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101 Things I Learned in Architecture School
Matthew Frederick

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School




Matthew Frederick

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

© 2007 Matthew Frederick All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (includingphotocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. MIT Press books may be purchased at special quantity discounts for business or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail or write to Special Sales Department, The MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142. This book was set in Helvetica Neue by The MIT Press. Printedand bound in China. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Frederick, Matthew. 101 things I learned in architecture school / by Matthew Frederick. p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-0-262-06266-4 (hc : alk. paper) 1. Architecture—Study and teaching. 2. Architectural design—Study and teaching. I. Title. II. Title: One hundred one things I learned in architecture school. III. Title: One hundred and onethings I learned in architecture school. NA2000.F74 2007 720—dc22 2006037130 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To Sorche, for making this and much more possible

Author’s Note
Certainties for architecture students are few. The architecture curriculum is a perplexing and unruly beast, involving long hours, dense texts, and frequently obtuse instruction. If the lessons of architecture are fascinating (andthey are), they are also fraught with so many exceptions and caveats that students can easily wonder if there is anything concrete to learn about architecture at all. The nebulousness of architectural instruction is largely necessary. Architecture is, after all, a creative field, and it is understandably difficult for instructors of design to concretize lesson plans out of fear of imposingunnecessary limits on the creative process. The resulting open-endedness provides students a ride down many fascinating new avenues, but often with a feeling that architecture is built on quicksand rather than on solid earth. This book aims to firm up the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive. The following lessons in design, drawing,creative process, and presentation first came to me as barely

discernible glimmers through the fog of my own education. But in the years I have spent since as a practitioner and educator, they have become surely brighter and clearer. And the questions they address have remained the central questions of architectural education: my own students show me again and again that the questions andconfusions of architecture school are near universal. I invite you to leave this book open on the desktop as you work in the studio, to keep in your coat pocket to read on public transit, and to peruse randomly when in need of a jump-start in solving an architectural design problem. Whatever you do with the lessons that follow, be that grateful I am not around to point out the innumerable exceptions andcaveats to each of them. Matthew Frederick, Architect August 2007

Many thanks to Deborah Cantor-Adams; Julian Chang; Roger Conover; Derek George; Yasuyo Iguchi; Terry Lamoureux; Jim Lard; Susan Lewis; Marc Lowenthal; Tom Parks; those among my architecture instructors who valued plain English; my students who have asked and answered so many of the questions that led to thisbook; and most of all my partner and agent, Sorche Fairbank.

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School



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