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  • Writer's picture~rooks /|\

Learning to Design @ Home :: Drawing and Modeling

During the Fall '19 and Spring '20 semesters at Pratt I was teaching an architectural design course for NYC high school students to have a taste of what an education in architecture could be like as well as build some skills and portfolio pieces. I was co-teaching the course with Olivia Vien and we decided to focus on exposing the students to common design applications, digital workflows, and fabrication technologies. We made several 2D and 3D design explorations in Rhino3D, translated them into laser cut relief and folding models, and were well on our way to 3D printing some interesting volumetric studies when the Coronavirus pandemic shut everything down. Since the students were dealing with enough in the transition of public school to online learning, we postponed our course and shifted gears to produce two series of instructional videos to offer continued learning and development over the summer. Olivia took on the digital side of our work and I went with the analog drawing and modeling as a way to design at home with whatever you have available. Here are my videos before going through final production with the Pratt K-12 program.

Introduction to the 3 part series and some basic tools and materials to work with. To make it accessible, we are using a minimum load out of scissors, paper, a pencil, tape, and a ruler. Everything starts with sketching and understanding the problem as 2D and 3D geometry.

In part 2 we dive deeper into 2D abstract drawing as a design medium and process. patience and experimentation are key for this, and it is endlessly expandable for any level of skill and experience.

Part 3 translates the abstract 2D studies into 3D form by cutting and folding sheet material (paper). Craft is a big focus here and it takes many iterations to grapple with both the design and way of making. As with the drawing, permutations are limitless and you can expand beyond the cube to explore any solid geometry.

Hopefully this helps a few intrepid young designers develop strong fundamental skills that they can build a rich portfolio of explorations.

Happy making!

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