Studying Architecture Abroad? Here’s what you need in 2020

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Studying Architecture Abroad? Here’s what you need in 2020

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Studying Architecture Abroad ?

Here’s what you need…


Are you going to be studying architecture abroad? It could be anywhere abroad, around the world. I’ll be recommending 13 items every architecture student should have, before going to university. These items will come in handy when studying, designing, drawings and working on your architecture projects when studying at university.

13 essentials for Architecture University

You may get overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you have to buy as an architect or student. But in this modern age you do not actual need that much. Most of the items i bought at university were for experimenting but I ended up going back to basics of what I like to use on  a daily basis.  This list will also be useful for any architects at any level:

13. Phone

An obvious one. You want to take good shots of architecture so just make sure you get a phone with a Wide angle lens like this so you can get everything in the shot. Essential when traveling and studying architecture abroad

12. Computer

Lets get this over with quick, I’d recommend a desktop with a big screen . Laptop screens are too small. I dont want to get into specs too much but this is what I have and it runs Revit and Lumion fine.

With a computer you need to look at 4 things

1. graphics cards should be nvidia GeForce gtx 1060 or better

2. Ram at least 16gb then

3. Processor intel 2.2GHz or better and the last one 17 inch screener larger I’d you have a desktop

11. A3 portfolio case

A3 is the best so I’ve had this for over 20 years it was expensive when I got it but well worth it because you will likely take it to A3 size to job interviews in future so get a good one like this that doesn’t fall to bits . I used to have an A1 size at uni so you will probably need both really. You need to protect your work. Especially if you do hand drawings.

10. Binder clips

These are handy for projects you are currently working on – they save you putting them in these folders all the time and you can clip on pieces of ripped up tracing paper etc . You can use different clips for different projects or drawings and you can access them quickly and easily.

9. Measuring tape

This will be usually for students because you need to start learning basic sizes of things so if you are at home you want to know how high a desk is or how big a fridge is for example – it’s better to measure it yourself instead of trying to find it on the internet where it’s probably wrong. Or some items you might not find in a book or on the Internet.

8. Clutch pencil

Get one of these – its a classic architect pencil with a thick 4B lead it’s good for expressive and speedy sketching, which you need. And it’s actually my favourite pencil for designing so if recommend this.

7. Pens

when it comes to drawing pens you only need 3 or 4 thicknesses really . These scragglier pigment fineliners are good. They are lightweight and have a thin end son the can be easily used with ruler. Personally I don’t like the ones you have to refill they are a bit old fashioned and I hated using them at uni because they leaked and everything. But you might need them if you are doing a lot of drawing. Other pens- I wouldn’t recommend these coloured marker pens really. I bought a bunch when I started they were very expensive and I never really used them. Also make sure you get a thick black marker pen and also medium red one to mark stuff up on your revised plans and so on. These pens should all come in handy anyway.


6. Scale ruler/ get one like this –

like this one has many scales on it. Some of my tutors at school said they hated them because they are too big or thick but you simply can’t get so many different scales in other rulers. I mean this has 6 different scales on and I used these all the time. I’ve also got these portable ones which are quite handy too.

5. Sketchbooks.

I’ve gone thru a lot , A5, A3, square ones, ring binder ones. A4 is best and make sure you bound I mean stitched together. Also it should have nice thick cartridge paper like this one . Don’t get the ring bound ones like this. They fall apart and you should learn not to dispose of sketches, so you don’t want to be ripping stuff out anyway.

4. Coloured pencils –

this were a staple for me I used all the time. So try and get a decent set not a cheap set from the supermarket. Don’t get bright colours like I did- get natural or earthy colours – these are the best for building design.

3. Model making tools –

I don’t actually have any now but you defiantly need at least an A3 size cutting Matt (A4 is too small) and a cutting knife and a cutting metal rukker filler-. Don’t get the flat rulers unless you want to cut your fingers off. Get the metal rulers that are raised they help you cut more safely. And don’t for get big tubes of UHU glue which was the best glue when I was at uni. Not sure what it is now. Maybe everything has changed now. You might be doing more 3D printing nowadays anyway.

2. Books.

Don’t go too crazy because you should be able to get these at your library. So if you are going to buy books just get the reference ones not the pretty ones because you won’t use them much at all. So I recommend just 3 here. AJ metric hand book is something you always need for design data like design dimensions and design guides for different building types start designing types. For quick general reference book, architects handbook is a good one which I still use today. For construction knowledge I would defiantly recommend Building construction handbook by Roy Chudney has everything about drawing construction details which you will need because this is quite difficult for students. Which you will defiantly need when you do construction drawings. You can probably get these in PDF but these ones are good to buy because u probably know it’s kinda horrible having to go thru a PDF on a screen.

1. Tracing paper

try and get a roll. Some countries like here it’s difficult to find. You can get yellow stuff like this if you wanna look cool like me. However that sometimes is a problem if you want to scan and reuse the sketch. Or then transparent which is good. Or you can get it in sheet sizes like this A4 one which is expensive or I remember I used to get masking paper which was think white paper which was actually the cheapest. But what ever you get. Get a lot because you will need it. Maybe get a big yellow roll and and transparent roll.


I hope this list serves you well for studying architecture abroad or even architects at any level. Most of these items I still use today, so I would say its the kind of stuff I can’t live without when being an architect.


✅ Items here:

Building Construction Handbook:

Architects Pocket Book

AJ Metric Handbook

Scale Ruler  –

Clutch Pencil

A4 Sketch Book  –

Cutting Matt  –

Binder Clips

Staedtler Pigment Fine Liners



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