Undine in front of a project poster

A day in the life of an architecture student

Read about what a typical day is like Undine Evalde as an Architecture BA(Hons) student at Brighton.

Before starting my studies as an architecture student, I knew close to nothing about the field. Now looking back on it, I believe that was what enticed me. My studies have been far from usual since I started university during the Covid pandemic. Nevertheless, my time at Brighton University has been eventful and fulfilling. In this blog, I will delve deeper into the last year of my studies to highlight what a day in a life of an architecture student might entail.

I wish I could tell you that I am one of those people who wake up hours in advance and get a full gym routine in before going to the university, but the reality is that I just love my sleep too much. I start my day by trying to wake up at 7.30am. After I have snoozed the alarm one too many times I finally wake up an hour later!

While making my breakfast I make a packed lunch to bring with me to the university. When I realise I have spent my morning too leisurely and am, in fact, already running a bit late, I hop onto my bike and cycle to the studio. I have found that cycling to university saves me an immense amount of time in the morning, as I don’t have to wait for the bus.

As I enter the studio I meet all my friends as they arrive. First, I do my last bits of work from the night before. Often morning time in the studio is for me to print out and double-check what I have been working on.

Soon our tutors arrive and everybody sits around the table, ready to discuss their work. In the first part of the meeting, our tutors talk through the next stages of the project and we ask questions and discuss the brief. After 30 minutes or so, we sign up to have an individual tutorial with our chosen tutor to discuss our projects one on one.

University life is not all work and no play – there is always time for socialising.

I like to put my name somewhere in the middle, to give myself an extra hour to organize my work and set out all the questions I want to discuss.

When my name is called I set up my laptop and pull out all the printed work and guide my tutor through my latest project development and all the constraints I have come across.

Most often these informal chats help me clear my head about my design aims and the next steps for me to take. I feel inspired to continue my work as I have gained a new perspective.

As the day continues, I sit beside my friends and we all work to improve our designs, occasionally chatting about our daily gossip or our projects.

During lunch time we go downstairs to the canteen and have our packed lunches and tea.

The rest of the day is spent working individually next to one another, communicating about the newfound constraints and discussing the newest projects that have inspired us. Sometimes that also includes running to the workshop to build a new model that would help the design process.

My last project, for example, included a group site model, where I had the opportunity to work together with my coursemates. We spent a week making a model of Lewes Bus Station. It is really exciting to see the scaled-down version of an already existing site. This work then helped my group in the further design process. We built bridges from building to building, created new corridors, extruded walls, added canopies and removed roofs. It almost feels like playing with a little doll house, but serves great importance in improving the design process.

Sometimes we leave the university building as it closes. On Friday evenings we head to a student bar together. On other days I head home. I used to tell myself that I would do more work as I get home, but in reality, it never pans out that way, therefore I try and stay in the studio for as long as my hunger allows.

On days when I find it hard to focus I spend my time productively by going to the university gym. In a rather compact space, they have all the equipment I need and more. During the week I would try out at least one new class with my coursemates. Last time we went to a boxfit class and I was not prepared to do so many squats. The next day my cycle to the university had to be exchanged for a bus ride.

My late evening consists of either a silly movie or, if my flatmates are convincing enough, we go out for a boogie. There is always some place exciting to go to in Brighton, but we most often end up at Revenge or the Green Door Store if they have gigs on that night. Only when going to a pub we would have an unspoken rule about trying out a new one every time. Nevertheless, I am certain that in three years I have not managed to see half of the pubs in Brighton as there are so many of them.

The architecture student life never fully leaves me as often my dreams are also filled with projects. I would say it is the time I come up with the best ideas. Therefore, I am never interested to sacrifice my sleep!

Throughout my studies as an architecture student, I have learnt how important it is to learn to manage your time. A single day can create a huge difference in the quality of the project. For better or worse, architecture projects cannot be drawn up in the last week, therefore setting out a well-organized structure to stick to on a daily basis is crucial.

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