Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CAD in High School

 I am a Sophomore in high school, and I am already seriously considering architecture as a career. I do have three major questions relating to CAD-related courses.
   I own your book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition, which is great resource for me. When explaining what classes you should take, you mention that CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) courses are low-priority compared to art and drawing classes.
  My school offers not only a basic CAD class, but also specialized CAD classes, including Architecture CAD. The Architecture CAD class includes making floor plans by hand and on the Computer and making 3D models. Do you think this class is an exception to your statement about CAD classes, or did you mean to include classes like this? Also, if I take this class, do you think I should include my work in my portfolio?

My school offers a program where if you complete three progressive CAD courses (e.g. CAD-->Advanced CAD-->Architecture CAD), you get a Certificate of Competency. Do you think any universities would be impressed with that or even recognize it?

One last question: My school also offers a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) course. It's like a wood shop class, but with computers to help you make your project. Should I take it, or is it too much like CAD? Should I include my work in my portfolio?

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions. Sorry if any of them are too wordy or hard to understand. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

Thanks for your question and compliment on Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

To truly answer your question, I suggest you contact some college and universities that offer architecture and gain their insight.  As one who has serves within an architecture program, I can share that most will share that taking art or drawing courses will be more beneficial than the CAD or CAM courses that you are seeking to take at your high school. 

As much as the architecture profession uses computer as a tool, it is still just a tool.  Taking a creative course that connects your brain, eye, and hand will be more helpful.  Given you have two more years of high school, taking the introductory course in CAD would provide an overview, but I do not think it is necessary to take all three courses as you describe.

You may also wish to access SketchUp -- - a free and easy to use software that is different than CAD.  But also, begin to sketch by hand every day. 

If you have more questions, feel free to contact me again between now and your entering the career.

Dr. Architecture 

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