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Old 06-18-2013, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 10 years old and builds buildings and houses from just about anything (lego etc) and he makes drawings of his own designs and builds them.  Because he is showing very strong signs of becoming an architect, I want to encourage it.  He's intellectually gifted.  Can anyone advise me how I can get him started?  Certain architecture kits he can build/play with etc.. or websites etc.. anything would be of help. Thanks.

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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It's great that your son has found something he enjoys, but it's kind of a leap from "builds with legos and draws his own designs" to "architect."  Kids change interests all the time.  What kind of lead is he taking here?  Is he looking for more?

 

My issue with kits is that I often feel that the instructions are limiting. Building a scale model of the Parthenon is not the same as sketching out an interesting idea for a bridge, or experimenting with building materials to see what you can do with them.

 

Would he be interested in a CAD program or class?  What opportunities are there for him to learn more about building and design?

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response MeepyCat. What I am looking for is something to help build his skills to prepare him to be an architect when he gets older.  He's been doing the building and drawing since he was 4 years old. He also talks about building designs and shapes all the time and other signs that the interest in architecture is showing so strong. He's recognized as intellectually gifted in school as well. He bores easily and I am struggling to find things to keep up with him. A CAD program is a good idea.  I just wanted to know how to start him on the right track kind of thing. Know what I mean?
 

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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I have been told by professionals in the field that they feel that the availability of CAD has completely ruined drawing skills for the younger generation. Now while this may be a familiar lament from just about any profession ("the trouble with young people today...") it makes sense to me that it must be helpful to understand and be able to do technical drawing (perspective and all that stuff) to be able to use CAD as a tool really well.

 

Maybe you can look into classes, realtime or online, for technical drawing skills. i would not steer him into "virtual building" at this point.

 

However, this website may be of interest to him and give more ideas for real world builiding:

http://www.knexusergroup.org.uk/acatalog/knex-user-group.html#aQSP302

 

they used to sell an amazing variety of construction sets, don't know what became of that...

 

You may also like this thread, though it's not quite the age group you are asking about:

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1351547/best-type-of-building-block-sets-for-little-architects


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Old 06-18-2013, 03:45 PM
 
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Have you or your son talked to any architects about their work?

I'm really, really wary of translating a child's interests straight to what a nearby adult thinks is an appealing profession. Your kid likes to draw, design and build, but might not care for site selection, urban planning, or negotiating with zoning boards. There are a lot of right tracks, he's not going to hurt his chances of a career in anything by noodling around with drawings for another few years.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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I agree that it's too early to focus in on career goals. It can be hard to imagine strong interests from early years changing but they can. My little brother did nothing but draw schematics for cars through middle school. Thought he'd go into engineering... Nope. My eldest has been very serious about theatre since she was tiny, started workig professionally at age 10. At 16, she's looking at a journalism or history major.... Possibly political science. It's great that he loves to build now. My youngest was similar until about 11 when he shifted focus on math and science. I'd just support what he enjoys now and not think too muh i terms of career path.

For anyone interested in architecture, I recommend art classes and old fashioned pencil and paper drafting. You have a richer understanding of any sort of computer art with a physical art background.

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Old 06-18-2013, 09:02 PM
 
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I got an undergraduate degree in architecture and my husband went on and is now a licensed architect.

 

The reality of the profession is very different from the education. The education focuses on design whereas on a day to day basis my husband mostly does project management, keeping owners and consultants happy and everything coordinated. In any larger size firm there are very little design opportunities, principals only.

Hardly anyone uses CAD anymore, most firms use Revit which is a 3D modeling and drafting program all in one.

 

The reason I didn't continue with architecture was because of the huge discrepancy between education and profession. I was tremendously disappointed that all I did all day was sit behind a screen, in a cold dark room, looking at lines and trying to make sense of them when I hadn't learned one iota about how stuff goes together in school, i.e. we'd never even studied wall sections, how gypboard gets attached to studs etc. and that's mostly what you do as an intern at an architecture firm: wall details, sections, bathroom tile layouts etc., nothing glamorous. Even now at the mid-level my husband doesn't get to design much and it's never as exotic as the buildings you see in architecture magazines. Most firms end up doing stripmalls, corporate architecture, schools etc. There are those architects who strike out on their own and have small firms that only do residential architecture but they've usually put their time in at a big firm too. Also, depending on where you are, in the US you don't need an architect to build a house, so the residential market is very hard to work in since "designers" and "builders" can do that work for a lot less.

 

All that being said I would advise you to dig a little more and figure out what exactly it is that draws your son to "building". Is it the creative part of designing something out of nothing? Is it the engineering part of figuring out how stuff works, how it goes together, how problems are solved? I ended up in the fitness industry and am working as a biomechanics specialist. It fits me perfectly, I get to think about joints, forces, axes and problem solve what is going on in the body and how to manipulate all those variables.

 

Ultimately I think there are grunts in all professions and no matter where you end up you'll have to put in your time before being rewarded with the "fun" stuff but I would strongly encourage you and your son to go visit an architecture firm and see the day to day operations before you steer him in that direction without realizing a lot of the work is just not designing.


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Old 06-19-2013, 12:39 AM
 
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Totally agree about interests changing. My brother is grew up a violinist, not a Lego-and-design kid. While playing professionally in an orchestra he almost accidentally discovered a love and talent for architecture, and ended up pursuing a second degree, this time in architecture.

 

He is one of the "successful" architects. One of his house designs was on the cover of a professional architecture magazine while he was still an undergrad. He rose through the ranks of a couple of firms by virtue of his design talent, and enjoyed a few years of actually designing prominent buildings. But his real work these days doesn't have much to do with design. Now he's a VP in a multinational architectural and engineering firm that designs some of those crazy structures in places like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Mumbai. His day-to-day work has little to do with design: it's team direction, finessing bids, schmoozing with prospective clients, working PR angles. So whether you're a grunt or a high flyer, well, there's a lot to architecture that's not about the glamour of designing structures. Most of it, in fact.

 

Rather than worrying about "preparing him for a career in architecture" at age 10, I would just encourage him to become a well-rounded, passionate individual with a variety of talents and interests. I think at 10 he should be opening himself up to as many options as possible, not focusing on one thing.

 

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Old 06-19-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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As a "gifted" child, I tended to get interested in a subject to an unusual depth. When I was interested in gardening, I hybridized tomatoes. When I learned to sew, I designed my own garments. When photography was my focus, I built a darkroom. My dad set me up with a drawing table and all manner of cool drawing tools, when engineering and design was my passion. My parents supported all these projects, and many more! (I was sort of unschooled, long before that term existed) Today, I am a social worker, and this is clearly the right job for me. But I am grateful for all the interesting experiences and opportunities along the way. I still love learning, in a huge range of fields. For a ten year old, I would suggest supporting his interest (drawing tools and books on architecture, history, etc), but not look too far into the future just yet. If architecture is his passion, he will stick with it. If his interests change, his life will be enriched by his deep knowledge about aspects of design and building.

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Old 06-19-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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as with other professions, many clearly knew from a very young age what they wanted to be and pursued it 

 

many take great pleasure in a single interests no matter how much you attempt to redirect them - if this is his current or long term passion, it sounds like you support him and it sounds like you are doing a great job! thumb.gif I would just keep doing what you are doing and add as much as you can  (be it a class, books, programs, hands on, etc) related

 

you might find a local architect that would be willing to sit down and talk to him, you could do this as a fun research activity and get to know what that person was like at his age      


 

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Old 06-19-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this thread since posting last night and I think what I wanted to caution you against is focusing on the career rather than the interest. By all means, support the interest as enthusiastically and creatively as you can. But at age 10 I don't think you want to get focused on the idea of "preparing him for a career." I know people who have stuck with passions they've had from a very early age, but I know far more who had early passions that evolved into something rather different during adolescence and early adulthood. I raised the example of my brother to point out that specific preparation from a young age is not necessary for success in architecture, and that in fact a meandering path fueled by a variety of interests and perspectives is an excellent way to end up finding what makes you happiest. 

 

It can be a subtle difference, but rather than focusing on career preparation I would focus on nurturing his interest. What he does in the day-to-day may be the same in either case, but the reason changes. In the former it's all about the goal, while in the latter it's about the journey, wherever it takes him. 

 

I have a 10-year-old dd who really likes architecture, and thinks she might like to be an architect someday. I see a lot of things she's doing that may someday help her achieve that: entrepreneurship, advanced math study, projects which involve systematic attention to detail, advanced computer skills, exploring her interest in geometric art and sculpture, developing her personal networking skills, exploring 2d and 3d computer mapping and other forms of mapping, photography, travel, using Pinterest to explore design principles and awards, and so on. These things are led by her interests, though, and not by career aspirations. They're meaningful to her now, and not simply as a means to an end.

 

Have fun!

Miranda


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Old 06-19-2013, 12:45 PM
 
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My husband is a set designer, and my best friend of 30+ years is an architect. They have so much in common, but like a pp said my friend is working as a project manager on. Frank Gherry project and has been for the past 6 years. Yeah it's pretty cool, but he misses designing. My husband on the other hand deigns lots of things, constructs them, deconstructs them, paints them, etc.
if your son is truly into the creative aspect perhaps have him work in a theater alongside the designer and technicians, he will gain a wealth of knowledge and the hands on experience is invaluable, no mater what field he explores later in life.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:32 PM
 
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My son is younger (six) but we're going to try a lego camp this summer that incorporates a computer software program. Maybe there are summer camps like this for older kids? It might be fun for your son to spend time with kids who have similar interests. 

 

Yes, no one knows what profession a kid might ultimately choose, but I understand trying to nurture their current interests. We try to stay on top of what my son is interested in because, for him, motivation more than anything is the driving factor for accumulating knowledge. 

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Old 06-20-2013, 06:14 AM
 
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My ds has participated in FLL, First Lego League.. His team was through his middle school. In FLL, the get to build robots using Legos Mindstorm and program them. It is not building architecture, but does include design and engineering. last night we went to a fundraiser for the high school robotics team. Found out the no longer use Legos. They did have a cool robot that included cad designed parts and the used a cnc to mill them. Polled some of the group that had graduated. All three were going to be engineer's in part due to their experiences the robots. They participated in competitions around the US.

I think looking for local ametuer clubs, 4-h, and school clubs might be a place to start. Ds's school's industrial Ed teacher had started a builder's club dedicated philanthropy projects including the community and building. Colleges sometimes have summer programs for kids. Art, design, and art history are part of the curriculum of college level arch programs, so getting involved in community art center classes.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I've been thinking about this thread since posting last night and I think what I wanted to caution you against is focusing on the career rather than the interest. By all means, support the interest as enthusiastically and creatively as you can. But at age 10 I don't think you want to get focused on the idea of "preparing him for a career." I know people who have stuck with passions they've had from a very early age, but I know far more who had early passions that evolved into something rather different during adolescence and early adulthood. I raised the example of my brother to point out that specific preparation from a young age is not necessary for success in architecture, and that in fact a meandering path fueled by a variety of interests and perspectives is an excellent way to end up finding what makes you happiest. 

 

It can be a subtle difference, but rather than focusing on career preparation I would focus on nurturing his interest. What he does in the day-to-day may be the same in either case, but the reason changes. In the former it's all about the goal, while in the latter it's about the journey, wherever it takes him. 

 

I have a 10-year-old dd who really likes architecture, and thinks she might like to be an architect someday. I see a lot of things she's doing that may someday help her achieve that: entrepreneurship, advanced math study, projects which involve systematic attention to detail, advanced computer skills, exploring her interest in geometric art and sculpture, developing her personal networking skills, exploring 2d and 3d computer mapping and other forms of mapping, photography, travel, using Pinterest to explore design principles and awards, and so on. These things are led by her interests, though, and not by career aspirations. They're meaningful to her now, and not simply as a means to an end.

 

Have fun!

Miranda

 

This is what I meant. Not to discourage him, but to let his interests lead him where they may. It is early to be focused on career - learning can be a form of "trying on" different roles. Childhood is a great time to be doing that!

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Old 06-20-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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You've had lots of great advice about supporting his interests along with specific suggestions on how to do that. I do know people who decided on career goals when they were very young and stuck with and are very happy and satisfied. One guy was 6 y.o. and was introduced to wildlife studies by meeting a couple of educators who spent a lot of time in the field. He knew that was what he wanted to do too, so he collected pets. He spent summers attending camps at a zoo, eventually becoming a counsellor. In high school, he went on international exchanges to study biology in the rainforest. He's about to graduate from a zoology program and is planning grad studies. I can think of other people I know with similar childhood stories, including an architect.

 

I think it's vitally important to help such children keep an open mind and enjoy broad experiences - the zoologist did lots of sports, band, worked in the family restaurant business and television production -  but it is possible for a child to know their own minds about this sort of thing.

 

As others have pointed out, it's all fine IF the initiative is coming from your child. Assuming that's the case, here are a few ideas, some I don't think I've seen suggested yet - 

 

-Kits and Lego are fun but I would also get him some decent tools and supplies and let him build structures - bird houses, dog houses, garden shed, forts etc. 

 

-He may be a little too young now but in a couple of years he may be interested in joining volunteer groups like Habitat for Humanity. 

 

-Most cities have walking tours to view various local architectural features. Consider a vacation in Chicago or New York city where they are rightfully proud of their architectural pasts. Some cities offer "Doors Open" events once a year or so, where the public is invited to tour buildings and spaces that are usually off-limits. If you live in area with some diversity, look for examples of non-Western architecture. In my city, I can find Japanese tea houses with shoji screens, various mosques and temples and so on. 

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Old 06-20-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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Hm, in my earlier post I seem to have edited out a point I was going to make about exploring a specific career fairly early. It can be very helpful to see some of the reality of the day-to-day job, good and bad. By the time he was a tween, the zoology kid was long past the romance stage of thinking he was going to be cuddling cute animals all day every day. By the time he was in high school, he learned first-hand that field studies are no picnic, that grant applications and desk work are a necessary evil, that there was a lot of not-fun slogging he would have to do. Despite all that, he remained committed to his passion. 

 

I think some of the happiest lawyers, doctors and engineers that I know are the professionals who entered "the family business", following in the footsteps of parents, grandparents or uncles/aunts. They were under no illusions about the training, the demands and sacrifices, or the lifestyle of their chosen career.

 

In the absence of that kind of personal privilege arising from family situation, getting some early experience is helpful.  Supporting an early interest and providing early exposure can also help a child figure out what s/he doesn't want to do.  Early insight helps inform good choices later on. 

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Old 06-27-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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Dakipode has some great insight from the professional side of architecture.  It is a very narrow and tightly focused degree program from which only a few people get to become architects who work on all stages of a project, others are stuck with less exciting tasks, and a lot of people end up doing something else entirely.  If you want to click on my user name and go over to my site, I have an article called "The Path at the End of the Road" about what happened when I tried to become an architect.

 

That said, buildings and living spaces are still a big interest of mine.  My favorite inspirations:

  • many architecture books available from Dover Publications--lots of different architectural eras, scads of floor plans and other illustrations, and the books are eco-friendly and affordably priced!  They have a particularly awesome book about the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein is about figuring out the "rules" for designing spaces that really work well on a human scale, illustrated with photos from around the world.
  • Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen explains how constructed spaces “work” aesthetically, in a way that’s very clear and easy to understand, at least for a teenager--I didn't see this book until then, but I think I would have enjoyed the photos at any age.
  • random architecture/home improvement magazines from yard sales can be really interesting, even if their main effect is to show you what you DON'T like, because pushing back against a bad idea helps you to refine your good ideas.
  • I love going to open houses of homes for sale or new buildings that are open to the public for a day.  Real estate agents are pretty tolerant of "just looking", especially if you explain about your young architecture buff.
     

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Old 08-05-2013, 09:45 AM
 
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Lego put out something new called Lego Architecture Studio- could be fun to add to your collection.

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Old 08-05-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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That is a bit of a leap to call him an architect at ten. Make sure he has access to good quality art supplies and building supplies like Kapla that scale to an older kid and see where some science supplies take him. See if you can find carpentry or welding instruction as well as art classes.

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Old 08-14-2013, 10:34 PM
 
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He might like to check out google's Sketch Up. That could keep him busy for a long time. It's free.

 

There are lots of ways to go in a building/design/creation profession. You've had a lot of good suggestions here. I have friends who build green homes and my brother-in-law is one of those architects with the big firms that builds big skyscrapers. They are both architects, but do pretty different stuff. He might be interested in something that we haven't even thought about by the time he gets to college — something like applications for 3D printing. 


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