I purchased a fantastic new book while in NY this summer, from Urban Outfitters of all places. It’s called ‘101 Things I learned in Architecture School’ by Matthew Frederick. #13 states ”space planner creates functional square footage for the office workers; an architect considers the nature of the work performed in the office environment, its meaning to the workers, and its value to society. A space planner provides spaces for playing basketball, performing laboratory experiments, manufacturing widgets or staging theatrical productions; an architect imbues the experience of these places with poignancy, richness, fun, beauty and irony.”

This has been a turning point in my education. We are all told at the beginning of each academic year, that we will all ‘get it’ at different times. From first year at university, right through to Part 3 exams or even once practicing as an Architect. There is a point at which it all comes together. You love architecture and no longer do it because you have to make it through the course, or because you’re working on a project in the office. You actually love it. It all makes sense. You love learning new things. And you are eternally enthusiastic.

This summer was a turning point in my education. Having being told for three years ‘Kirsty go mad, you’re at the Art School’ and ‘Part-timers are always thinking about the reality of what can be built, and not just letting go’ I feel like I finally understand, and I’m ready to be bold, make decisions, justify things, create ridiculous explanations, and above all have fun!

To be fair, you may not actually notice the difference in my work…but the important point is that I feel I get it now. Ha.

I’ve missed out on the ‘studio’ atmosphere by being part-time at the art school; the influences, the chats, peer discussions, being pushed out of your comfort zone and the community feeling surrounding the studio. In a way, I feel like that is what Twitter and the ArchitectMap community has provided me with this past 6 months. It’s a wealth of information, inspiration and above all like-minded peers ready to discuss, suggest and share.

Is it a leap forward from ‘ye olden days’ when your architect peers were your competition? Is the world moving forward to create more collaboration and team efforts? I bloody hope so. It’s much more fun!

So there we go, I think there is an informal qualification that we should all be issued with when the penny drops : From Space Planner to Architect.