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Building for the future: Blinn College District students design and construct wall sections from scratch

Architectural Technology course offers hands-on learning and job site simulation

May 22, 2018

Building for the future: Blinn College District students design and construct wall sections from scratch

The northwest corner of the Blinn College-Bryan Campus recently transformed into a scaled-down job site as dozens of architecture students put their skills to the test designing and constructing structures from scratch.

Students in Blinn’s Architectural Technology course, under the guidance of Architecture Professor Dr. Michael Bunch, drafted commercial wall sections, compiled materials within a budget, and constructed the design in a simulated job site environment.

“This course is aimed at teaching students the terminology and logic behind assembling basic facilities and structures in the infrastructure arena,” said Bunch, a licensed architect and interior designer. “This was a very hands-on and intense project that mimics the situations students will encounter in a professional setting.”

Throughout the semester, students learned to accurately scale down a full-sized wall section to the dimensions of a classroom model. Once the drawings were complete and the correct materials were ordered, the class headed outside to initiate the build.

Prior to construction, the class split into three groups responsible for different sections of the structure – the roof, wall, and floor. Each group reported to sophomore James Chirdo, the appointed project manager, who served as the liaison between his classmates and Bunch.

“This project gave us a feel for how to design and implement the logistics of a full-scale structure,” Chirdo said. “It really bridged the gap between what we were learning in the classroom and being able to say, ‘I can go out in the industry and do this.’ This is a very rare opportunity to experience at a community college.”

As in any job environment, the students encountered obstacles, such as supply substitutes and last-minute alterations that required teamwork to overcome.

“My goal was to teach students to think on their feet,” Bunch said. “I want them to ask questions and strategize rather than simply telling them the answer.”

The finished product will serve as a teaching model for subsequent Architectural Technology students.

“We are very excited about this semester project,” Bunch said. “We want to grow it and provide bigger opportunities for our students.”

Designed to give students a foundation in architecture and design, Blinn’s Architecture Program includes rigorous introductory courses in AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, Adobe Photoshop, hand drafting, and perspective drawing. With small class sizes, students receive personalized instruction from program faculty and are challenged with projects and presentations compatible with curricula at four-year institutions.

Graduates of the program may work with a contractor as part of the administrative team. These positions can lead to more advanced jobs such as estimator, job coordinator, or project manager. Program graduates also are qualified for positions in land and project development, technical sales jobs focusing on building materials, systems, and equipment, or positions with government agencies or financial institutions.

For more information about the Blinn Architecture Program and its course offerings, visit www.blinn.edu/vpa/architecture.html.

Registration is now open for Blinn’s Summer and Fall semesters. The Summer I semester runs June 4-July 2, the Summer II semester will be July 5-Aug. 2, and the Fall semester begins Aug. 27. Registration for each semester is available until the first day of class.

For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.