#6 What I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School

[1] Architecture Interim Review (Brooks)

Take this blog as a guide on how not to study architecture. My Achilles heel has always been effectively communicating my approach to the design (concept) and the architecture itself in the design studio class. I have recently come to realise first hand that a lack of good conversation when selling my ideas will make my architecture cease to exist [1].

Regrettably, something that I learned whilst in architecture school is not something that I took on board in the school setting. I finally grasped that the design studio class is a very real simulation of what the schematic design process is like in the real world. In essence, we the students should treat the tutor as the client and the review panel as quite literally the review panel. Design studio is not just an accelerated process of contrived design with no real budget. Rather, it is an accelerated undertaking of dealing with clients, consultants, review panels, all in the single avatar known as the Studio Professor. Dealing with highly stressful situations, receiving constant feedback, producing countless design options and thinking on your toes are highly important characteristics required to be successful in the architectural world [2].

[3] Rear of Building (Geale, 2018)
[2] The Famous Fall (Volpicelli)

To bring context to a story that began in the fourth year of my Masters, I should point out that my attendance at UWA’s interim reviews (Jury) is deplorable. I attended one out of a possible four, where I tripped over on the way to the presentation wall for my single appearance. It is due to my crippling uneasiness to present in front of my classmates and a panel of esteemed architects. You can call me under prepared but personally, nothing comes close to the moment of angst before being called up to present a project. Instead, I would much rather play hooky and email the professor my work independently.


As I write this, it is the Tuesday night before my first Design Review Panel (DRP) Presentation with the City of South Perth. I am using this blog as a means of legitimate procrastination and self-reflection because I can’t escape it this time. At approximately 9:30am Managing Director of Cameron Chisholm & Nicol (CCN), Dominic Snellgrove along with three other seasoned veterans will be waiting for me, ready to rip me a new one. The project up for discussion is shown in Images 3,4 and 5. Where I do agree that “discussion is a vital learning tool,” [3] as well the typical review, I propose that the public approach to the presentation in architecture school be optional. Architecture is born when critical thinking and hard work meet. For me, personal growth, critical thinking and absorbing a Professor’s comments can only occur in a setting where I am at ease, instead of being out on display in front of my peers.

[5] Hero Shot (Geale, 2018)
[4] Entry Forecourt (Geale, 2018)








[1] Heynen, Hilde. Architecture and Modernity: A Critique. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2000.

[2] Obralic, Ahmed, and Fuad Catovic. “The Impact of Personal Characteristics of Architects on Their Architectural Work.” International Journal of Learning and Development6, no. 1 (2016). Accessed May 4, 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v6i1.8181.

[3] Doidge, Charles, Rachel Sara, and Rosie Parnell. Crit – An Architectural Student’s Handbook. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2000.


[1] Brooks, Nathaniel. Architecture Interim Review. Accessed May 4, https://beaudesign.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/byzantine-church-design-critique-i/.

[2] Volpicelli, Gian. The Famous Fall. Accessed May 4, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3487458/Do-struggle-stay-two-feet-Study-finds-humans-surprisingly-bad-WALKING-trip-slip-over.html.

[3-5] Geale, Sam. Renders. 2018.