Should I buy a Mac for Architecture?  — Here Is My Insight

Choosing the right machine to work with for those starting architecture school is a huge commitment for students as laptops can be expensive. You want to find the balance, one that will take on the tons memory space of drawings and graphics needed to support your work.

If you’re at the stage of buying a laptop you probably come across a bunch of spec comparisons on Google and read “The top 10 architecture laptops” blogs already. You’ve come to the conclusion that more or less apple might not support some programs you might need in the future but still haven’t chose a windows laptop because let’s be honest, they look very chunky, heavy and not so chic as Apple.

As an architect in training myself, 4 years ago I made the decision to buy a Macbook Pro before starting an architecture course (and I’ll tell you why in a bit), and I’ve used it all throughout the 3 years of Bachelors studies.

I’ve compiled my personal experience that will hopefully help you make a decision for yourself if you want to buy an apple laptop or otherwise.

What I will not talk about is specs, graphics comparisons because frankly, you can find these on Google from someone that knows this stuff better than I do.

1. I Was Able To Use All Necessary Software — Almost.

Firstly let me tell you as a student it’s very unlikely you will use the finest rendering software. Arguably, unless your course specifically specifies that you will get training or advised to use specific heavy software such as Revit or Maya then you shouldn’t be looking for a laptop in the first place, PC is the answer for you.

In terms of which programs I used or were able to download throughout my studies without a problem with my Mac were:

  1. All Adobe apps (Photoshop, Illustrator Indesign mainly)
  2. Rhino 2D and 3D*
  3. AutoCad
  4. Vectorworks
  5. SketchUp
  6. ArchiCad

*Rhino plugins such as Grasshoper are not compatible with Mac as far as I know.

Software that I was not able (also don’t recommend) to download and personally never used through university were:

  1. Revit
  2. V-Ray

So unless you are at a level which you know how to render, or planning to produce high quality renders then Mac might just handle everything you need for an architecture course.

2. My Mac Was Able To Handle 3 Years Worth of Work

Although you might get away with storing a lot of work on Mac I recommend putting everything on an external drive at least at the end of each year. This saved a lot of space and made my desktop prepared for the following year of study.

3. Weight Was Not a Problem

A lot of students that had windows laptop broke their backs carrying it from home to studio. As an architecture student, you need also take into account that you’ll be carrying rolls of drawings, sketchbooks, all your drawing pens and pencils, paints, models, portfolio along with your laptop.

MacBook Pro’s are quite light and although it was heavy to carry, it wasnt as bad as some other students that had other laptops.

4. Was Useful To Be Able To Carry It With Me Around Uni

Although this applies to any type of laptop I think the notion of using an Apple device was that its effortless, light and it looks chic. I carried it with me almost for every lecture I went in to take notes (or secretly working on my studio work when I was not supposed to), to every talk, to the library, at lunch, to the workshop, print shop, you get the idea. Your laptop will be your life, and apple just made that easier to handle.

5. The Apps are More Efficient And Simpler To Navigate

The reason why I chose to by a Mac for myself was purely because of this reason. Navigating through a Mac is SO MUCH more simpler than windows.

It’s easy and efficient.

When something makes my life easier I want it, and I don’t have regrets buying a Mac for university.

6. Easily Got Scratched

With all the positive notes I talked about its fair to mention a downside to taking my Mac everywhere. If you’re going to be precious about your laptops’ longevity then don’t bring it to the studio where people use glue, or cut stuff… like the woodshop.

I know, I should’ve been more careful but I want to stuff to work for me that’s why I buy them! The downside is by the time I got to the third year my screen got scratched so badly from the keyboard (yes the keyboard) and I am guessing it was from the wood dust that settled on the keys and the papers I would sandwich in between all the time.

If you’re careful with it then perhaps it could last you longer.

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