Gift ideas for H.S. grad going into architecture
May 13, 2008 7:50 AM   Subscribe

My sister is graduating high school and heading to Lawrence Tech. to study architecture. What are some gift ideas for things she'll find useful/necessary in her classes?

She already has a drafting table and some of the basic t and l-square things, and the university provides laptops. I'll probably be getting her a nice set of Prismacolor markers, but I'm not sure if there is a basic set that will have all that she'll probably need without going over the top.

I don't know that much about architecture to begin with, and I know that X field of study has different material requirements in the professional and educational fields.

Other than the markers, are there any other items a budding architect would find invaluable in their toolkit?
posted by JeremiahBritt to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Steel ruler, X-acto knife, fancy pencil case, scale, triangles (45 and 30/60), tube.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:03 AM on May 13, 2008

Seconding sweet drafting supplies. If its like my friend's program, she will get her own drafting table and studio space,(read: Cubicle) so maybe some stuff to spruce up that area?
posted by OldReliable at 8:05 AM on May 13, 2008

A tackle box to store all the supplies!
She'll go through a lot of pencils and erasers too.

Try this list from Penn State's Department of Architecture.

The rest of the info/advice on their site is pretty nice for a starting student, too.
posted by juicedigital at 8:19 AM on May 13, 2008

A nice set of Rotring drafting pens, perhaps? Although they're pretty much wall dressing as no school actually teaches physical drafting anymore do they?

A copy of Banister Fletcher is always a cool gift. I still covet that book. If that's too steep get some of Francis Ching's graphics books.

A nice coffee pot, a iPod and an iTunes gift certificate to help them get through the long nights with some semblance of sanity
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2008

Steel ruler, X-acto knife, fancy pencil case, scale, triangles (45 and 30/60), tube.

Ba-ding-ding-ding-ding!!!! Maybe also a lead holder or technical pens. If you get triangles, make sure they have some sort of inking edge. Flat ones are a pain to use, even with pencils. A good size adjustable triangle (looks like a 45 with a knob and a protractor on it) would be used more than anything. Some basic shape templates might also be useful, like a couple good circle templates, but I'd avoid getting a "house" template that has door swings and toilets and all that. I never had a use for one of those in school.

Prismacolor markers are nice, but wouldn't have been too useful to me in school. Others will most likely disagree with me on that. But those things are a matter of preference, and I preferred to use colored pencils (which I think were actually prismacolor, oddly enough).

When I went to school, we got a drafting table and stool once we got into studio courses in our second year. A drafting table wouldn't have done me much good, but I definitely needed a drafting board with a parallel ruler (which totally rule over T-squares), and was pretty much required to get one according to the syllabus of one of my early classes. A drafting table wouldn't have been much use to me unless I planned to work at home instead of the school studio space.
posted by LionIndex at 8:24 AM on May 13, 2008

For reference, I had just about everything on that Penn State list, and actually still have a lot of the equipment I bought in school. Based on my experience, that list is pretty good. The Xacto knife on my desk right now has been with me since my first year of college.
posted by LionIndex at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2008

She'll be an undergraduate freshman, so a funnel and a short length of rubber tubing?

Seriously, really good luggage was the very best graduation gift I ever got. Lasted around the world several times and only recently gave up the ghost. I wouldn't worry about her being an architecture major and concentrate on what every freshperson needs.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2008

A gift card to a local art supply store. Architecture projects can run from $20 up to $200 very easily. Also, anything you can think of that will get her through long nights of work (snacks, energy drinks, CDs, iPod, etc), as a lot of students will spend 24 hours or more in class finishing up said projects.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2008

Reminder that she may get into the program and decide pretty quickly that it's not worth all the long hours, so think of things she can use otherwise too.

Great idea about the gift card to the supply store - it's invaluable. The colored pencils are great too. And, if you get the sweet set of xacto knives, get lots (really lots) of blades. I found that if I had a whole bunch of fresh blades available I'd change out for a fresh blade when the going got difficult. Otherwise, cutting through thick board with a dull blade leads to the emergency room for stitches...

Also, the storage locker is good - fits under the drafting table and holds lots of supplies. And, to make her the toast of studio, equipment such as a coffee pot and dorm refrigerator are always needed for the shared studio space.
posted by mightshould at 9:30 AM on May 13, 2008

Copies of The Fountainhead and A Pattern Language. And seconding the gift card for art supplies.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 9:31 AM on May 13, 2008

Copies of The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead really has very, very little to do with actual architecture and its practice, unless your sister plans on being an ego-driven diva douchebag. It was more annoying to me than inspiring. No one in the whole course of my education recommended reading it. Invisible Cities might be a better choice. And don't ever buy her anything having to do with Frank Lloyd Wright.
posted by LionIndex at 10:04 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the leads. I'll still have to work with my mother to figure out what she already has or will be getting, but this is definitely a help; I would have never considered the tubes, and the suggested materials list is pretty much a gift registry for an architectural undergrad.

In order to avoid some of the Ayn Rand controversy--and get to the message without needing to steep in allegory and metaphor--I'll probably just give her a copy of Emerson's Self-Reliance.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:55 AM on May 13, 2008

A sleeping bag, pillow and cans of food....she will need it for the in school all-nighters she will be having on a regular basis....
posted by birdlips at 8:48 AM on May 14, 2008

I just came across this book and flipped through it: "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School" and found it to be a really nice little book. It covers all kinds of terms and tools that anyone going into architecture would need to know and would have been a nice little book to have heading in to school.
posted by amanda at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2008

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