This is a commercial break for introductory classes to architecture that I offer throughout the summer.

The Architecture 101 Workshops are for students at all levels including IEP and ELL students. We review and discuss the topic for the week, look at images and do sketches of our ideas. After the introduction of the subject, I present the students with a design challenge based on that topic. The students can work individually or in teams. I leave that up to them. What’s interesting about this is that about 75% of the students work with another student. I also participate in the class, developing my ideas as I assist the students as they request it or seem to need some help.

After the design challenge is presented and the students have had an opportunity to mull over some ideas, I teach them how to draw to scale using simple exercises.

Then, after they have learned to draw to scale, they get back to the projects, developing their ideas.  I encourage the older students to draw plans and elevations to scale as an architect would because it helps them clarify their thoughts and ideas and is helpful when they begin to work on their models.

There is much exploration, creative  activity and sharing of ideas around the table as we work. It’s a lot of fun for me and the students.

At the end of the week, the students have drawings and models that they can take home and share with their friends and family.

Some of the areas of exploration that are covered during these class sessions are:

How we live: Adjacency of different building types, relationship of human activities to the organizations of towns and cities, circulation patterns and an increased awareness of our built environment.

Cultural values: What is important in different cultures and how it is expressed in terms of built forms.

History: How our building types have developed over the centuries and why.

Math: The younger students are not aware of it but there is a reinforcement of what they have learned in school in terms of addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, geometry and scale.

City planning: We will look at layouts of different
cities around the world and use those ideas for designing “Our Town” or in the City Planning class.

Team work: Some of the projects encourage collaboration and students will choose to work in teams as we typically do in a design office. .

Confidence in ideas: Sometimes we lose confidence in ourselves and our ideas. In this class, everyone’s ideas have merit and creativity is encouraged.

Synthesis of information: There is use of a wide variety of knowledge in different areas to create a solution to a design challenge.

The most important part of the workshops, though, is to have fun.

For a list of workshop topics that will be offered this summer, go to Architecture 101.