The 22 Stages of Architecture School All-Nighters

Carey in Stage 2 of an Architecture School All-Nighter
Students of Architecture intimately know the meaning of the term “all-nighter” and as an alumnus of Georgia Tech’s architecture program I feel that it is important that I share with you, my internet pals, each of the various stages that you pass through during an all-nighter so that you might better navigate the dicey straits of educationally-induced sleep deprivation if ever you chance to find yourself staring down the barrel of an 8:30am class deadline. What follows is a typical night before the deadline for a typical architecture student….

You have officially entered into evening. The studio is half full and you begin to feel the tug of “quitting time” as you see students with other majors walking back to their dorms. Some of your fellow students drift out to grab some dinner. Go ahead and join them, you might as well have something in your stomach for all that’s about to follow.

Welcome back to the studio! You’re full of food, full of spirit and full of commitment to make it home in time to get some sleep. With the feeling that you currently possess there’s a good chance that you might finish by Midnight and head home to get a great night’s sleep, shouting “So long suckers!!!” at your classmates on your way out the door. Now: where’d you put your 45 degree triangle?

Hmm, still going strong… but you just remembered that you need to do a bird’s eye view of the project and you haven’t touched the rough pencil-lined version you made about a week ago…. crap, your professor just HAD to go and “help” you “radically improve the design” two days ago. Man that chump just added two hours to your schedule. Still, making it out of here by 2am isn’t bad. Hey, did somebody just take your electric eraser?

STAGE FOUR – 10:37:04PM
Wow. You just had a really calm moment just now, but then you kind of forgot what you were drawing. The Morissey coming out of Stephen’s boombox ten feet to your left just mixed with the Billy Bragg coming out of Laurie’s boombox ten feet to the right and made MollyBraggissey right in the middle of your head… and who’s going to clean that muck up?? Still, the little jib-jib-jab-jab of sad Brits is creating a noise cancellation zone right in the middle of your soul and it’s helping you to make those short little tick marks for the brick pattern you’re drawing. Love the brick pattern, hate to ink it. How much farther to go? Let’s see… hey, two rows finished!! Out of.. mumble, mumble, carry the three, mumble,mumble…. oh crud. This is going to take a bit longer than you thought. What time did you say you’d be getting out of here? No I can’t remember either. Anyway, it’s coming up pretty soon now. Just keep drawing.

Okay, time to stand up and stretch. Heck, get up go downstairs to the vending machine and treat yourself to some Ho Ho’s – after all, you didn’t eat dessert while you were at Wendy’s. On your way through the studio take notice of exactly how many boomboxes are actually playing now; lots of them. The noise blends from step to step to step.

Wow, Midnight is almost here and you’re not nearly as finished as you told yourself you’d be. Do you always underestimate like this? Work, work, work. Put your head down and work. Hey, you have to work on your model some…..

Did you feel that? Your consciousness just sort of ‘rippled’ for a split-second. I think your body is wondering why you’re not laying in bed watching TV right now. What are you supposed to be doing right now? Oh yeah, a model. Well it’s not so bad now, that ripple was nothing. The model? Yeah, yeah, yeah I’m ON IT.

Feelin’ pretty good now. Two drawings are 85 percent finished and the model is looking pretty darned sweet. That tower is like, the coolest thing going. Maybe it could use another X-Acto blade poking out of its roof. It’s looking so good that you’d best turn your attention back to the…… the…. um, oh yeah, the third drawing.

Well, that clock sure did spin around pretty quickly – but look at what you have to show for it! Your watercolor isn’t really the best you’ve ever done but the blue sky really sets off the area that you masked off so you could ink in the details of your drawing. You know, you never really figured out what’s happening on this end of the building.. but that’s okay, Carey’s designing a building made entirely out of men’s stand-up urinals – who’s going to notice an undetailed wall when your sky looks this good!

Okay, just five hours until you have to be done. You’re getting close to getting out of here on your schedule…. wait, no, that would’ve meant you’d have left the studio an hour ago and that didn’t happen did it? Did it?

Time for coffee and maybe some chocksalot donuts. Heh, did you just say “chocksalot” instead of “chocolate”? Heheheh, that’s kind of funny. And hey, Magnus just walked by with a piece of toilet paper stuck to his foot….hehehe – oh my gosh, Joel’s drawing looks like a giant robot penis and Mike just stuck his X-Acto in his hand AGAIN!! AAHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Wooooooo, this is the most amazing moment you’ve ever experienced in your entire life!! Color are brighter, sounds are lush, the fugue rolling around in your head is exhilarating and you are the funniest you’ve ever been in your LIFE!!

Who ARE these people around you and why are they all so gosh-darned LOUD!!!! Oh my GOD they’re so damned loud!! Can’t they see that you’re trying to…. to DO something with these things in front of you…. with a pen maybe, or… some glue?

Hey, your model isn’t done yet and there’s another thing you need to do…. what was it? Maybe if you lay down under your drafting table for a five minute nap you’d be able to remember what that thing was?

All about you is carnage, you’re going to die alone. Why is Erica yelling at Chris? Why is Chris curling up on the floor? Did you just see Tony walk past you with red marker streaks all over his face? Channing just took his drafting stool apart and glued it to his model. Oh shit. The model, did you do it yet? DID YOU!!!?? Hey, Andy just showed up and started doing his first drawing!

Screw the drawings, they’re as done as you’re going to do them and if that fat-head professor has anything to say to you about it you’ll drag his smarmy ass out into the parking lot and beat the ever-lovin’ puddin’ out of him with your electric eraser and HEY you found your electric eraser!!! And you’re staring at your outstretched hand like a one year old. Snap out of it.

Okay, your model needed that coat of black spray paint – it really gave it that certain “ummph” that the white spray paint didn’t have (especially since there was a coat of candy apple red spray paint under that). You really should ask somebody how long you’re supposed to wait between coats of paint because it’s looking kind of…. kind of “saggy”.

No WONDER the tower in your model looked so BIG!!! It’s the wrong damned scale!! Who’s going to build a thirty story turret on a community library anyway!!??? Just don’t…. okay, tell me you didn’t just touch the freshly-painted jet black tower because the fingerprints would — wait… is your paint-covered hand now resting on top of your rendering, you know, the one with the really nice blue sky??

Okay your model repair is halfway decent, thank goodness that Tim had an extra piece of wood that he was decent enough to let you have. Nevermind that your model is made of paper that looks like it was intentionally spray painted to look like lava. Next time remember to a) hold the spray paint tip more than ONE INCH away from your target, and b) don’t touch what you spray paint within TWO SECONDS of the paint hitting it. What’s left to fix? Nothing? Wait, no, something.

Bloody Hell, the bird’s eye view drawing – you haven’t even touched it yet. No time for drawing perspective lines now, this has got to be finished BY HAND. What could possibly go wrong?

Curses, the sun is rising. Why are you STILL here?? Oh no, is that nausea that you’re feeling? Is your head a little swimmy? For real, you need to go throw up. You just watched the sun go down a little while ago – this isn’t natural.

Serenity. You have lived through a night of horrors, your drawings are as done as they could possibly be, the model has been repaired, there is nothing but the sound of working – the music has faded to silence. Life: it’s for the living – you’re a survivor. There’s a Zen to being Zenned out in Zen-ness and you are the still point of that Zenninnity.

The professors just showed up and announced that your class can have another six hours to finish your projects. You just thought of something you can do with that extra X-Acto knife blade… and it involves car tires.

4 Comments on “The 22 Stages of Architecture School All-Nighters”

  1. It was always around 4am that I started to feel that slip in my consciousness. The top artists from Senior year were George Michael and Jane’s Addiction (tim’s fault as I recall). Also, Carey arguing with his professor about how he should get to present his project even if the professor thought it totally did not resemble anything in the requirements and Joel doing perfect ink drawings… Ha, ha,ha – at least now I can do perfect drawings since “I have a computer”!

  2. 1) You always worked at your parents’ house!
    2) Billy Brag was from Matt Greer or Vard, Lori just copied.
    3) All nighters do not just include architects, ya non animatin’ rubes! :P

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