Anais Gowland graduated with a Bachelor of Interior Architecture at the University of SA in 2018, and she has some tips to share. Here she discusses the top three lessons she wished she’d known before graduating.
Upon reflecting at my time at uni, I sometimes can’t help but think “god I wish I knew then what I know now.” I’m not saying I have all the answers – and you’re definitely not supposed to come out of uni knowing everything – but these are just a few things I’ve noticed during my time at Architectus that will hopefully help you throughout your studies and beyond.
Consider what makes a project real
One of my favourite things about uni was the creative freedom I was given, particularly in interior architecture. Being able to design something to a brief, but without the restraints of a budget, or other real-world constraints is definitely something not to be taken for granted. My final studio turned into a sculptural installation stretching throughout an interior. Very metaphorical and super fun to design, but could it have ever actually been built? Probably not.
One of the main things I tended to overlook at uni was all the services or behind the scenes of a building that are actually required for it to function. These require design allowances and sacrifices for the sake of these services and for the sake of building functionality. Designed an amazing ceiling? That’s great but what about access panels into it? Found a really cool tile that you want to saturate a public space with? Awesome, but what about its slip rating, does it meet the standard? Want to have all the services exposed and show them off? Cool but how will that work acoustically?
I’m not saying you have to go whacking in ceiling access panels all over your final studio renders – take your creative freedom and roll with it – but in hindsight having a little more understanding of these things might have left me better prepared for the professional world. Some other questions to ask yourself to begin testing the management of practicalities in your project are:
- How will the material you’ve picked respond to wear and tear, is it the best choice for longevity of the space?
- If you’re choosing a timber finish, have you thought about which way the grain would run?
- What is the edge detail?
- Where would the joint lines be and are they visible?
- How large is the sheet size of the material you’ve chosen?
- Are you designing in the best way to minimise product waste?
As far as workflows or processes that I’ve picked up at work, there are definitely a few that could have made uni easier. This might be exposing myself for not knowing something obvious but KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS. Don’t judge, I’m sure I’m the only Revit user in the history of Revit users who didn’t know that DI could bring up dimensions, or that DL would get you a detail line… but if you’re like me and weren’t using these at uni, trust me they will save you time. The Autodesk website has a page that is well worth a glance over to learn any shortcuts for commands you often use in Revit! https://www.autodesk.com.au/shortcuts/revit
On that same Revit tangent, it’s been really interesting to see how the program is used in the professional world. There is so much it can do that I never really understood at uni, particularly with many different users in it at once. Another good command is Design Options, which allow you to do test fits of different layouts and designs within the one model space without having to hide elements in view etc. It’s sort of like the Revit version of yellow trace and although they can get a bit confusing, it’s a worthwhile tool if you’re trying to test out multiple layouts. There are some good YouTube tutorials on design options that can help you set up the basics.
Lastly, on software, I wish I had learnt Enscape at uni. When I graduated in 2018, it was still relatively new, and my general understanding of external render plug-ins was (and still is) pretty basic. We’re lucky enough to have access to VR software in my studio and Enscape has been a super handy tool to use to set up walkthroughs with clients with the VR headset. It’s also great day-to-day as a quick way to 3D check your design, model and materiality, and a great way to pick up any clashes that you might miss in 2D drawings. Take the chance to learn it at your own pace while you can!
So, there you go, the main things I wish I knew and hopefully they might be a help to you! Having said all that, I’m grateful for how prepared my uni left me for my transition into the professional world, and there are some things that you need to learn on the job as you go. You’ll surprise yourself with how quickly you pick things up in your day-to-day work life, and how quickly your confidence will grow.