Draw First, Ask Questions Later: The Value of Manual Sketching Elementary Architectural Structures Education

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Structures and Architecture: Bridging the Gap and Crossing Borders

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Students of architecture are in an academically unique position, requiring exposure to a wide variety of subjects, ranging from design, to history, to business and legal matters, to the technical craft of building—the latter concern being the focus of this paper. In the face of this breadth of subject requirements, principles of engineering have historically been (anecdotally, in the US, at least) a challenging area of study. In the elementary education of structural systems for architecture students, a fundamental skill is developing the ability to representationally diagram system elements (free bodies, actions and reactions, rotations and so forth) as a basis for analytical study. The position of this paper is that freehand sketching is of key importance in engaging students in technical material that they many might otherwise find an aversion to. In addition, the skill of manual sketching is one that has suffered as more drawing work is executed using digital means. Two exercises that help develop both structural understanding and sketching ability are presented as case study examples.


Architecture; Analytical studies; Architectural structure; Elementary education





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