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Things I SHOULD HAVE Learned in Architecture School

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Apparently, it is not necessary for architecture students to learn anything about building materials, technology, construction. That is a lesson one might be able to derive from 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick, MIT Press 2007. This little book devotes one page each to summarizing an important concept of architectural design. According to it foreword, it "aims to firm up the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive." For example:

- "Frame a view, don't mearly exhibit it." suggests how to get optimum visual impact from window placement.

- "The two most important keys to effectively organizing a floor plan are managing solid-void relationships and resolving circulation." offers tips for creating floor plans. And,

- "Design in perspective." points out the limitations of designing a building as a set of 2-dimensional surfaces.

But about the only thing the book says an architecture student needs to know about building materials is, "Gently suggest material qualities rather than draw them in a literal manner.", a recommendation about illustration technique.

While architecture schools need to teach design theory and to encourage artistic creativity, I believe most schools do their students a disservice by separating design from the materiality of construction.

I propose a partner volume to be titled, "101 Things I Should Have Learned in Architecture School." It would contain information such as:

1.A paint finish is only as good as its primer and surface preparation.

2.Dissimilar metals are prone to galvanic corrosion.

3.Mold will grow anywhere there is a source of nutrition and moisture.

4.Fasteners can fail via pull-out, pull-over, stripping, shear in the fastener, shear in one of the components being joined, or corrosion.

5.In an earthquake, injuries, death, and damage to property can occur when elements within a building are not adequately secured.

6.Concrete hardens due to a chemical reaction, not drying.

7.Water is the great distroyer of buildings.

8.Most product failures are the result of incompatibility of two or more materials that are used together.

9.People working in a building are more likely to be dissatisfied with the acoustics of a space than with its visual appearance.

10.Every design decision should be reviewed for its impact on building maintenance and operational requirements.

Since architecture schools often leave relegate concerns like these to the periphery of their curriculum, it creates a marketing opportunity for building product manufactures. You can cultivate life-long relationships with young architects by providing them with training and education.

by Michael Chusid, 2009

Published with permission of Building ProductMarketing

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