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Old November 12th, 2017, 12:04 PM   #1
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Non Architect with a Few Questions

My daughter is a sophomore in HS and wants to be an architect. I am a math teacher and know next to nothing about the profession. She likes to draw floor plans and was wondering if there is a relative inexpensive software program that she could use. Also, do architects still use drawing boards? If so, I was thinking of maybe getting her one of those. Any other things she should be doing to prepare? Thanks!
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Old November 16th, 2017, 07:17 PM   #2
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Sketchup is probably the most popular of the free drawing tools available. If you use something like Photoshop that's also good for developing 2D renderings that can be altered.

Most architectural firms will have someone that uses drawing boards/easels. For working on initial "thumbprint" sketches it's very hard to beat paper and pencil. Those that are truly into the artistic side of design will use whatever means they can to rapidly produce images on any medium just to get it out and see how it looks. Typically firms will employ specialized artists who will take crude images and develop concept renderings, which then get critiqued and redone until the concept is considered worth the effort of rendering as a 3D model.

My advice to you:

- Speak with her school about upcoming computer classes and see which ones lend themselves to computer graphics and see about projecting her curriculum so that she can take that course. If they have something that lends itself more directly to using Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs then all the better.

- Sketchup can be self taught through online tutorials and you can even find such renderings offered by users in these forums. So long as her online access is within your parental parameters this would be a great thing for her to learn.

- Find a local architectural firm in the area and ask about touring their office and meeting a practicing professional. I've yet to find one that isn't willing to spend 15-30 minutes with someone and give them a glimpse of the day-to-day scenes for real architects. Or at the least send them email asking for the same type of guidance you've raised here. If there isn't such a firm in your local community then simply look to the largest nearby metro area.

- Spend a day working on a house with Habitat for Humanity. You'll not only be doing great charitable work but it will give your daughter real knowledge about the construction process, and they'll usually take volunteers regardless of skill level.

- Go touring your community with your daughter and make a day out of evaluating the built environment. See any new buildings going up? What's the site look like? Can you tell what's happening? What about the buildings and shopping centers already there? Which ones do you like or dislike and why? What can you tell about the differences between a traditional downtown vs. modern strip shopping centers? Maybe take some pictures and compare notes and tastes over lunch. This can be like a fun field day and bonding experience and it will help her begin to see built structures through the lens of architectural context.

PM me if I can offer anything more. Cheers.
"How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is after all so poorly lit."

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Old January 21st, 2019, 04:35 PM   #3
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Also, if there is nothing much to look at in your city, you can dig up some portfolios of famous architects and give them to her. This can bea great inspiration and a foundation for her own style. Suggest creating something similar or make changes to the existing plans. In addition, search for tutorials online, there are thousands of free lesons and even courses on the Internet.
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