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I can't draw to save my life, have no experience, BUT...can i still do architecture?

kollegeyippeekollegeyippee Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
edited August 2008 in Architecture Major
So here's the deal. I've always had a subconscious interest in architecture that never really boiled to the surface due to the fact that the maximum extent of my drawing ability happens to be stick figures. However, I've always found the profession very interesting and consider myself to be a creatively-oriented person (as in, I prefer hands-on/creative projects over writing research papers any day).

I'm currently a rising high school senior and have devoted much of my interest/passion towards politics/IR. I still love politics/IR a lot, but I'm not sure whether I will in 20 years.

I understand that I've missed everything to do with portfolios and architecture applications.

Therefore, I was considering double majoring in political science and architectural studies. I've looked at several course curriculums at colleges and no application is required for AS majors. However, I have never taken a drawing/art class, I have no formal experience whatsoever in anything related to architecture, and frankly, some people might think I'm crazy.

How would this play out with someone taking their first studio classes and actually going through with the major? If I somehow manage to graduate with a decent GPA, I hope to go to grad school for an actual architecture degree but that's a long ways away.

So, can you still become an architect if you can only draw stick figures?

I know this may be a weird post, but I'm willing to play around with the idea as I'm not sure what exactly I want to major in yet.

Thanks for your help!
Post edited by kollegeyippee on

Replies to: I can't draw to save my life, have no experience, BUT...can i still do architecture?

  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,288 Senior Member
    Your question is totally legitimate, in my opinion.

    I have a daughter who just graduated college in Architectural Studies and is about to start a graduate program in architecture to earn her MArch degree.

    I would not describe her in HS as an artist at all. She took a few art classes like ceramics and photography and crafts. She would have also said at the time that she could not "draw". You do not have to be an artist to be an architect. You do have to develop an ability to draw with perspective and so forth. During junior year of college, she took Drawing as an independent study. I feel like it boosted her confidence in free hand drawing and she also produced a few things for her portfolio such as figure drawing sketches. She has taken architectural drawing too. So, it is definitely not too late for you at all. Drawing is not the only skill you will need but it is one thing you can take at college and then you also can try to start keeping a sketch book as well. You could take a figure drawing class in your community this year even. It will come. You just have to have some basic drawing skills and not the skills of an artist. She has had a successful graduate admissions outcome and again, I would say she was not a "drawer" (is that a word?) in HS very much at all.
  • archkidarchkid Registered User Posts: 117 Junior Member
    I remember a collection of really nice pencil drawings of a variety of exterior campus doorways thumbtacked up in the hallway outside of the architecture department at one of the colleges I toured last fall. My guide told me they were freshmen freehand sketches, no rulers allowed, about halfway into the current term. I replied that no way could I sketch that well, and (as I felt my chances at acceptance sinking) that the kids they accept must have high art skills. She, a junior, said that she had felt the same way about her own eye to hand to pencil to paper abilities as an entering first year, but that she had done well in the class. A professor passing by overheard us, stopped and told me, don't sweat it, we taught these kids, we can teach you, it's part of what we do here..

  • larationalistlarationalist Registered User Posts: 916 Member
    If you already know what university you're going to and they don't have any hoops for you to jump through, I don't see what it can hurt to try it for a semester or a year and see how you feel about it then.

    It could also be worth it to you to explore areas like development and urban planning: they have a more academic bent to them, more regulatory structure similar to the other majors you were considering, but still deal with the built environment.
  • TzarTzar Registered User Posts: 166 Junior Member
    drawing at this point in the practice of architecture is still vital and I would have to say no, you can't become an architect only drawing stick figures; however, as others have already alluded, one can always learn.

    But it isn't so much the drawing itself that is important, but that one needs to be able to translate things in two dimensions to things in three dimensions- as well as to have some sense of "design". Drawing is a great way to enhance these skills. Don't give up- many people have a habit of picking up architecture later in life and I am sure if you really want to do architecture, you will.
  • StitchInTimeStitchInTime Registered User Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    To follow up on Tzar's comments on "design", one can think of it along the line of the creative process that results in a 'whole' that is greater than the 'sum of its individual parts'.

    We can often look towards nature for creative inspiration. Take for example the hexagonal cell structure of a honeycomb. Not only is it pleasing to our eyes but it's functional as well because it "represents the best way to divide a surface into regions of equal area with the least total perimeter."
  • rick12rick12 Registered User Posts: 642 Member
    I have heard folks lament the fact that with the use of computers people are forgetting how to draw. The sad reality is that drawing is a tough activity, and even in the days before computers perhaps one out of ten architectural graduates could really draw. Not drafting an elevation and then adding color, but picking up a pen and sketching an idea for a building in perspective. It is a rare skill, so I would not give up if you don't currently have drawing skills. Just apply to schools that do not require a portfolio, and when you get there work hard to acquire them. Get a sketchbook, sketch the buildings that you see around you. Look at architectural sketches that you admire, copy the technique. Your first sketches will look bad, don't worry about it, just keep practicing.

    Computer drawings have become so commonplace that it is really impressive if you can pull out a pen in front of a client and sketch up an idea. Develop the skills to be able to do this, it will differentiate you.

This discussion has been closed.