Architecture challenges

Mar 26 / Elina
When facing the challenges of architecture studies, it becomes evident that they closely align with those in the design field. Just as in design, sketching and mockup building play a crucial role in architecture, demanding dedicated practice even before formal studies commence. (You can read more about the importance of these skills in our previous blog post - Design challenges). However, alongside these vital skills, other significant challenges await - Communication/Presentation and Digital Software proficiency. These aspects will remain in constant demand throughout your academic journey and beyond, making it essential to embrace and excel in them.

Communication skills/presentation  

Communication skills and effective presentation techniques are indispensable in the architect's arsenal. As you progress through your studies, you will frequently find yourself needing to present your work at various project stages. The first thing I would suggest is don’t just talk about your ideas, show something too; it does not matter at which stage you are. Some quick sketches, mockups or renders will make your presentation much easier to understand, and in return, you will get more concrete feedback.
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Here are some key points to keep in mind for a good presentation;

1. Concept = visuals (diagrams, floor plans, drawings, renderings, orthographic drawings). All the visual media can be helpful when presenting because they are self-explanatory and can help you make the concept more visual. Therefore when creating a presentation, try to include topic-explanatory visuals in every slide. They will present what you are discussing and help you stay focused. 

2. Reinforce the concept: Periodically revisit your main concept throughout your presentation. After showing visuals or renders, take the opportunity to delve into the details of your concept. Emphasise crucial elements of your building design that represent the theme, concept, or task. Remember that visual media should serve the purpose of supporting your concept, not merely showcasing the final outcome.
3. Maintain audience engagement: Consider every aspect that contributes to audience focus, including posture, gestures, tone of voice, and language. Maintain control of the room during your presentation to keep your listeners engaged.

4. Visual continuity: Your presentation has to connect visually through colours, graphic elements, and fonts. Another thing that can work as an attention grabber is animation. Specific movements that will allow the audience to follow the flow of your presentation, especially if your project involves more than two different concepts. Furthermore, when designing a presentation, remember more visuals and less text! 

5 . Presentation structure: When designing a presentation, it is essential to consider the structure of it. With the help of structure, you can manipulate and control your listeners. The better the structure, the better your presentation will appear to the listeners. For example, one of my favourite structures is Tension & Release. It is all about building the tension throughout the presentation and making the final outcome come as a release in the end.

Remember that every presentation is essential, regardless of format and type. Embrace these key points to craft compelling and impactful presentations that effectively communicate your architectural ideas and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Digital tools

The architecture study program offers a balanced blend of hands-on experience and digital proficiency, which hold significant value. Learning to use all the digital software can be challenging; however, similarly to sketching and mockup building, it is something you can even practice before your studies have begun. A prime example is SketchUp, a widely accessible 3D modelling software that is an excellent starting point. Its user-friendly interface, and intuitive features make it an ideal starting point for those new to digital software. Beyond that, licensed programs like Rhino are a powerful option, offering greater possibilities and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in architectural design. Its advanced capabilities make it an indispensable tool for architects who seek to bring their ideas to life with precision and finesse. Then there are Adobe programs for editing pictures and Autocad for floor plans and technical drawings.

Mastering communication/presentation skills and becoming proficient in digital tools are crucial in the journey of an aspiring architect. Embracing these challenges and recognising the importance of each presentation, regardless of its format, will empower architects to express their ideas effectively and convincingly.

By balancing traditional craftsmanship and contemporary digital prowess, future architects will be well-equipped to shape innovative and impactful spaces that leave a lasting impression on the world.
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