In this series, students from Mr. Rodriguez’ Grade 10 Architectural Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) class share their insights regarding their past, present, and future work. In the interest of context, Mr. Rodriguez first provides some thoughts about purpose and process. Then, Derek offers his thoughts about his work. Throughout the story are examples of Derek’s work.
Mr. Abraham Rodriguez
What went into coming up with this project idea and execution?
This year, the 10th Grade class is focusing on developing basic research, design, and technical skills by working on a year-long design project of a residential home. The main objective of the class is to introduce students to computer-aided design software such as AutoCAD and Revit (BIM) while gaining an understanding of the architectural design process. Therefore, in order to increase student buy-in, each student has the opportunity to use satellite imagery tools such as Google Earth and/or ArcGIS to identify the coordinates and existing conditions of their favorite location suitable for a residential home anywhere in the world. We then analyze the site to determine the property line, access points, main roads, photos of existing buildings, and scenic views. Further site investigation is done to gain an understanding of the natural features of the site such as the sun path, wind speed and direction, average precipitation, topographic conditions, and vegetation types. The importance of these preliminary studies helps the students make connections that adapt their design to the surrounding environment.
Once the site analysis has been completed, students learn the basic functions of AutoCAD to prepare a Site Plan of their location.
- “A site plan or a plot plan is a type of drawing used by architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and engineers which shows existing and proposed conditions for a given area, typically a parcel of land which is to be modified.”
As the students prepare the site plan in AutoCAD, they also learn new commands that allow them to change units of measure, scale a satellite image to real-world measurements, use basic drawing tools to trace roads and existing buildings, and add dimensions and annotations.
How are you implementing the program MetaHuman into the course? What was the purpose of this part of the project?
Over the past year, I have been diving into real-time 3D visualization technology in order for its future applications into the sophomore architecture and design class or even our entire CTE curriculum at WHSAD. The technology eliminates the need to wait for hours to render a CGI image, which can allow students to visualize their 3D concepts in real-time. Metahuman is a new cloud-based 3D creation tool that is owned by Epic Games, one of the companies at the forefront of real-time visualization and the gaming world. The mini unit came into the curriculum as a way to give students a breather from the technical work and a chance to tap into each other’s imagination. These digital human assets will eventually be placed in their 3D animation scenes of the Residential Home Design Project. The outcome of the experimentation is to help the students build a story or a narrative around the spaces their imaginary character or future self will inhabit.
What skills do you hope students are able to learn, develop and maintain from this unit? How will those skills be useful for students in upcoming years?
The main objective of the Residential Home Design Project is to provide students with the basic understanding of the architectural design process and the application of computer-aided design software to generate architectural drawings and 3D visualization. Further skills development include collaboration and digital literacy through workflows relevant in the field of architecture and design and transferable to other careers such as advanced computer visualization and animation, game design, virtual production, interior Design, product design among others.
Derek Ramos Matos
One of the first assignments in the class was to design your own floor plan. How has the project developed since then? In what way do you think that initial floor plan will play a role in your final design?
Since the first assignment regarding our own floor plans, my project has developed exponentially. From such a small sketch there have been so many more layers added on top of it to make it what it is today. This is not the end though; there is still a lot to do, but from that initial building stone will rise an even greater project. From that sketch, I’ve made a site plan along with important information that will aid the overall design. Also, a MetaHuman will serve as the client who will be buying my residential home design. The initial floor plan will play a crucial role in the final design because it will show all the elements that the final design should have.
What are some challenges you faced while working in AutoCAD and researching your site? What steps did you take to overcome those challenges?
Some of my major challenges that I encountered while working on AutoCAD are how many small intricate details my Google Earth image had. When it came to the tracing of my building and the important aspects that needed to be highlighted, I had to spend a lot more time than others to be able to fully illustrate the site plan. While researching my site, I also had the challenge of vegetation. My site is located in Greece, which has a host of almost extinct sea plants, but at the same time so does the surface. Due to it being an isolated volcanic island, a lot of the plant life is endemic to the country. This makes them difficult to identify and also almost all vegetation dries up in the summer. To overcome this challenge, I made sure to make specific research in the unique plant life that was native to Greece.
Now that you’re finished creating your site plan in AutoCAD, what do you look forward to as a next step in the unit?
Now that my site plan has been completed in AutoCad I am very excited to start being able to envision a house that could be built on this site and how I will develop it in other programs such as Revit.
How do you feel MetaHuman will help you with your house design process?
I feel MetaHuman will help make my project have a more solid vision when I can take into account a client on whom the project will be focused. The house will be designed around the client’s needs and interests. This will give the project a better foundation and a sense of realism that might not have been achieved if we didn’t work with a MetaHuman.
What crucial skills are you hoping to take away from this project? How will those skills help you in the coming years?
Some crucial skills I am hoping to learn from this project are the foundation of organization and how to deal with deadlines and, most importantly, time management. I also want to learn how to really use AutoCAD and hopefully learn Revit too. These skills will help me in whatever path I choose to take. If it is an architecture focused path, then I will have a head start on everything I need to learn to become a successful architect.