Become a better Architect | Daily News

Become a better Architect

Architects are often noted for having bad work-life balance, a lot of stress and little free time. How can you take time off while still improving your skills as an architect? Can that time off even give you an extra edge? Compared to other fields, architecture stands out as a field in which you need to “know a little bit about everything.” Thus, in order to live up to our name we must also do a little bit of everything, and as they say, a little goes a long way. So with that in mind, here are some activities which, while not obviously architectural, just might make you a better architect.

1. Playing Video Games

Video game developers have free rein when imagining and designing cityscapes and other spaces that frame the virtual universe. Such spatial experiences may never be realized in our physical world, but can still provide an entirely new perspective on the possible relationships between our bodies and our surroundings. They can go a long way in challenging your spatial problem solving, especially when Virtual Reality really takes off and becomes an ordinary tool in every architecture firm.

2. Reading Fiction

Fiction is possibly the easiest way for humans to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. As architects, this is a great tool for empathizing with different viewpoints in society, as well as understanding subjective spatial experiences and the emotions tied to them.

A great example is “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje, a novel with characters from a range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with memories strongly tied to spaces. Architects are sometimes accused of having little understanding of people, an issue which fiction could help to solve.

3. Watching TED Talks

As architects, we need to know how to defend our projects and ideas, making knowledge of rhetoric an essential part of the profession. TED speakers know how to construct an engaging argument within a relatively short amount of time, making them both entertaining and educational to watch. The wide variety of topics on offer will also undoubtedly help to build that wide knowledge base which is crucial to architectural practice.

4. Physical Activity

Consistent physical activity has been proven to reduce stress, something that most architects have an excess amount of. Not only will it improve your workflow, it will also serve as a productive break when you need some time away from the drawing board (or computer screen), as studies have shown that walking actually improves creativity. It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance in an industry that often demands long hours, especially when many of those hours are spent craned over a laptop with bad posture in an uncomfortable chair. A healthy body will make that time more pleasant and you will feel less fatigued by the end of it.

5. Taking Stuff Apart

When we experience stress, frustration and disappointment, many of us feel a primal urge to destroy the objects of resentment that surround us: that good-for-nothing laptop that’s slowing down your work process, or that annoying flickering light bulb that’s giving you a headache.

6. Painting and


In the process of painting or capturing and editing a photograph, there are three fundamental elements to keep in mind: color, light and composition. Unsurprisingly, these elements are just as crucial when it comes to architecture. Being experienced with these components within another context can give you an edge and an alternative way to approach the design process. In addition to this, you will be far more acquainted with the details of your surroundings. By taking the time to paint or compose a particular photograph, one observes features with more care than if one were just to look at them.

7. Living in Nature

Living in nature, temporarily or otherwise, is one of the most certain ways of falling in love with and fully appreciating our natural world. The large-scale impact that comes with being an architect means that we play an enormous role in conserving and sustaining our environment—a huge and unavoidable responsibility given the current situation of our planet.

8. Travelling on a Budget

In our modern world, being a tourist has become such a popular pastime that the purest forms of cultural exposure are being compromised.

Travelling on a budget, however, can give you that extra push to get to know locals and their cultures while looking for a place to stay or learning about the history of a place. By travelling you build a personal relationship with a range of contexts, gaining a deeper understanding for the individual qualities of different locations.



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