Arch 101: Studying Architecture

Why should you study Architecture? Simple, because Architects are gods, why else?

Ok I kid, but we’re the closest thing this side of heaven.


Are you in your final year in secondary school, trying to decide what subjects to choose as you enter your final lap? Considering a change in course? Or just generally experiencing a mid-life crisis?


If you are in the last group, this post is definitely not for you as rash decisions made on some despair – high never end well.


If you are serious about this, this foray into the world of Architecture, this article should start you on your way.


The calling of being an Architect is a great privilege bestowed upon a select few and it should never be misused.

Yes, I said calling and no, this isn’t a seminary recruitment blog.


Architecture in its most basic form caters to one of the main needs of every human – Shelter.

And in its not so basic form, which is what you will be studying, Architecture is concerned with aesthetics, physics, balance, sociology, horticulture, climate change, psychology, mathematics(don’t run yet), form, shape, biology, politics, time travel and love.




Everyday Architects around the world are called on by clients to design ‘shelters’ that fulfill their needs in all of these areas. It is the job of the Architect to anticipate and read and guess the things hidden between the lines in the briefs they are given and create something that fulfills the client’s requirements as much as possible.


But I digress.


Let’s start from the beginning; to get into any university in Nigeria you must have written the UME and WASSCE or NECO and the most important subjects are Mathematics, English, Physics, Biology, Technical Drawing/Building construction( depending on what your school offers). You do not need to know how to draw like an artist to study Architecture because as architect Lou Kahn once famously said, “An artist can make a cart with square wheels, but an Architect can’t.”


However having some basic art skills and appreciation will serve you well in the long run.

Getting into a School of Architecture, in your first year, you should expect a recap of your final year in secondary school, a bit of Mathematics, calculus, Physics, perspective drawings, freehand sketches, also your first design studio will introduce to you the various concepts and principles of design, a preparation for the things to come in your next 5 years, and this first year is the time to prepare to face a lot of sleepless nights, designing and defending your designs.


Architecture school will teach you a lot in History of Architecture, Structural engineering, How to draw, interior design, landscape Architecture, land surveying, quantity surveying, AUTOCAD etc, what it won’t teach you is how to think, because Architecture is first about thinking and the philosophy of your ideas  before expressing them in a design. As much as technology is shaping the world we live in, Computer Aided Design (CAD) software are not a substitute for actually knowing how to use a drawing board and pen to design, there is a reason they are called computer aided, they are merely to aid your concept and design process.


A couple of tips to make your six year journey a little smoother: always be ready to learn from your lecturers, from your colleagues and nature, be prepared to ask questions, introduce yourself, discuss, knock on doors and absorb, absorb, absorb; pay attention to details, from the design process to the construction of your designs, to the pin-up of your work – attention to minute details always counts. Don’t spend all your waking hours in the studio, wake up and smell the grass, come up for air and socialize with non-Architecture students.


On a final note, some important things you will need going into Architecture school,

A Drawing table; Usually provided by the school.

Loads and different sizes of drawing paper, cardboard, tracing paper


Masking tape

Scale rule

Sketch books: to save and work out the best ideas

Books: Reference books

Magazines for inspiration

Camera for when inspiration strikes you.

Finally a lot of guts and determination.






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