What Supplies Do Architecture Students Need


Architecture is one of the oldest and most respected professions in the world, and it has been continuously evolving and growing in scope and complexity over the past centuries. Studying architecture requires a great deal of dedication and skill, and it also requires the right supplies and materials. In this article, we’re going to look at the supplies architecture students need in order to get the most out of their studies. We’ll cover the essential supplies, as well as some helpful additional items that can make life for a student of architecture much easier.

The Basics

At the most basic level, architecture students need to have the correct stationery, a good quality printer and a laptop or PC capable of running software suites such as AutoCAD, Revit or ArchiCAD. Most universities and colleges offering architectural courses provide students with licenses for such software, but it’s worth double-checking before you start your course. Additionally, it’s worth checking that your laptop is powerful enough to handle the software programs.
Another basic that all architecture students need are paper and pencils. Paper can be expensive, so it’s worth investing in bulk purchases or considering online purchase options to save money. Similarly, good quality pencils and other drawing supplies, such as pens and erasers, are essential for manual draftsmanship and sketching.

Other Supplies

Besides the basics, however, there are some additional supplies that architecture students should consider investing in. A powerful graphics tablet can be helpful for more detailed drawing, while a lightbox can be used to transfer designs to large format paper. A scale ruler is also essential for making accurate drafts, and a set square and protractor can be used in the same fashion. Depending on the course you’re taking, you may also need a model-making kit, as many courses include a module on creating scale models of buildings.

Digital Tools

As digital technologies have become increasingly prevalent, so too have a plethora of digital tools that can be used by architecture students. Many people opt for a high-end graphics tablet or Wacom pen, which allow for precise drafting and detailing. Additionally, there are many software and mobile applications that can be used to aid with designing buildings. CAD programs, such as AutoCAD, are powerful pieces of software that allow users to create both realistic three-dimensional models and sophisticated diagrams.

Presentation Materials

Presenting proposals and architectural designs can be an important part of an architecture course, so it’s worth investing in presentation materials such as coloured pins, display boards, paper and other materials. Additionally, a portfolio folder or an online portfolio site can be useful for storing and sharing designs online.

Essential Reading

At the most basic level, it’s essential for architecture students to have access to their course materials, as well as a comprehensive selection of reference materials that detail the latest trends and architectural movements. This could include books, magazines and blogs, and should encompass both the history and theory of architecture, as well as its modern applications. Additionally, it’s also worth considering subscribing to a professional magazine, such as Architectural Record, or an online publication or blog that covers the subject of architecture.

Design Support Tools

As well as the traditional tools used by architecture students, there are also a range of modern design support tools that are becoming increasingly popular. These can range from mobile applications that allow users to sketch basic designs to powerful 3D modelling software, such as SketchUp and Rhino. Such tools can greatly aid with the creative design process, and help architecture students to visualise their designs in more detail.

Ergonomic Supplies And Equipment

Lastly, it’s important for any architecture student to be comfortable while they’re working. This means investing in ergonomic office furniture, such as an office chair with adjustable arm rests and height settings, as well as a standing desk. This could also extend to accessories such as an ergonomic mouse and a comfortable mouse pad.

Collaboration And Communication Tools

Architecture is a collaborative profession, and many students join forces to work on projects together or to collaborate on designs. Communication tools such as video conferencing services and shared online workspaces, like Slack, are becoming increasingly popular with architecture students, allowing them to work together on projects and exchange ideas more effectively.

Design Portfolios

Most architecture courses will require students to compile a design portfolio, showcasing their best work and demonstrating their comprehension of the craft. A design portfolio should be a physical or digital folder that holds all the student’s designs and other material, such as diagrams and notes. Many universities also offer students the opportunity to create an online portfolio, which can be used to showcase their work for potential employers.

CAD Software

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is an essential tool used by architects, and is a component of many architecture courses. CAD software can range from basic two-dimensional drawing programs to powerful three-dimensional modeling software. It is also important to have a good understanding of the various software packages and programs used in architectural design, including AutoCAD, Revit and SketchUp.

Project Organisation Tools

Having the right project management and organisation tools is essential for any architecture student. These tools can range from simple apps and software that allow users to set deadlines and to-do lists, to more comprehensive management tools. They can also extend to other project management tools, such as shared online workspaces, that allow multiple users to work on the same project simultaneously.

Achieving A Professional Standard

To achieve a professional standard, architecture students should also consider investing in professional-grade 3D printers, and a set of 3D printing filaments in order to create prototypes and mock-ups of their designs. Additionally, a good quality laser cutter can be used to create intricate, complex 3D designs, and can be invaluable when it comes to presenting professional-level design presentations.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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