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A Style Guide for the Architectural Grad Student

Michelangelo, Gaudi, Wright, Piano, Calatrava — all brilliant men, all with great personal style.


Michelangelo, Gaudi, Wright, Piano, Calatrava — all brilliant men, all iconic architects who have left a unique mark on the world’s man-made landscape. Each boasted a style all his own when designing timeless buildings and structures, but each also had a strong sense of personal style that embodied the meticulousness of their craft. An architect’s attire and tools capture a practicality and fashion that meld together brilliantly — none of it superfluous or overwrought, but with enough crisp élan to be noticed. Think Renzo Piano’s oxford shirts, Santiago Calatrava’s small-diameter, metal-framed eyeglasses, Frank Lloyd Wright’s draping scarves. For grad students spending countless hours in the classroom and studio, here’s the right style to take you through your degree and into your architecturally formative years.


Notes and Drafting Done Right


Dell XPS 15 Touch ($2,600+)
Without a truly bonkers laptop, your modern design skills might as well be left with stone-age tools.

AutoCAD for Windows ($140/month)
AutoCAD has come a long way since 1982, and the latest version brags major improvements.

X-ACTO X5282 Basic Knife Set ($16)
An Xacto basic knife set provides just about every blade and handle you need.

Alvin 110 Series 12-Inch High Impact Plastic Triangular Scale ($6)
Doesn’t cost much more than a bagel, and it’s indispensable when it comes to scaling drawings.

Trips to the Studio

Wear Your Savvy on Your Sleeve


Santiago Calatrava: The Complete Works ($45)
Calatrava is a living legend in architectural circles; this oversize book follows his career highs and reproduces his drawings.

Fjällräven Raven Jacket ($250)
Keeps things slim but protective, and has plenty of pockets for all your study gear.

Winter Session Felix Bag ($265)
Plenty of pockets for books, papers and gear, and a design that may top your latest creation.

Staedtler Lumigraph Pencils ($22)
As brilliant as modern technological tools are, there’s nothing like work forged by hand.

Portfolio Presentation

Designed to Impress


Oliver Peoples Fairmont 47 Frames ($340)
Contact lenses are for the birds. Fairmont 47s are shaped in thin acetate for an appropriately vintage “genius architect” look.

Oak & Oscar Burnham Watch ($1,450)
A watch with a matte gray sandwich dial that’s equal parts modern and vintage: perfect design geekery.

Wolverine 1000 Mile Black Boot ($360)
A good pair of well-made boots can go from jeans to khakis to suits, perfect for class to presentation.

Joshua Ellis for J.Crew Wool Cashmere Scarf in Chalk Stripe ($165)
You don’t have to be Frank Lloyd Wright to pull off a scarf, but you do have to choose wisely.

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