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Calculus and physics ... hahaha

Apr 17 '13 16 Last Comment
observant
Apr 17, 13 3:41 pm

For 4+2s or 5s, physics and calculus are in the curriculum.  For M.Arch. 3s, they tell you that you are to take physics and/or calculus prior to the start of the program and you have to provide proof of completing them.  So be it.  I did that, even though I had had calculus before and was rusty at it, to be on the safe side.

Fast forward to a-school.  You get into your first structures class.  In our case, in the introductory structural behavior course, the prof got into it, at about the middle of the term, for about ONE week.  NO ONE knew what the f**k was going on, and we returned to algebraic computations for problems.  It was totally tangential, it seemed, from the way the course had been progressing from the inception through the use of algebraic calculations.  In fact, in the remaining technology sequence, we never saw calculus again.  Physics wasn't even necessary, because the concepts are explained again in these classes, though mechanics would make the first structures course seem more familiar.

At any rate, has anyone seen the use of calculus, primarily, or physics in their courses coded as architecture?  I'm thinking NOT.  What a joke.  But what are you gonna do?

 

gual
Apr 17, 13 4:02 pm

Common to make people take calc and physics in loads of fields that don't make use of it. I see it as a weed-out mechanism.

I could go on about how it's beautiful to have an appreciation for how the equations actually work before you go on and take the math for granted for the rest of your life, but I'll spare you.

s=r*(theta)
Apr 17, 13 4:08 pm

"NO ONE knew what the f**k was going on"

lol, i feel confident in saying, probably 85% of those who graduated college in architecture had no clue what was going on! in fact, because of my program requirements, i took trig twice, calc twice, structures I twice, and structures II twice, just to pass them all with a B or better.

on a positive note, i dont need auto cad to determine the length of rolled material (s=r*theta)

Xenakis
Apr 17, 13 4:29 pm

If you can perform the problem solving necessary to pass calculus with a B or better, the process of getting to that stage will make you a more self disciplined and better problem solver than if you did not take calculus. It's indirect knowledge, the process - you will just be sharper.

observant
Apr 17, 13 4:41 pm

the process of getting to that stage will make you a more self disciplined and better problem solver than if you did not take calculus. It's indirect knowledge, the process - you will just be sharper.

Agreed.  Had this discussion in college with a girl in pre-med.  She had to take 1-1/2 years of calculus.  She was an A student and  a past valedictorian.  About this, she said "It's not like I'm going to see a patient and ask to take their derivative."  Good point.

I had a rough time with calculus in undergrad.  The reasons were several - not thrilled with my curricular choice and it felt weird to be moving into mathematics which I could no longer visualize, unlike geometry, algebra 2, and trigonometry.  When I took it again, it was the only thing I was doing, besides working, and I got an A.  I still didn't know what to expect in structures, but since it was all algebraic and tabular, I did well.  I was surprised because structures is what intimidated me most about going off to a-school.

Xenakis
Apr 17, 13 5:21 pm

BTW - structures as taught to architects, is based on algebraic formulas - SE students use Calc

will gallowaywill galloway
Apr 17, 13 6:23 pm

calculus was taken out of the curriculum just when i started archi school back in the dark ages in canada.  we still had numerical mathematics and physics and anyway most of us had calc in high school so nobody cared one way or the other.  structure course was just statics so pretty easy.  i enjoyed it.

here in japan the math is still pretty rigorous, but then again the license here means you stamp your own engineering calculations for building approval, if you want too. would be interesting if north america went to that system too.  sure would make better sense of the curriculum.

accesskb
Apr 17, 13 7:07 pm

I barely passed structures xDD  I think its just there for the odd few who make something of it in the real world.. For the rest, its just there to flex one's brain.

observant
Apr 17, 13 7:25 pm

here in japan the math is still pretty rigorous, but then again the license here means you stamp your own engineering calculations for building approval, if you want too. would be interesting if north america went to that system too.  sure would make better sense of the curriculum.

I don't know.  Again, there's too much variability in American a-schools in their curricula.  Some have 2 classes, where you barely dip your toes in, and some have 4 classes, with a separate class for each major building material (steel, concrete, even wood) beyond an introductory one in material behavior.  Even with that, one only visits beam sizing, column sizing, seismic, et. al. only once. For an architect to do such work, the curriculum would have to be overly beefed up at the expense of a broad base and would require even more classes.

The road to become a structural engineer here in the US is lengthy.  A PE exam precedes the SE exam.  I think the separation of functions is correct.  Architects have their hands very full.  I would hate to throw load tracing on some complex geometries (slanted ones, circular ones, etc.) to the architects, after taking barely a handful of these classes.  It's the work of specialists.  I'm glad I had separate courses in the materials because it helps make one more conversant with the SEs.  I'm also glad they were distilled to algebraic and tabular computations, and were open-book/open notes, or it would have been over the top.  They were time consuming enough..   

will gallowaywill galloway
Apr 18, 13 12:24 am

That's surprising observant. I would have thought you were an advocate for more difficult requirements to give license more legitimacy. That is, given your stance otherwise.

We hire an engineer too. I wouldn't want to spend my time doing engineering. The hundreds of pages of calculations even if they are computer generated are a real chunk of work. The ability to understand the possibilities in a structural solution is pretty important though. I can see how great my colleagues are at it and suspect it is part of the reason sejima and Ito get such phenomenal performance from their engineering partners. No idea if calculus matters for that or not... Intuitively I'd say yes, but who knows.

observant
Apr 18, 13 1:14 am

I would have thought you were an advocate for more difficult requirements

There's a big difference between wanting at least a 4 year college architecture degree to license and training students to become structural engineers.  Again, look at how many threads on here, especially around this time, are about prospective students biting their nails as to where they will be accepted and where they should go.  They should ultimately be rewarded for that - with a license ... if they want one and do the work.  I remember that spring when I went to the mailbox every day ... and the agitation that went with that.  The list of courses required to be a properly trained structural engineer is long, and beyond the scope of an architectural curriculum and I think few architects could effectively serve two masters.  However, I believe that the trend to go toward fewer structural courses (just two) is poor.  It's not too hard to fit 3 or 4 structures courses within a 4 year BA/BS degree, let alone a 5 year accredited B.Arch.  The American NAAB needs to crack down on what needs to be taught to accredit programs.  I think the minimum should be a studio every term (except for freshmen), plus 2 construction, 2 environ tech, and 3 structures courses ... in addition to basic history and theory.  That may sound staid, but the content can be made relevant and up to date ... via the inclusion of newer technologies and codes, the applicability of sustainability, and emerging theories.

disro
Apr 18, 13 8:15 am


I'm in hell trying to register for a summer course in calculus to fulfil the ysoa prerequisite before August. The community college won't even let me take it because I don't have any math college credit. What do other M. Arch I students do? This is a nightmare. Any suggestions?


jw468
Apr 18, 13 10:04 am

Some colleges do a Maymester before the regular summer semester starts.  Maybe you could take a math course during that so that you could take calculus during the regular summer semester.

Alternatively, if you've had a good deal of math in your previous education, you might find someone at the community college who can get you signed up for calculus.  I'd start with the department chair.  The only way I see this working is if you have had trigonometry.  This is essentially what I did.  I had a good deal of math in high school and was able to start with precalculus in college.  A former teacher with pull at the college was able to help me avoid lower level courses that I didn't need.

observant
Apr 18, 13 11:52 am

disro:

Contact other community colleges and explain your situation.  It should be ok if you had 3 to 4 years of HS math.  Take it at a state school in the evening where they won't check what you've done before (I had calculus, but enrollment as a non-matriculated student was on your own and no one asked me).  Some schools offer a boot-camp in math and physics for their 3 year programs.  Univ. of Colorado Denver has such a summer program for M.Arch. and, I'm sure it's not full, so you might get in as non-matriculated and hang out in the Rockies in your time off.  It will NOT be cheap if you are a non-resident. 

But keep harping on the c.c.'s or local satellite 4 years, especially if you had some good math in high school.

Jono Lee
Apr 18, 13 12:29 pm

disro:

   Thompson Rivers University < google that.

  That may solve all your problems.

Jono Lee
Apr 18, 13 12:31 pm

Sorry, to be more specific, they offer distance ed/online courses at the college level. They accepted the courses over at UCLA to fulfill the requirements

observant
Apr 18, 13 3:34 pm

^

Yes, any information to prospective students which people can provide is helpful.  If I recall, some schools on semesters start offering split summer session courses beginning in mid-May. Still, students should verify their choices for calculus and physics with the school to make sure they will be deemed acceptable.  It never hurts to ask.

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