What to Expect
Architectural technology students learn to develop polished drawing skills
and a reliable grasp of perspective -- the technique of representing three-dimensional
objects and depth relationships on a two-dimensional surface like paper.
"I had a good sense of [perspective] when I started," says Keith Stiener.
"They just helped me perfect that a little bit more."
Stiener is an architectural technologist who works for a small firm. He
says that allows for more variety in his work. "If you work for a large firm,
things are more structured, and you may sit in front of a computer and that's
what you do all day."
At work, he deals with AutoCAD (computer-aided design software), works
with specifications and interacts with clients.
"I get to do some rendering now and again and some site planning,"
Stiener says. Rendering is a perspective drawing showing an architect's idea
of a finished building or interior. "Get sketch paper and pencil out, and
go at it. I learned some techniques and things in that ... program that are
He says that it's important for students considering architectural technology
to make sure that the program has good drawing and rendering classes.
Aside from those skills, Stiener says that he has also benefited from instruction
in professional practice -- how to run a business day-to-day.
"People think of architecture and they think ... that's drawing. There's
a business side of it, too," he says.
Deanna Tymchak went into an architectural technology program right out
of high school.
A large part of her three-year diploma program was hands-on training;
there were three co-op terms. "I wanted to get right into it and learn more
than just facts," she says.
"Through a co-op program, you go on three work terms and that gives you
a lot of hands-on experience. You understand what you're drawing and what
All of her training has been on AutoCAD, computer software that has been
essential in the real world. She says that in her graphics class, they did
some freehand drawing just to get a feel for it.
She adds that the program ends up combining all the skills they learn.
"When we do a set of working drawings, we are also doing an interior design,
and so we'll pick materials and finishes for it as well."