Architectural Drafting & Design I: An Online Architecture Class

Jul 6, 2017

Whether you are homeschooling or your public or private school just doesn’t offer this opportunity, your high schooler can take architecture classes online with Excelsior Classes. In Architectural Drafting & Design I & II, students learn to see, think, and draw like architects!

Students starting out in any design field are usually limited in their creativity by what they already know. The first step is learning observation. When you can look at something like a chair, and see it as lines and shapes and values, then you have more creative possibilities for reimagining it.

In these online architecture classes, students also learn drafting. You might be wondering why drafting is still taught when virtually no one in the profession uses it anymore. It’s because the thought process and the relationship of objects is the same in CAD, or Computer Aided Design. Drafting by hand is more accessible to students and makes the concepts, such as orthographic projection, easier to learn. It also trains the hand to draw straight lines.

Spatial reasoning is another useful skill that students learn in these architecture classes. Learning to visualize a 3D object from a 2D drawing is essential to the field of architecture and design. Students also learn the conventions for representing a 3D object on a 2D page in plan, section, and elevation.

Three projects focus on these skills throughout the semester.

Project 1: Portrait Value Analysis

The Portrait Value Analysis project is an exercise in identifying line, shape, and value. Students select a photo of a person or pet and use the compositional principles we talk about to position and crop the photo. They identify the areas of different value, and draw lines to enclose the shapes which consist of a single value. Students use four values including white, and must interpret each shape in one of the four values. The values are rendered in one of the four shading techniques that the students learn (hatching, cross-hatching, scribbling, or stippling). The result is an abstract modeling of a three-dimensional figure.

architecture class

Project 2: Building a Drawing / Drawing a Building

In this project, students draw a building or street scene from observation. They first learn to establish the structure of the drawing, then identify foreground, middleground, background, and focal point. Applying spatial depth cues, they represent a three-dimensional building and space on a two-dimensional page. Students add value and detail to create a finished architectural drawing.

architecture class

Project 3: Treehouse on Stilts

In the final project of the first semester, students design a treehouse and represent it with a floor plan, elevations, a section, and a site diagram. Beginning with a 10 ft. x 10 ft. cube on 10 ft. high stilts, students use analytical drawing to manipulate the cube with additive and subtractive geometry. They consider function, conceptual form, and materials, and practice the conventions of orthographic drawing. The final drawings are done in ink.

architecture class

Excelsior Classes provides a unique opportunity for your high school student to learn architecture and design online! Stay tuned for an overview of Architectural Drafting & Design II in another installment…

Melisa Kaiser is a homeschool mom of four and teaches architecture classes to high school students. She received a Master’s Degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and has been teaching in some capacity for the last 10 years. Melisa loves the Lord Jesus, and loves seeing the image of the Creator in the work of her students.