Affordable summer archictural drafting courses in NYC?
May 4, 2010 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody know of an entry level architectural drafting course or introduction to architecture course being given in New York City (or near NYC) during the summer for a reasonable price?

I've just been accepted to Pratt Institute's MS Interior Design program with an undergraduate degree in a different field and am required to take an arch drafting or intro to arch course before the fall. Pratt suggests their course but it costs almost 4000USD. Thankfully, they allow this course to be taken at an outside institution since it's not an integral part of the curriculum.

I've found several programs so far but most are either still too expensive (Parsons/New School, Columbia) costing around 2000USD or simply don't offer summer drafting courses (Art Institute of New York, City College).

If anybody had suggestions for community colleges or smaller art schools that might have more affordable summer drafting classes, I would greatly appreciate the help. Thanks!
posted by RobertFrost to Education (8 answers total)
Response by poster: Yeah, I didn't read the title before I posted this. ARCHITECTURAL drafting courses. Why isn't their an edit button in AskMefi? Anyway, thanks again for the help!
posted by RobertFrost at 7:34 PM on May 4, 2010

Really, if you can find any community college course in drafting, you'll learn the basics of how to manage input; this will give you a feel for it. But, it will not give you an understanding of what information should go where and how to think about graphic representation.

Autocad is the most prevalent program, but DataCad originated specifically for architecture. It offers a free demo which you can use and has a nice, friendly message board filled with knowledgeable, responsive people. I'd suggest you pose your question there and see if anyone has additional ideas.

Alternately, Ching has a good introductory book on architectural graphics. Also, Graphic Standards is the warhorse book. It's pricy, so see if you can find an older edition. The information will give you a great understanding of constuction - something many interior design courses don't feature due to the specific and chock-full courses they cover. I know that both books used back in the day when I went through architecutre school. Additionally, look at the university bookstore and library to see which books they stock.
posted by mightshould at 6:18 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, mightshould! I'll keep searching through the CUNY databases but I'm pretty sure City College is the only NYC community college with architecture.

I'm confused by Pratt's requirement of this summer course since, as you said, its hard to pick up even the essentials in a summer course and two drafting courses are included in the 3 years of master's study anyway. I guess its to put a student in the midset? I just wish I could "get in the mindset" without "dropping 4000 dollars". Ugh.
posted by RobertFrost at 7:17 AM on May 5, 2010

"arch drafting or intro to arch course"

These are very different things. I would suggest a quick call to them to figure out what the goal of this prerequisite is, so if you DO have to spend money on a course, you actually get something out of it.

But I would imagine that you could do a drafting course at a technical school somewhere? Or you could find an "intro to architecture" in an art history program somewhere?
posted by misterbrandt at 8:46 AM on May 5, 2010

Ugh. Paying $4000 or even $2000 for a "Introduction to AutoCAD" class would be a terrible waste of money. Please make sure the class focuses on current and relevant BIM technology like Autodesk Revit. Also, although Sketchup isn't a real BIM program, I'm sure if you master that rather than learning a handful AutoCAD basics, you would have a much better leg up on your classmates.
posted by tfmm at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you're local to Pratt, go see what the students are presenting at finals if possible - you'll get an idea of what type of images they're looking for in the interior design program. It's usually different than the architecture program.

If that's not possible, contact them and get the name and contact info of a studio professor who oversees your studio (I assume they still do studios) and talk to that person about what will be most beneficial to your knowledge-base.

Remember, your goal is to find out how to most efficiently gain the information you'll need to succeed. If you need more background in theory, then the architecure course may help, while if you need to understand basic drafting, I'd start w/ that. Tailor the instruction to your specific needs - don't only use it as a way to fulfill a requirement.

Use the opportunity to connect w/ some professor there in advance of your first semester.
posted by mightshould at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2010

I'm pretty sure City College is the only NYC community college with architecture.

City College is not a community college, by the way. It's a "senior college" of the City University of New York.

The New York City College of Technology (part of the CUNY system) offers a Bachelor of Technology and Associate of Applied Science degrees in Architectural Technology degrees.

The schedule of classes says they're offering CAD and some advanced computer design classes this summer, but not their intro drafting courses (which they list as prerequisites for the CAD courses, see their catalog [scroll down])
posted by Jahaza at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions everybody - especially to mightshould and the suggestion of connecting with the department sooner rather than later. I discovered a few things for those who do this hunt in the future.

Fashion Institute of Technology seems to have the cheapest summer drafting course in the city (as long as you are a New York resident - 1 year at a New York address - which I am not). The key is to look at Continuing Education curricula as opposed to by-credit undergraduate or graduate courses. FIT's summer drafting course in the Continuing Education department is around $260 or $270 for in-state residents which is a bit better than Pratt's Continuing Education drafting course which, as it turns out, is $400. For out-of-staters (or people who have lived in New York for less than a full year), the FIT drafting course is closer to $700.

The moral of the story: talk to everyone, everywhere and eventually you will get the correct information because, on the whole, school websites are a mess.
posted by RobertFrost at 4:39 PM on May 7, 2010

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