Linda Sze-To – University of Brighton (BA Architecture)

Unlike my previous education system, formal timed examinations and rigid memorization of textbook contents are no longer required. Instead, the inspirations for my design ideas are gained through daily observations and readings, which are critical approaches I have learnt and valued. Architecture in Brighton University has no exam besides a few open book tests. However, it is definitely a very time consuming course. In my case, I would be thinking about it while eating, while sleeping and even when I was doing my prayers to God. Studying architecture has been a lot of fun although it may seems a bit intense and stressful. My current studio tutor said  to us that “we are all pleasantly suffering” in architecture.
Studying Architecture, you will need to think a lot. I feel that university is more about finding yourself (that is what I have noticed in most Arts related subject). It helped me to know myself better. Through studying you will be able to find out you interest and your style of working. But I think socializing with people is even more important. Besides the content I am studying, I enjoy the time with my course mates and tutors in the studio. When design project begins, if you choose to work in the studio, you could be staying with your course mates for more than 6 hours a day every Monday to Saturday. A small tip: You would also get a lot more implications from your tutors if you work in the studio. Each studio group is like a small family, talking and working with my course mates has always been the most enjoyable part in my study.
Brighton University’s architecture is a more art-based course, that’s why I chose this school when I had first read their course description. There is often a confusion between the degree title of Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Does the title of the course indentify which way the course leans? At first, I thought the same too. Because one of our course mates had found Brighton’s BA architecture too difficult and went back to her home country to study BSc Architecture. She has to do so much more math calculations than we do. But in fact there is no difference. For instance, the Barlett is more art based, yet it’s a BSc. Therefore, it is very important to read the course prospectuses and the architecture schools aims before you make your choice.
You don’t have to become an architect if you study architecture. Three years ago there was a graduate in our school who was very interested in cooking and baking cakes. He even made his final year project out of edible food. I could still remember the fabulous odor coming from a corner of the final year degree show three years ago. A few weeks before Christmas holiday, our tutor told us that the student had actually went to a cooking school after graduation and he is now a qualified chef. Our tutor had once told us another story of a girl who always wanting to own a tea leaf shop in her small home town. She has even based most of her design on this topic. And now she has fulfilled her dream. Alternatively, one might fall in love with the charm and beauty of architecture. As a practicing architect once told me, “architecture is like a drug” that you can get addicted to.
Physics, Arts and Maths will definitely benefit your study in Architecture. Don’t worry if you are not good at them. Because I am not good at Physics either. Also, there are students who cannot draw by hand but can draw fabulously on computer. Studying IB might seems hard but I miss high school a lot. I miss studying physics although it’s my weakest subject. The thing I missed the most is the time I spent with my friends and staffs in school. Therefore, to all VSA students, remember to treasure every minute of your school life because you will always look back to it when you grow up.