6 Ways to Make your Architecture Studio feel like Home

I know, I know. You are probably thinking “Now why in the world would I WANT to make studio feel like home? I want to be in studio as little as possible!” Well, the truth of the matter is that you will spend a LOT of time in your studio. Even if you work from home or somewhere else outside of studio hours, you are still in your studio for at least 15+ hours a week (and that’s probably pretty conservative). So if you are going to spend all that time there, you may as well at least make it feel more like a “home away from home”. Here’s 6 Ways to make your architecture studio feel like home…

1. Move in. It’s simple, bring your stuff up there! Most architecture schools give each student at least a desk they can claim as theirs for each semester/quarter. We had a desk space and set of drawers that were ours each quarter. And at the beginning of each quarter, we all “moved in”… we brought our bookshelves (homemade to fit our desks), books, desk lamp, coffee makers, etc. We personalized our spaces by adding pictures of family and friends and also some inspirational design images. Our studio class would even coordinate what appliances each of us had, so one group would bring a mini fridge and another group brought a microwave. After a couple of years of figuring out our system, we pretty much had everything you needed to survive for a few days without ever going home.

2. Have your late night/early morning necessities. You more than likely will experience some all-nighters during your collegiate career in architecture. So to stay feeling somewhat “clean”, we all started keeping mini overnight bags in our studio drawers. We had the late night necessities – deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, facial wipes, body mist, contact solution, and hairbrush. This bag became especially handy when you stay up all night in studio and have to go straight to class in the morning. When you don’t have time to go to your real “home” to clean up, it’s nice to have these necessities handy at your studio home. Also, if you’re cold-natured like me, keep a sweatshirt or two at your desk.

3. Keep a drawer full of snacks! We all get hungry while we work… especially around 2 or 3 am. We kept our drawers full of treats like breakfast bars, pop-tarts, chips, pretzels, chocolate, etc. And… if you and your studio mates work together to get that mini fridge, you can even keep healthier snacks like celery and carrots – and also lots of cold energy drinks. Keeping some snacks in studio can help prevent always taking those midnight fast food runs which could save you some money. 

4. Make it comfy. Many of my friends invested in a nice desk chair for studio. Again, you spend a lot of time in studio which mainly means working on your computer from a chair. While it may not be the first thing you want to spend money on, your back will definitely thank you for it later. If you don’t want to buy a new desk chair, grab a pillow or one of those back cushions to help make it a little easier on those back muscles. And if you really want to splurge, you can get one of those really awesome sit-to-stand desks… I’d take one of those now…

5. Find what works for you. One of the biggest arguments students have as to why they refuse to work from studio is the noise and distractions. While I agree it can be hard to concentrate in studio, 75% of my fondest memories of architecture school came from working in studio with my crazy studio mates around me. So how did I get work done? I’d put my headphones on and zone in. I found what genre of music I worked best to and I’d get focused. For some of my friends, they put their headphones in and listen to a TV series or movie in the background. One of my closest studio mates watched the entire Breaking Bad series like 3 times over during grad school. If it’s still really hard for you to focus on your work, try getting a desk closer to the edge of the studio or a corner spot so that you’ll have less people walking around you. 

6. Actually work from studio! Studio culture is a vital part of the architecture school experience and crucial to making your studio feel more like home. I worked from home all of my first year of studio and part of my second year. Finally, I gave up lugging my drafting board, model supplies, drafting supplies, and laptop back and forth between my studio and my home. After just a couple of weeks of working in studio and having some late nights with my studio mates, I realized how much I had been missing out on. Not only did I have people to talk through my ideas and designs with and to ask for their opinions, but I started forming friendships that I still have today. Our studio culture we developed made us feel more like family than just studio mates, and that started to make our studio feel less like a studio and more like home. Late nights became a little less stressful and a bit more fun. So if you are just starting architecture school or if you are just thinking about it, give this a try and make your architecture studio feel more like home.

This blog post is part of the “ArchiTalks” series on the topic “House” or “Home”. Please enjoy some more great blog posts on this topic from the list below:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
The Designation between House and Home

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: House or Home?

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
House or Home? The Answer to Everything

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
our house is home

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Emotional Marketing for Architects: House or Home?

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
House or Home? It’s in the story.

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
House or Home? A Choice of Terms

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
house or home: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
House or Home — Discover the Difference

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“house” or “home”?

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #24 : House or Home

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
House or Home? – Depends

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
House or Home? Train for One, Design for Another

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
A Rose by Any Other Name…

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
House or Home

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
6 Ways to Make your Architecture Studio feel like Home

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Making a House a Home

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Dwelling on a Macro scale

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
House or Home

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
I don’t design homes

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
House or Home: One’s a Place, the Other a Feeling.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
Architalks – A House is not a home

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#ArchiTalks #24 House or Home? #RefugeeCrisis @GrainneHassett mentioned

Also…

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