Architectural Design

A unit of art lessons in which each student will design a building and its surrounding landscape. Along the way, students will study some great architecture from various cultures.

 

What is architecture?  What is not architecture?

In a small group, discuss your answers to these questions, and whether you would include the following in your definition of architecture, and why:

  1. The houses on your neighborhood? The grocery store? Our school? The ramada on our playground? The baseball field on our playground?
  2. A tent? All tents?
  3. A tunnel through a mountain? One for a highway? A mine shaft?
  4. The Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt?
  5. An aircraft carrier? A submarine? A one-person sailboat?
  6. An unmanned rocket? A manned space station?

 

 

The assignment:
Pretend you are a professional architect,
and the teacher is your client.

Your client walks in to your office, and says, "I have bought some land, and need you to figure out how best to build on it. I'll pay you the normal fee."

The normal fee is 10% of the entire cost of construction.

  1. If the construction cost is $200,000, how much will you be paid?
  2. If the construction cost is $400,000, how much will you be paid?
  3. How much would construction have to cost for your fee to be $100,000?

The first thing you ask is "What do you need the building for? Who is going to use it, and what will they need to do there?"

 

Your client says, "I have one acre, and it is located in an undeveloped area."

Normally the client specifies the location of a project. For this assignment, you can pick the rural location anywhere in the world. You must name an actual city that is the nearest one to your site. Your client continues, "I will give you two choices for the type of building it will be:

Once you choose which of these types of buildings you'll design, your job is to make a set of five drawings, and in this order:

      1. a bubble diagram
      2. a floor plan
      3. a site plan
      4. a front elevation
      5. a cross-section

I will explain what these are, and give you a list of requirements (or "specifications") for each drawing. The more your drawings satisfy these requirements, the higher will be your grade. The rubric will be further explained soon.

Each drawing must be made on a 12 x 18 inch sheet of white paper.

The drawings must be bound with staples along their left edge as they are produced.

Each drawing must be labeled on its front side with the following information:

  1. Full name of the designer, and the class code
  2. The type of drawing (bubble diagram, etc.)
  3. The name of the building (You name it!)
  4. The type of building
    (fast-food restaurant or modest vacation home)
  5. The location of building (nearest town, state, country)

 

 

If you design a fast-food restaurant:

  1. Your fast-food restaurant may have only one level -- one story -- because any more would be too expensive for the client to build and to maintain. (Multiple stories would make this activity significantly more complicated to design than this first project warrants.)
  2. You must devise a name for the restaurant, and an original one. One that will appeal to a wide cross-section of the population, especially to families. The name of the restaurant must be clearly visible from the street.
  3. A fast-food restaurant offers a small menu, no alcoholic drinks, no live entertainment, no dance floor.
  4. A fast-food restaurant can serve its food and drinks at counters or windows, or by a waiting staff, or with a combination of these methods.

 

If you design a modest vacation home:

  1. The modest vacation home may have no more than one level -- one story -- because any more would be too expensive for the client to build and to maintain. (Multiple stories would make this activity significantly more complicated to design than this first project warrants.)
  2. You must devise a name for the home, and an original one. It could simply be the building's street or postal address. Names including such words as manor, lodge, estate, cabin, etc. may help to give the building a singular character.

 

Begin the project by drawing a bubble diagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lesson was written particularly for 6th grade students at Copper Canyon Elementary School, Phoenix AZ, USA. You are welcome to use it in your classroom too.

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