Breaking the Box: Explode out of Architecture School to a Successful Career as an Architect
This is part 3 of the chapter: In Architecture School you will learn ________. If you missed part 2 click here.
In Architecture School you will learn _________. Part 3
In architecture school, you will learn the design process.
This is what architecture school is about. You go to architecture school to learn how to think and how to dissect design problems. We call that the design process. Learning the design process is the ‘why’ of architecture school.
At some point you will stumble upon a story about Frank Lloyd Wright and his design for the iconic Fallingwater Residence. Legend has it that Wright designed the Fallingwater Residence in one 2-hour design session. I have heard many versions of this story. Edgar Kaufman Sr. called Wright one day alerting him that he would be stopping by to see the progress on the design of Kaufman’s future home in Bear Run Pennsylvania. Kaufman would actually meet Wright at his studio at Taliesin East, Wisconsin.
The problem was that Wright had yet to even begin the first drawing of the house. Rather than postpone the meeting, Wright sat down at the drafting table and proceeded to pour out one drawing after another of the now famous Fallingwater residence. And let’s just say he nailed it! Fallingwater is one of the most influential residences of the 20th century. 2 hours and he nailed it!
Wright’s peers describe that this type of process was common as Wright was said to completely conceptualize his designs in his head before putting them on paper. This allowed him to produce a completed design in one draft. Now…I am sure that these stories have been embellished, however I believe there is a kernel of truth there. Wright was a genius and over his long career designed over 1,000 structures. If you are going to have that amount of output than you better be quick!
Back to Reality
The reason I used the word ‘legend’ and the reason I am sharing this story is because Wright’s process is nothing like how the rest of us work. For the rest of us mere mortal architects, the design of a building takes much more time and energy.
In Architecture School you will learn that Design is an Iterative Process.
I now know that my best design thoughts are 10 ideas down the road. I need to get out about 3 bad ideas and 3 mediocre ideas before I can land on a good idea. And then over a series of iterations that good idea will be sculpted into a great idea. That is how the process works.
We use trace paper so that we can quickly make multiple drafts of our designs. Draw, critique, draw, critique, draw, critique, draw……….That is how the sausage is made. It is not so different than the editing process that a writer uses.
Not done yet!
O.K. So I thought this was going to be the last part of Chapter 1 but there is one more part. As I unveil this book I am sharing it in little bite size chunks. Chapter 1 is going to be approximately 3,000 words so instead of dumping that on you all at once I am sharing about 700 words at a time.