Architecture Shmarchitecture

By Aneesah, 5 Dec 11

If it isn’t obvious enough, I procrastinate on writing blog entries. All the time. It is just one of those things — either I set too high a standard for what I wish to include in the post, hence reducing the possibility of me ever writing it at all, or I keep thinking of how burdensome it is to have to edit the images / find the quotes / search for the links / etc. , or I just “cannot make time” to even start to w-r-i-t-e.

However, I do have a couple of motivating factors to push myself from now on inshaAllah. I’ve started to read again (as in books [even non-fiction! :dance: ] and magazines. Occasionally newspapers, at the office pantry, but honestly reading the mainstream news makes me feel like I have to istighfar after every other headline. -_-; Malaysians would know whatI’mtawkin’about.) And somehow reading makes me want to… write? Because even though they’re just words, writings can change people or at least make them think. Words; shared thoughts, can be very, very beneficial.

(Remind me to write an entry soon with short reviews/descriptions of what I’ve finished reading. Please and thank you.)

I shall be littering this post with scans from my work sketchbook, because there's not much else that I can show.:P

And allow me to copynpaste brother Aiman Azlan’s FB status which quoted Sheikh Hamza Yusuf:

Real pleasure is in the service of others, and that’s why the happiest of all people – in our belief – is the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). And no one served the people more than the Prophet. His life, from the beginning to the end, was a life of service.

(I believe it was taken from this short video clip.)

And in serving other people, it does not mean we are just doing it for them. We are doing everything for Allah, but the benefits are gained by others too, hopefully in a way that is continuous and … *okay this is one of the reasons why I often cannot bring myself to write: I can never find the proper words!* uh, spreading? Radiating? :suspicious: YougetwhatImean.

To the actual topic now.

I wanted to share some points regarding what has helped me in this journey as an architecture student-and-now-trainee. Skills-wise, sort of. I am not aware of how many architect-y friends/readers I have (certainly not many), but I think it’s useful to get this out of my head in any case.

Disclaimer: I am a mere Part I degree graduate with about four months’ worth of experience in practice, and I do not claim that everything stated here is correct. I humbly welcome any opinions and additional points. Terima kasih! ^_^

*cough* yes. Basic arithmetics is all you end up using in real life, kiddos!^^;

Many would think that the closest, most useful subject in relation to Architecture is Art. Like Art class, like drawing and colouring and being “creative” in general. I don’t think this is wrong, but it has to be emphasised that Architecture ≠ Art. I daresay that Architecture > Art, but really they’re just two different things.  And Architecture building design either. It’s about so much more than buildings. I feel it’s mainly about problem-solving. And about people, and places, and functions, spaces (man that’s such an overused word :nod: ), theories, and a small part happens to be about pleasing the aesthetics.

I was never an Art student, not officially, but I did take Visual Arts for SPM (but did not have the privilege of attending classes as I was a Science stream student. You’d think they’d have abolished the stream system by now, eh? :T ), and since primary level I often ended up being ushered away to participate in art competitions in other schools. (But also Mental Arithmetics competitions — pertandingan kira cepat :clap: — and one Science quiz, so there. :P ) (& winning or losing is never the point, of course.)

These perspectives were mainly from photos, to try and brainstorm ideas for a semi-detached house proposal.

My home life has always been related to craftsy activities, somehow or another. My mum used to sew stuff for the home and for us to wear (this was eons ago though), and I had an obsession with Art Attack and Home Deco shows (Debbie Travis, anyone? :B ), not to mention kiddy art books at the National Library (everything from papier mache to finger-weaving — I wanted to try them all! ^^; ), and then it was the dawn of the internet and BAM. A whole new universe of resources right at my fingertips. I guess my point is: it is useful to have an existing passion in some sort of creative field, for after awhile, you’ll find overlaps between all the different areas of design. I feel as if my so-called “experience” during childhood and teenagehood taught me basic things such as… the ability to eyeball the centre of a line, judging balance, proportion and variety, seeing and knowing different materials that are suitable for different functions, colourssss (but I’m quite terrible at this in the architecture-sense… which, I don’t know how to explain so let’s just leave it at that :X ), hand-eye coordination, observational skills, and so on.

I’m not saying all of the above has helped me as a student (I was certainly nowhere near being excellent in my degree. And even before that, I never envisioned myself ending up in architecture.), but a lot of it has. And you build up on the existing skills along the way, as well as gain new knowledge on things that you may have heard of only once or twice before. I feel like designing skills… can’t really be taught, so it’s mainly learned through project work and help from tutors, and from mistakes.

I think my phase of being interested in digital art (mainly my activities on deviantART [which consist of following the works of other artists, displaying your own work, and receiving feedback on them], plus being a faithful student of free Photoshop/Painter/Flash/Illustrator online tutorials) helped quite a bit as well. With Photoshop, the basic skills that I’ve found useful in archie stuff so far are, among others:

  • knowledge of layers, layer styles, and related functions
  • various methods of selection, including the pen tool, Color Range, Channels
  • photo/image-manipulation techniques
  • keyboard SHORTCUTS!!!
  • and other little stuff that make life easier, eg. Swatches, Brushes, History, Photomerge (!!!), etc.

Figuring out layouts (plans) require sketching, too. The bulk of the design stage is about placing things where they belong, and making them fit.-_-;

I have also been using a Wacom tablet for over seven years now, but I think, in the context of AutoCAD / Sketchup / 3DS Max / most of ze archie softwarez, a tablet does not have much of an advantage over a mouse. (Or maybe that’s because I only have the old Graphire3 model which has no cool buttons nor scrolling functions and the USB connection is faulty IthinkImightbedigressingnow.) I just find it more comfortable to use the tablet whenever I use Photoshop because I’m used to it. (I hear it also reduces the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome or other kinds of RSI. :D )

Knowledge of SketchUp (or other 3D modelling software) is also great to have. It would’ve been so much easier if I had basic knowledge of SketchUp during university (we were only taught the basics of 3DS Max, and trust me when I say the two programs are so very different) (on the other hand, some tutors despise the use of SketchUp in students’ works :X ). SketchUp is not difficult to pick up, but it definitely takes time to master. For instance, it was only recently that I discovered the actual function of Groups (that is, to prevent the different models from “sticking” to one another and hence being painfully annoying :cry: ).

AutoCAD (or other similar software) is also easy to pick up. It’s usually the more complicated functions that require F1 or Googling (I tend to favour the latter ;) ).

The three perspectives were just time-fillers, drawn from photos. The rest are ideas for signage design. Yes, did I mention architecture is more than just buildings?;)

Lastly, I would also recommend instilling a habit of sketching and drawing, with your good ol’ friends: a pencil (or pen. We’re talking about architects after all :P ) and paper. I’m a terrible example of following this advice myself, but a few benefits that I’ve discovered is — sketching helps you see what is in your head, and develop that blur into something more tangible, and then expanding into different options. Even doodling some shapes really helps your brain “see” it better. Drawing from life is best (sharpens your observational eye), but copying things from magazines or photos are good for just practicing too.


Ok end. Bye. :)

What do you think?

I think...