What is a UM Architect Graduate

This is entirely how I feel about what it takes to be a UM Architect Graduate.

At the end of the 5th year, all the skills are there.

First, the DESIGNER. If I give the graduate a problem, he or she (I will use she after this) will turn the problem around, inside out and 180 degrees. It will never be linear thinking. It will never be enough, just one solution or even two or three. She will probe the problem as deeply as she can. She will ascertain what the problem is. She will never be satisfied until she is certain. Then, she moves in the next step.

Meaning, the DESIGNER finds out all she is to know about the problem. Here, the problem could be anything. A toilet or a set of stairs even. The thing is the DESIGNER knows that it is not about pleasing her boss, that she is delivering the work. It is about the right idea for the design. It could be a combination of ideas. But the only way for her to get it right is by TESTING the ideas, again and again.

First, she will put her idea/s against the Client’s Brief. Often she neglects this in the past. She has heard her tutor mentioned about program and brief, but after her experience in the 5th year, she now knows better. The Client’s Brief is so important, even if there is no brief, she’s got to make it up or build it up based on whatever she has got.

Secondly, she will test her idea/s against the Function of the problem. Everything thing useful in life has a function, so she must find out the function. There could be multiple functions.She has gone through this before. The complexity of the problem often rooted in the function of the problem. One small thing can be so many things or it can be just one thing.

Thirdly, she will test her idea/s against the Context, be it site or area of the place. Apart from a proto-typical project, her testing will always be on the context of the site or area.

Lastly, she will have to test her idea/s against the User’s needs. This is the special study. Because the design will be habitable by humans, we design it. Of course we have projects habitable by animals, such as zoo, but humans are involved.  So we always forget about this, but it is the most crucial thing. Designing for the User.

To be a UM Architect Graduate, you must be a DESIGNER.

All those 5 years of becoming a designer, you had all sorts of input: environmental science, history, structures, material science, construction. The know-how of design, you learned in the studios. You learned how to draw properly and how to present your work and talk about your work.

After 3 years, you should have all the skills to be an Assistant Architect. You must be able to DESIGN, albeit in a very technical way. What do  mean by this? You must earn that paper qualification – BSc Architecture. Earn it, not given to you for free.

That means you must be able to draw well and have correct graphic representation. You can produce a set of working drawings. Detail out construction properly. Draw a section of roof gutter correctly. Draw with a technical pen or pencil. Draw a freehand perspective using a 0.6 artline pen of a spatial idea correctly.

Yes, these are my thoughts. Each student must have basic skills and that they can expand on these skills. And explore what they feel.


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