Architecture is well-known as one of the more expensive professions to study given the high costs for supplies. The fast-paced rhythm of traditional studio courses requires students to present their design ideas using drawings, diagrams, renderings, and collages—usually plotted onto paper—adding to the already high cost of creating physical models. The price tag for studying and practicing architecture is a cost that the entire profession has assumed, for better or worse.
If you aren’t one of the lucky few residing in a country or state in which education is free, or in which there are significant financial aid support systems, the constant extra cost of building models and printing presentation materials has a big impact. In the best case (and only in cases in which the family is in the fortunate position to do so) parents supplement the extra money need; but in many cases, students must work while studying. What else can you do when you’re expected to produce a final project or thesis that can total hundreds or even thousands of dollars to produce?
But is this still the case today? Now, almost everything can be realized and shown digitally. Some schools are incentivizing this approach while others remain steadfast in conveying the importance of showing things “off-screen.” Plus, even beyond discussions of cost, there is the topic of material waste.
What was/is your experience like? How did you fund the full-color plotting, the chipboard, the glue, and copious amounts of tape? Do you think it’s something that should be changed?