What was your curriculum lacking?


I think we can all recognize that the courses and skills fostered in academia don't always translate to professional practice. 

Is hand-drawing important? Absolutely, but why is it never taught after freshman year? We had life-drawing and art classes each of the first 3 quarters. Our for TA for spring quarter said, enjoy this class because it's the last "art" class you'll ever take. At the time, I thought "oh, I have electives, I'll just take an art class later." Well that never happened when you're busy trying to fill asinine degree requirements with anthropology courses for a "well-rounded" education. 

The same can be said about "professional practice" courses. I had one in undergrad and one during grad school. They were both taught by sole practitioners/studio profs who weren't exactly making a living outside of their tenured professor salary. 

Anyways, where I'm going with all of this....Are there any classes that you would propose adding to your school's curriculum. 

I'd like to put a course together called Construction Management for Architects. Teaching architects about the construction administration phase, the bidding process, working with contractors, handling submittals/RFIs, working with owners, understanding liability/responsibilities, how to run a coordination meeting and what each job title is responsible for. Things I wish I knew before I graduated.       

Oct 15, 18 6:34 pm

I got kicked out of cal poly but it didn't matter because they didn't have labs.  I've never taken a class in professional practice and I don't mean to.  design 1 (what I took) was stupid.  I taught myself how to perspective draw

but to answer your question, yea I guess construction management because you have to know stuff like how far they can torque a bolt but just as important would be a building economics/ecology class that teaches about what materials's effects r

an architect needs to know how to weld & idk how much electrical an architect learns but those can be done in san luis obispo

Oct 15, 18 8:03 pm
Non Sequitur

"I've never taken a class in professional practice and I don't mean to" - There one of your (many) problems.

Non Sequitur

and to you last point, welding was thought to me in undergrad. I welded for many studio projects and one full size pavilion. Got to the point were I would just put on the mask and gloves and weld right there in a T-Shirt then run off to my other classes covered in welding dust. Those were good days.


in school I was taking 23 credits one semester. welding is fun as fuck. so are geology labs


I'd say the curriculum should be classical mechanics, mechanical systems, boundary element method, soil mechanics/foundations,the materials design classes, & a lab on dynamix including dampening

Oct 15, 18 8:13 pm

This exists, it's not Architecture.


I understand studio is about design thinking, but I really think it would have been good to have one where there was a very strong focus on reality. Have something small and simple then develop it to at least a strong DD level of completeness. No nonsense of a wall being a single line, even at ¼"=1'-0" or reinventing the apartment to be half museum, half library with sleeping pods and anonymous graves in the walls. Something practical that requires you to think through the constructibility and work that more typically goes into practice.

One thing my school tried to do, but was never well executed, was integrating other classes with studio. We'd have classes that would focus on things like sustainable strategies, lighting, mechanical systems, etc. and we would usually be required to demonstrate these concepts by incorporating them into our studio project. The problem was that the professors would never really discuss this with each other so the types of spaces studio and these classes required would differ. The result was that at the end of the semester you were working on two different versions of your studio project instead of one version as intended.

Oct 15, 18 9:07 pm

professors who are current with the profession

Oct 16, 18 3:24 am


Oct 16, 18 4:36 am

We never developed any studio projects past SD level.  The professors mad no effort to corral people who were designing stuff that was wildly unrealistic and didn't met any kind of building code.  That made the 5 year program seem at least 2 years too long.

Nobody should be allowed to graduate before they can produce a buildable set of CDs and a project manual.

Oct 16, 18 11:26 am
Non Sequitur

My undergrad program had a clear division between studios and technical courses... and this worked well for most cases until you had that one studio with the crazy kook (60ish students split into 4-5 different groups with independent profs and projects) and were required to use your "design" to address the building science courses.  This never went well and there were always a few students who simply could not present anything substantial (both studio and course work suffered as a result).   We were also hand-drawing everything back then... I have so many slides of work that I could set up a full poker chip set.

What was missing in this was a frank conversation, say at mid-point between major deadlines, about the value of the studio's assignments in regards to either the professional world, or future graduate studies.  This was obvious to me at the time as I was already working in an office doing architect things, but this was an alien concept to many of my peers.  A "how to make this project real" would have certainly saved many from the cold shower they eventually stepped into once the academia protection cover got lifted.  

I know some Canadian schools demand that your final project be fully documented as if it were for permit (code, materials, LEED, etc), and I've even taken electives where budget, schedules, and ROI calcs were mandatory along with the fluffy design. This is all in undergrad, so a half-decent student is employable without needing an M.Arch.

Oct 16, 18 12:33 pm

I went to a program where most of the faculty were working professionals, and for the most part that was great, but what was lacking was a faculty presence outside of class/studio hours.  Some faculty had no office hours at all, and there was no advising system that created any continuity or followup with students for longer than a semester.  If I were redesigning the program I'd establish a higher number of full time faculty, and I'd try to keep academic advisors assigned to the same students while the students move through their years in the program.

Oct 16, 18 12:52 pm


Oct 16, 18 2:58 pm

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