To give you an idea of what you should expect in architecture school, see below this list of potential classes you might take and their associated descriptions.
Architecture of the World/History of Architecture
Regardless of how this class is labeled, it is likely that you will take at least one course focused on different architectural styles in various parts of the world throughout history. The idea is for you to gain a global perspective of buildings, their surroundings, and how different design elements and ideas were spread throughout time. You might study as far back as the Neolithic period, and will likely trace architecture’s evolution up through the present day. You might specifically focus on the architectural expression and meaning, as well as building methods and technology. Class time might also be devoted to what issues arise when architectural styles are imposed on other cultures or in some way adapted. You might also study major monuments and how different environmental factors such as climate, as well as economy, technology, and philosophy affect their construction and design. This course will be in large part visual as you study the aesthetics and artistic expression of buildings throughout time.
As an architecture student, you may take an entire class focused specifically on building materials. What this means is that you will study both the source of different materials and their limitations when it comes to efficient and appropriate construction. There may be an element of history as you study the role of different building materials throughout time, and you will likely also explore different construction methods and applications of various materials. Your instructor may emphasize basic design elements as well as how you can practically use different materials “in the field” at construction sites. Depending on what school you attend, you may visit actual sites to get a hands-on feel for how materials are used.
It will be a necessary part of your studies for you to be trained in the basic concepts of drafting and how to create plans for use in the construction industry. You will specifically study sequencing and layout, how to compose sheet images, how to correctly construct drawings, and line weights, projection, symbols, and conventions. In essence, drafting refers to how you will convey the intent of your designs as well as the method and ease of construction to contractors and construction workers. In many cases classroom time will be accompanied by opportunities to work in a computer lab so you can execute actual architectural, structural, civil, and detail designs.
A successful architectural design is more than just a picture of a building. By necessity it includes detailed plans for what materials will be used, how said materials will be assembled, and other construction methods that need to be utilized. In many cases a class like this is one part lecture and two parts lab time, where you can gain hands-on knowledge by observing construction methods and actually designing scaled building projects.