Architecture Class at Franklin

One example of Sage Freewynn’s work from Franklin’s Architectural Design and Drafting class. In this course, students learn the details of architectural design along with the skills to create drawings with a variety of mediums. Photo by Sage Freewynn.

When asked to think of creative jobs, architecture may not be at the top of the list for many people. However, Franklin’s Architectural Design and Drafting class strives to make this career more accessible to students by emphasizing the drawing, a key part of the job. According to the Portland Public Schools website, this yearlong course, taught by Dan Silvernail, introduces students to architectural drafting standards, building practices, different styles of architecture, and careers in the field. This is the only architecture class currently available at Franklin. Although the class helps prepare students for an architectural career, any student can take it provided they have an interest in the subject.

Take Franklin student Sage Freewynn (11), for example. Freewynn signed up for the class because it sounded like an interesting thing to try. “At first I found it a bit dull and frustrating, but the more I learn about it, the more interesting it gets,” she says enthusiastically. 

In the woodworking room every day, students begin with a warm-up and then begin working on their projects. According to Silvernail, students spend a lot of time working on architectural drawings in a variety of mediums, from hand drawings with instruments (compasses, for example) to computer programs such as SketchUp. Freewynn explains that using computer programs for this class is nice because it’s easier to undo mistakes than on paper, and it’s a lot easier to show how ideas might look in the real world.

Although not every student taking the class this year necessarily wants to commit to being an architect, the class can prepare those interested in this fast-growing career. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career has a projected 7 percent job growth from 2014 to 2024. The median salary as of 2015 was $76,100. Architecture is certainly a viable career, although it may not interest everyone. Additionally, it is widely recommended that prospective architects start preparing in high school by taking architecture, geometry, and physics classes to ready them for the college degree they will later need.

For students less inclined toward this career path, Franklin’s architecture class also provides an outlet for creativity. The course is largely drawing-based and allows students to explore their artistic talents and create plans and blueprints at the same time. Aside from that, students can gain creative skills through class that can be used in an extraordinarily broad variety of jobs, and also learn how to operate multiple computer programs. As for her personal goals for this year, Freewynn says, “I hope to learn about a new field of design that I haven’t tried yet and get more skills that I might be able to apply to the field of design that I’m [interested] in.” 

Whether you’re a prospective architect yourself or just looking for a creative break from more demanding academic classes, the Architectural Design and Drafting class is sure to supply you with important skills capture your attention all year.

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