• Ar. Stephanie L.P. Chan

My Time in Architecture

by Ameena


I wouldn’t say that my life changed when I decided to take architecture, it was more of how architecture changed the way I see, before taking my architecture course. I did see, of course. I see houses, I see buildings, colours, textures, dark and light. But that was it. I just knew what looked pretty and what didn’t and honestly, I thought that, that was just it. Being an architect was just to design buildings that were magnificent and aesthetic, well most of my classmates thought so too.


However, I soon realised that there is more to it. Its more than just to please the eyes. When I first started my architecture diploma course the first thing, we learnt was the ordering principles. Datum, hierarchy, symmetry, etc. and then we learnt about space planning, voids and solids as well as how all that, effects the form.


During that time, I started to realise how some buildings had taken this into considerations like the San Francisco Ferry Building. Before I would’ve just looked at it and thought, oh it’s a tower but after I can tell its hierarchy and that they wanted to make that part look

more important as a landmark.


Then, during my second year of doing my architectural diploma studies when I was in design studio 1, we learnt how to go from music to shelter. Yes, we had to make a shelter from music that had no words to it. We first chose a music of our liking then we turned the music into art and after, art into a shelter, which we then had to build and brought to a camp site to test it out. What I got from that was architecture can be from anything. Like a crumpled piece of paper.


Design diploma 2 was where we got to know more about the site response and site considerations. By the end of that semester we all understood why the wind direction or the sun direction was important. As well as why the direction of the building affects the overall site and people surrounding it. It was a challenge for us since we felt like we were constricted to do a standard box, roof and windows here and there design but learnt how to overcome it and created a work where we took considerations of the overall site while having interesting designs. We also learnt about building constructions like beams, structure and so on throughout my studies which is another reason as to why seeing a building now has changed.


As my time in diploma is ending, I have learnt a lot. Architecture is about the design but there’s a lot more as to why the architect probably designed it like that. I see a lot more now that I felt like I was architecturally blinded before and for some reason having the feeling of being able to see buildings differently has made me become slightly happier and more aware of my surroundings.

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