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Art of construction

Students grasp geometry in Architecture 103, an essential transfer requirement for certain universitites.

September 07, 2010|By Max Zimbert, max.zimbert@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/News-Press) )

It was their second day of class, and the Glendale Community College students in the architecture lab were a tad confused.

They began working on their first projects Wednesday, drawing a 3-D image in a 2-D space, a challenging task in this mid-level course.

By manually drawing two different 2-D views of intersecting pipes, students could visualize and plot points for a third view of a 3-D image.

"And if you wanted to see what [points on the pipe were] closer to you, you'd draw another view," said Chris Wise, a second-year student. "Doing it by hand and seeing what's closer, there's a lot of applications in the field, if you're piping, for example, or you're an electrical engineer... placing wires."

The descriptive geometry class, or Architecture 103, is an essential transfer requirement to certain programs at California state universities and a key foundation for future careers, students said.

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"It's my passion," said student Armen Sarkisian. "I love the art part of construction."

One of the rules of architecture is if a designer is provided with two of six viewpoints — front, top, right, bottom, rear or left — he or she should be able to generate a third view, which was the challenge facing students on their second day of class.

"If you're drawing accurately, you can figure out a complicated math problem," instructor Dave Martin said. "We don't do any math formulas."

By using lettered points and angels on a pyramid, for instance, students applied classroom lessons to determine where a 2-D image would be visible from various positions in 3-D.

Mastering descriptive concepts helps an architect determine depth and the visuals design diagrams and blueprints.

Martin held a yardstick and challenged students to guess which end-point on the line was nearest to them.

"It's not until you get right on an object, now I can tell depth more," Marin said. "That's what descriptive does for you."

While much of the same work can be done on computers, drawing images manually, while challenging at first, is one way students can master challenging architectural concepts, Martin told his students.

"Don't worry, you're going to get a lot of practice on this," he said. "I promise you'll get it."

For student Yara Sarah, the class will give her the foundation she'll need as a stage designer in the entertainment industry, she said.

"This is where you learn the background of everything."

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