Creativity, risk needed in architecture
Architecture is the result of forming. It is the kinesthetic and visual sense of position and wholeness that puts the work into the realm of art. Architecture can be a form of alchemy, turning base elements into the materials that astound us and make us desire. The amount of passion required for pursuing a career in architecture is immense, but unfortunately many graduates may lack this passion.
Therefore, in order for undergraduate architecture students to distinguish themselves from the large body of aspiring architects, they must incorporate more artistic examples in their work. A recent deficit in employment positions in the architecture job market has lowered the demand for architects while increasing the competitive drive in rivaling students. As a result, design firms have become increasingly selective, only seeking well-rounded graduates and those with a strong artistic sense in their work.
Colleges are being criticized for producing students with outstanding credentials who lacks inspirational thought. As a former undergraduate student in the UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, I observed the talents of my competition on a daily basis. Although working among peers is often motivating when developing ideas, there is a constant rivalry for the most ingenious reputation.
Students seem to make lasting impressions on professors when they make the degree of craft and precision a priority, at times neglecting the design and imaginative factor. Students would receive high marks for simply completing the projects assigned with the minimal requirements, neglecting to reach for something original.
The fierce job market is very competitive for those who do not show something different in their portfolio such as examples of sculpture or illustration abilities, which displays the applicant’s capability range in creativity. Therefore, it is no surprise that being talented in other arts such as illustration, movement, music or writing sets you apart from the crowd.
The process of finding a firm that is bold enough to branch out into different areas of design that will allow one’s creative mind to flourish is a task for a student in itself. Progress in college cannot be tracked by looking at grade-point average alone. Although this is a good place to start in order to determine a student’s dedication, this only shows a perception of that student according to the university they attended.
In order to get a true understanding of students’ talent or potential, it is necessary to look at examples of their imagination through observation of their previous work. Instances where employers ask applicants to bring in their sketchbook along with their portfolio are becoming more and more common.
The client (like in most business settings) is a firm’s basic concern. Interpreting a client’s idea into a sketch or quick mock-up is vital, because rarely does a firm initiate a project knowing what they want. Having the ability to quickly establish and render a concept into a comprehendible and tangible product is a minimal requirement in today’s field. If asked, many architects couldn’t count the amount of napkin drawings and instances where a project’s solution would arise in the midst of a business dinner when a sketchbook wasn’t accessible. Students who lack this ability try to compensate by relying on technology to produce ideas and inspiration, neglecting any real artistic talent.
In order to be successful in today’s architecture job market or in any profession, there needs to be a certain call for passion, a love for what one does. The whole purpose of having various areas of study is to categorize people by their niches and genres. Within design, unlike other professions, one cannot fake or simulate passion; if it is not present, then it is evident in the work. If students do not embrace more artistic edification or any actual passion in addition to their designated curriculum, not only do they risk being overlooked by future employers, they also jeopardize our future’s creative potential.
Baerga, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]