Friday, November 27, 2009

No more all-nighters in Studio?

Reader Matt found an online article regarding changes to the requirements of an architectural education, which would include interdisciplinary studies and an easing of the pull-three-all-nighters-in-a-row studio culture. The reasoning, says the article is that architecture as a profession does not necessarily jive with architecture as an education in terms of actual knowledge required and time spent doing one's job.

Everyone, all together: DUH!

I don't mean to be sarcastic. Well, perhaps a little, but it's only because the disconnect between school and work for us is so glaring and so well-known that it's inexcusable. Yes, there are certain concepts and skills you can only teach when you have a real project being built (such as CA), but the culture of architecture school and studio makes that leap even more of a shock. After the labor that was 6 years of school, I found work almost to be a breeze. First of all, if I worked after "studio" was over, I got paid for it. Second of all, "studio" was usually over by 5 or 5:30, and I had no homework. I was thrilled to have the time after so many years to investigate so many interests and hobbies and creative ideas for which I simply, honestly did not have the time in college, which ironically is supposed to be a time of self-discovery and learning.

Of my nearly ten years in this profession, I've only spent a total of about nine or ten months working studio-esque hours (and again, I got paid for it). I got about 4 hours a night (worst case) in undergrad, and I got 6-8 hours a night (worst case) in grad school, and my grades were actually better in grad school. Why? I think it's because I made the best use of my time when I was present in the studio space--I didn't go for a coffee or go out to talk to someone while they had a smoke every half hour, and I didn't goof off nearly as much as many of the "all-nighter" crews did. I came in, made good, solid use of a 7- to 9-hour Saturday at my drafting table, and then I left to go either do homework for another class or do...anything else. Overall, the work world has been rewarding--the skills that made me a B student in Studio have made me an A+ employee...and I'm still employed after five rounds of layoffs at my office. Nowadays, the people in my office who work at work like they're still in Studio rarely have profitable projects; while that time spent is perhaps useful in school, it's a financial drain on a firm, and a firm does have to make money in order to keep folks around.

Have a look at the article and sound off in the comments: which was easier for you, work or school? What were your work and study habits like in school? What's your take on revising the requirements for architectural degrees, including cross-disciplinary courses?

By the way, happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone out there, and thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Time is really the only non-renewable resource in the universe, as of now anyway.