architect because you think it will bring you a fortune, then you’re in for a shock. Architects reach their peak earning potential between the ages of 55-59, up until then you’ll earn a good, respectable wage, but it probably won’t compare to the lawyers, bankers and doctors you work for. Architects do it for the love of it, didn’t you know that?

When it’s all said and done, architecture is a passionate industry, full of dedicated individuals with drive and ambition. If you want to be an architect, welcome aboard. If however you’re being drawn in like a moth to a lamp, turn away, save yourself – this career will swallow you up and spit you out before you know it, and you’ll owe a lot of money for the privilege.

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