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EAT, SLEEP, DRAW- The Healthy Architect

Written by  Sunday, 06 April 2014 20:18
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Many, many times in my early years as an architecture student, I escaped being more answerable about my own health. Often while friends asked, ‘girl, how come you lost weight like this now?’ I’d just simply reply with a wry smile, ‘you know, this Archi thing, I have not been sleeping’

I remember that during my OAU pre degree days, I told a roommate about my intention to study Architecture. She had said’ oh, I have a cousin in architecture presently; her eyes are now bulging out’. Sometime after that I also told a church brother the same thing and he’d looked at me pitifully, with the love of Christ, before saying, ‘architecture is stressful’

When I finally got into part one, I realised that even while we had not started architecture studio design courses, I was already keeping late nights drawing straight lines, writing abc’s, painting lizards and flowers and reading for tests and exams. I remember those days on the way back to Mozambique hall from the studio around 2 a.m. or 3a.m, my friend and I would make a quick advance to the aluta market to join a small queue for risky burger (for my non-OAU readers, risky burger is a risky combination of fried egg and semi-fried agege bread using risky utensils which could be eaten at risky hours of the night). Even then, I thought crashing was a thing for the lazy people until I saw a senior colleague bag ‘the best crasher’ award at the departmental dinner I attended while I was in part one.

When I got into part 2, I started taking architectural design studio courses alongside a modelling course and some other faculty courses, combined with the fact that I was not able to secure a bedspace on campus that year. Let me say, I did not lose weight that year, I out rightly became a slim girl! My breakfast was usually biscuit and milk while my dinner was anything closest to my drawing board. I slept everywhere else except my bed; I slept in the bus, slept on my drawing board and even during lectures. There was a particular time I was talking to someone outside the studio and I felt myself waking up about twice while I was standing, I can’t really explain what happened then but I had not slept in 72 hours.

As architecture students, can we eat, sleep and draw; I mean stay healthy and still meet deadlines?



Eating regularly and choosing healthy nutrition means having more mental and physical energy. I heard a true story of a guy who went to an exam hungry and failed.

Don’t leave home without a breakfast.

Studies have shown that breakfast skippers have poorer concentration, more fatigue, less healthy weights, and eat less fibre and other needed nutrients. Eating within an hour of waking up jumpstarts your metabolism and provides the fuel you need to get through a busy morning.

 It is cheaper and healthier to cook your own meals and you will come to realise that making your own breakfast could encourage you to wake up and start your day early.

There are lots of quick breakfast ideas that could also defy the no- time excuse. If you choose to eat out, make healthy choices.



It is not a childish thing to carry healthy snacks around especially for those jury-is –near days when you don’t even to leave your drawing board (if you still use one). Snack on fruits and take lots of water. Not eating late at night will help you wake up early. Coffee will definitely keep you up to meet deadlines but it might make you rest less. Studies show that coffee will keep you awake but it does not increase alertness and concentration- these you will need during the day, at least for your theory courses



Most often we sleep less to produce more drawings but we must also confess that sometimes our theory courses suffer for it. There will be times when we really must crash but the truth is we cannot produce the best of ourselves when worn out.

Is it possible then to sleep for at least 5hrs every day and still do well in studio? Yes! You will find out that you are more focused and productive during normal working hours.



So, all being said, how does the architecture student finally get to make many good drawings and smile during presentations if he eats well and sleeps well? It’s all about time management!

  • Plan your day, organise your work environment

Schedule your daily/weekly activities; keep to-do lists and use files and folders. Priotise your work according to urgency and importance.

  • Keep distractions away

These are movie, compiled TV series, computer games, social media and extra –curricular activities. Hey, I’m not preaching nerd-ism but when these activities start taking away from you hours of your time, do away with them.

  • Just start it

Every design project starts with conceptualising and this really takes time, sometimes half of the number of weeks given for the project.

It helps if you use a pencil and a sketchpad at the very initial stage. Starting on CAD straightaway is so rigid and stifles creativity.

If you are experiencing ablock, you can start with an easier part of the project, sometimes, something as simple as creating your title panels or designing the gatehouse. This might just be the ‘I have started ‘boost you need to continue.




written by 

-        Owolabi ifeoluwa

Read 2353 times

Online Editor at Interarchtiv Media Company

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