Architecture is a field with a long and distinguished history, having its roots in ancient cultures and civilizations. Building structures with a strong aesthetic and functional appeal is an important part of this discipline, and this requires a certain level of knowledge and skill in various subjects. Understanding which subjects best lead to a successful pursuit of architecture is key to preparing for this profession, which has become increasingly competitive with the rise of technology and new social trends.
The number one subject for those wanting to pursue architecture is math. This subject is important because a variety of calculations and equations are required in order to design buildings, as well as other elements like roads and bridges. The math subject areas that should be focused on include algebra, calculus, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. Furthermore, understanding the fundamentals of physics also plays a role in designing buildings as it helps to understand how structures and materials interact due to forces like gravity.
Drawing and sketching are also essential for any aspiring architect since it gives them the ability to effectively visual and represent their ideas on paper. Drawing courses that teach the fundamentals of composition, light and shade, proportion, perspective and color are essential for creating design concepts. Additionally, digital drawing or rendering technologies are also growing in importance, so learning the basics of software like AutoCAD and SketchUp is also recommended.
Though not strictly related to the profession of architecture, history is also an important subject for any aspiring architect. History classes are important for understanding the evolution of architecture, as well as for learning about the various cultures and architectures that have shaped the field throughout the centuries. Furthermore, understanding architectural theory, from the ancient Greeks up to modern theories and approaches, allows architects to fully appreciate the beauty and complexity of their art.
The last subject of importance for aspiring architects is building science. This subject explores how materials interact with each other and the environment, how building systems work, and how construction methods work. Having a strong understanding of the function of buildings will allow architects to design structures that are efficient, comfortable and safe.
Business and Marketing
In today’s business environment, architects need to be able to not just design structures, but also be able to market themselves creatively, source clients and run their own business. Therefore, an understanding of business principles and marketing is essential. This includes taking courses on finance, accounting, contracts and negotiation, and understanding key aspects of the business such as pricing, customer service, and product development.
Creative marketing and digital media are also increasingly essential skills for architects, since forming relationships with clients is paramount. Taking courses in social media, creating attractive visuals, writing content, developing strong brand identities and understanding how to reach target audiences can all be helpful.
Additionally, courses in entrepreneurship are recommended, as they enable one to understand the fundamentals of running their own business. This includes understanding core principles such as choosing a legal entity, sourcing capital, and forming contracts.
Management and Leadership
Architecture is an incredibly interdisciplinary field and practitioners need to manage a team of different professionals with varying skills. Having a strong understanding of management and leadership principles are therefore important for any aspiring architect. This includes classes on project management, teamwork, communication, and understanding motivation.
Furthermore, having excellent interpersonal skills is key. Architects need to be able to present their ideas effectively in order to convince clients and win project bids. This requires having a deep understanding of well communication and persuasive writing, as well as public speaking.
Also related to communication, understanding the principles of public transport planning and urban design can be useful, since in some cases these skills come into play when designing large-scale projects, such as those related to highways and parks.
Research and Presentation
Finally, any aspiring architect needs to be comfortable with research, writing and presentations. Being able to bring ideas to life through exploring different materials, researching data, and developing strong supporting arguments are all essential for succeeding in the world of architecture. This includes understanding the principles of critical thinking and visual journalism, which are important for presenting convincing evidence to convince clients.
Having the ability to effectively present ideas is also important. This involves having the necessary proficiency in IT skills, including software such as InDesign and Photoshop, and understanding the basics of design principles, such as the use of color, contrast, and typography.
Environmental Studies and Sustainability
The construction industry is one of the leading contributors to global climate change and therefore it is essential that aspiring architects understand the principles of sustainability and green building practices. This includes taking courses in environmental studies, climate change, and sustainable design. Having a deep understanding of the latest technologies in renewable energy, construction materials, and water resources is key.
Furthermore, understanding the application of green building standards such as LEED and WELL standards is important, since these are becoming increasingly important criteria for both public and private projects.
Lastly, understanding the local building codes and regulations is also essential for any aspiring architect, as this ensures that their design meets the requirements for safety and adheres to local laws.
Spatial Design and Digital Fabrication
Spatial design and digital fabrication is becoming an increasingly important aspect of architecture. Courses in this field include topics such as parametric design, 3D modelling, and digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing and CNC routing.
Understanding the principles of these technologies, as well as programming languages such as Python, can only improve the design process, since they allow for faster and more effective material exploration and testing.
In addition, having a strong understanding of advanced manufacturing technologies, such as robotics and additive manufacturing, is essential, since they are quickly becoming popular in the architecture industry.
Innovation and creative thinking are two essential skills for any architect, since they need to be able to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. Courses in this field focus on understanding the creative process and how to develop creative ideas.
These courses include topics such as brainstorming techniques, design thinking, and understanding the principles of disruptive innovation. Exploring different themes, such as minimalism, biomimicry, and upcycling can also help to develop a deeper understanding of the field.
Understanding the basics of architecture and design competitions is also important, since this allows for further exposure and recognition for one’s design skills.