Architecture is a broad field of study encompassing several aspects of human behavior, physical places, and objects.
To become a fully-fledged architect is an extremely lengthy and laborious process that involves several years of grueling studies.
Once studies are complete, aspiring architects must work under a practicing architect who will inspire them to adapt their skills to the professional world.
- Learn the history of Architecture
- Discover great buildings and structures
- Learn about famous buildings and designers
- Learn about art
- Learn how to draw
- Educate yourself on Design
- Teach yourself how to use architectural software
- Familiarize yourself with editing software
- And more…
An enormous amount can be learned about architecture without attending university. There are countless resources available online and in physical form.
These combined resources can equip an aspiring architect with a good amount of knowledge.
To become a professional architect, however, a person must be registered with the relevant regulatory authority and pass several professional exams.
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First Step To Learn Architecture On Your Own
Before beginning your architectural research, familiarize yourself with the resources you will need to explore:
- Talk to people who have studied, studied, or worked in architecture.
- Find out what software is used most in your region, and ideally, get your hands on the relevant software.
- Start identifying buildings in your area that qualify as “good design.” Ask relevant industry professionals for their opinion.
- Establish the relevant licensing requirements in your area to understand the processes involved in becoming a qualified architect.
Learn About The History Of Architecture
Architecture has essentially been around as long as humans have. However rudimentary or crude, humans have created architecture in some shape or form since the beginning.
The earliest forms of human shelter can be seen as the beginnings of architecture.
Alongside this, humans created other forms of structure for hunting, food creation, or the worship of deities.
Architecture is continuously shaped by the past. Learning about the history of architecture will help anybody interested in the field to gain a better understanding of all the processes involved in architecture.
It will also help individuals see how past events in human history have shaped how humans create their built environments.
Understanding how the field of architecture began and what influenced it to a large degree will help interested parties have a deeper understanding of architecture as a whole.
Understanding why certain pieces of architecture work and look the way they do will help aspiring designers understand how to proceed in the field.
There is a lot more to architecture than meets the eye.
By understanding what has informed the architecture of the past and formed it into its current state, aspiring architects will be able to make informed decisions throughout their architectural education.
Different segments of society have employed architecture in different ways to accommodate their needs throughout history.
Humans have adapted building structures to creating ultimate comfort for themselves in almost every possible type of climate on earth.
People throughout history have created solutions to the problems associated with their respective climates, so too developed the type of architecture we see today.
Historical events have continuously inspired drastic changes in how we live as a species.
As we are forced to change how we live, how we create our surrounding spaces changes drastically.
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Discover Great Buildings & Structures
The world is full of great buildings and structures designed and built by pioneers and geniuses in their respective fields.
Throughout history, buildings have been created that have pushed the envelope of what was possible and explored the use of various materials in new and innovative ways.
There is much to be learned from our planet’s great buildings and structures, old and new. As a starting point, research some of the most well-known buildings, and see which ones are most accessible to you.
Visiting a building in person is certainly the best way to discover it, and you may be surprised to learn how many buildings in your locale are considered great works of architecture.
Examine the most well-known buildings across the globe. Find out what makes them good buildings, and study the photos, literature, blueprints, and history of these respective buildings.
This will give you an exceptionally clear understanding of what makes a good building.
Research how the buildings mentioned above were engineered to become what they are today. You will discover various building techniques, design considerations, and ways building materials can be exploited and pushed to achieve outstanding results.
Architecture is all about problem-solving from both a human and technical perspective. By understanding how certain well-known examples of architecture were created through intense problem-solving exercises, you will understand the buildings and structures on a deeper level.
Once you understand what makes these buildings great and how certain challenges were overcome, you can apply the lessons learned to your design processes later.
Learn About Famous Builders & Designers
There have been countless well-known builders and designers throughout history, long before the field of architecture even came into existence as we know it today.
Throughout time, people have created works of architecture for various reasons using countless approaches to design.
By educating yourself on well-known builders and designers over time, you can familiarize yourself with how they have approached Design in the past.
Learning how designers approach their work will allow you to understand that there are many different ways to work in this field.
By understanding how others work in the field, you can form your own approach to Design. It is important to gain a thorough understanding of others’ processes to start forming your own methodology and design language.
Learn About Art
Architecture can be described as an art in itself, technical aspects aside. Art comes into play in the field of architecture in many ways.
Firstly, art throughout history has formed a major part of many great works of architecture.
Art has often been synonymous with great works of architecture, and artists have almost always been involved in the creation of buildings.
Art and architecture have consistently been representative of societal conditions throughout history. There is much overlap between the two fields, each influencing the other.
Naturally, as an architect, you are also an artist. Architectural work is a creative response to a certain climate and social condition, born through a process of creative problem-solving.
Architecture is a highly expressive art form where the designer interprets a set of criteria and turns them into a tangible piece of functional art that simultaneously marks a point in history.
Learn How To Draw
Architects and artists have much in common in terms of their creativity. Architects are required to possess many of the skills that artists have.
The most important artistic skill for an architect is, of course, drawing.
Architects must develop their drawing skills to express their ideas clearly and allow them to be brought to life in three dimensions.
Drawing is the best way for architects to articulate their ideas in a way others can understand. It is the most effective way to express the goings on in the person’s creative mind and bring them into some form of tangible reality.
By developing your drawing skills and other forms of artistic expression, you will be able to articulate your concepts clearly.
In addition, art skills will allow any aspiring architect to create visually appealing visualizations of their projects that will help them show potential clients their vision for what they hope to achieve.
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Educate Yourself On Design As A Whole
Design, on the whole, is a broad field of study. Architecture is often referred to as the “ultimate design degree” as it incorporates every aspect of Design and teaches individuals how to approach problems with a creative eye.
Design is all about humans and their behavior. By understanding people properly, we can create better experiences for them.
The basic principles of Design extend from simple items such as paper clips to furniture and larger design elements such as buildings.
Understanding design principles is key to learning architecture. Design as a discipline has the power to completely transform how people think and approach problems daily.
By understanding the fundamentals of Design, you will better understand architecture that goes far beyond aesthetic concerns.
Learning all about Design will equip you for a career in architecture and various other disciplines within the design field. This can extend to interior design, landscape design, furniture design, urban Design, and even jewelry and fashion design.
This is part of why an architectural education is held in such high regard worldwide.
Teach Yourself How To Use Architectural Software
Gone are the days when architects drew everything by hand. To remain up to speed in the architecture field today, architects need to learn how to use various types of software. There are various types of software used by architects for various purposes.
Some types of software are specifically designed for three-dimensional drawing and modeling.
Other programs are primarily for two-dimensional drawing. Various programs can assist architects with visualization and rendering.
Knowledge of several software types is essential for success in the architecture field. In addition, being able to use architectural software will help you to bring your projects to life. It helps enormously with understanding the conceptual building in a three-dimensional sense.
This also makes it easier to make relevant changes while seeing how they affect the building.
Some popular computer programs are AutoCAD (mostly for two-dimensional drawings), Revit (an excellent program for three-dimensional modeling that can also create two-dimensional drawings), and Sketchup.
There are various types of software available for architects. It’s important, however, to learn the popular computer programs used in most firms worldwide.
It can take years to master a certain computer program, and expertise in specific programs will stand prospective employees in better stead to allow them to receive better job offers.
Most firms will favor one specific software suite. They will only consider candidates who are au fait with the relevant computer programs.
To learn architectural software on your own, you will need to watch countless tutorial videos on platforms such as YouTube.
Many videos available on these platforms can teach everything about specific computer programs. This ranges from absolute beginner work all the way through to expert level.
Many online courses are also available to teach you how to use the most popular architectural software programs. The only way to master this type of software is through practice.
Taking on small personal projects to practice using the software will ensure you can perform all the required tasks.
Whenever you’re drawing up a project or practicing your three-dimensional modeling skills, you will naturally come across difficult tasks that you will be unsure of how to complete.
This is an opportunity to learn a new skill and understand a new aspect of the software, allowing you to progress in your education.
When this occurs, simply do an online search of the specific problem you’re having. In most cases, you will be able to find a free tutorial video that explains how to solve the exact problem you are having.
Thankfully, most popular architectural software offers students free trials to ensure they can learn the software without making significant financial investments.
Familiarize Yourself With Editing Software
Editing software forms a major part of architecture work, especially when presenting work to clients. Creating aesthetically pleasing presentations is extremely important to allow you to show clients what you are capable of.
Editing software such as Adobe Photoshop is widely used in the architecture field to enhance images and create visually appealing presentations to impress clients and give others an idea of the architect’s vision for the project.
Other software such as Adobe Illustrator is also extremely useful for architectural presentation purposes.
Study Architectural Books
There are countless books available on the subject of architecture. Some are brilliant and extremely educational, while others should be avoided altogether.
Thankfully, various authorities in the architectural world offer sound advice on which books are worthwhile.
Studying architectural books offers the opportunity to learn about good examples of architecture. By studying these books, you will understand the architect’s approach to designing the respective buildings.
You will also see what makes these buildings good and how the designers have been inspired to create.
One of the most important aspects of architecture is how buildings are designed according to their specific context.
By studying architectural books with examples of well-designed buildings, you will understand how designers are inspired by the local context to create beautiful works of architecture.
Study Structural Design
Structures are naturally an extremely important aspect of architecture. Without a sound understanding of structures, you will have a very limited understanding of architecture.
The best architecture considers the structural limitations of certain materials and sees this as an opportunity to exploit the material’s potential in innovative ways.
By studying structures and materials, you will understand how materials can be used differently and where their limitations lie.
Watch Videos On Good Design
There are many documentaries and short videos available showing good design examples. This refers not only to houses but to Design in all its facets.
By watching videos of good Design – including buildings, structures, furniture, fashion, jewelry, stage design, landscape design, and any other design field you can think of – you will better understand what constitutes good Design.
At the same time, you will be inspired by successful people in the industry while learning from them much of what is required to be successful in the industry.
Videos about Design are often carefully designed in every aspect. Each element, from the sound to the video and everything in between, is carefully calibrated to showcase the skills of the designers and bring the viewer a highly enjoyable final product.
Travel, Travel, Travel
Traveling is one of the most important aspects of an aspiring architect’s education. By visiting famous buildings and other well-known examples of architecture, you will understand the processes behind the
Design of such structures. It’s important to visit good examples of architecture to understand how it feels to be in such spaces and to witness firsthand how people interact with the spaces.
Traveling to well-designed cities will give you a great understanding of how a city should function. It will help you to understand how cities came to be the way they are today and will serve as inspiration for good architecture.
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To learn architecture on your own, you must educate yourself on various topics.
Your self-education will involve reading architectural books, studying good examples of architecture, learning about Design, learning how to draw and use the necessary software, and talking to relevant industry professionals.
Through this process, you will equip yourself with much of the knowledge necessary to pursue a career in architecture.
However, to legally call yourself an architect, you must abide by the rules of several regulatory bodies.
You must pass several exams and, in most cases, obtain an official qualification from a relevant architecture school.