visual learners

Architects are visual learners. Perhaps that is an understatement, but I have found that to be true in both teaching and practice. Show me how to do something and I have got it. Tell me how and I am shaky on it. Make me read a manual and I will fall asleep before I finish.

In our digital and cyber world this type of learning can be done quite easily and on your own. The web boasts of many learning videos (I’m talking G-rated). As I continue to learn as an architect I embrace many of these resources on a weekly or monthly basis. Here are a few examples that really helped me learn a particular aspect I was interested in learning at a particular time.

Francis D.K. Ching books – This is where every architecture student starts. Who doesn’t own several of his books? These are illustrated so well (I have an early edition of Form, Space and Order that is hand-lettered and hand illustrated). He is one of the best.

WordPress Blog These videos were very helpful as I set up this blog.


 I often refer to their series of videos to learn a particular part of the software that I just can’t understand from simply reading the manual.

Continuing Education Sources (too many to include)

Hanley Wood  – They have many good series of webinars and online articles to focus on a particular subject.

Architectural Record  – This is a great way to augment your required education units while reading about a subject of interest.

…and even those pesky IKEA furniture instructions (IKEA, every architect’s guilty pleasure…c’mon admit it)

Now here is the bait and switch. I’ve gotten you to follow this and agree with my premise right? (***cheesy grin with eyebrows up***)  Despite all of these modern examples, I learn best from listening and watching another person face to face. I would bet most other people do too…at least if they’re architects. Although the web is great and these videos and websites have helped me, nothing replaces being taught directly from a human being standing in your presence. This was the tradition for thousands of years as students learned everything about their vocation from a mentor. Look around your office. I bet you are teaching someone something. What are they learning from you? Be a good mentor and seek out good mentors. We all need them. I believe it is still the best way to learn.

top photo is from origamidon’s photostream on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License) …and no I didn’t go to school there.

visual learners

3 thoughts on “visual learners

    1. Teaching is certainly an avenue to fulfill that need. However, I look for other ways too. I have also spoken at many career fairs and talked with prospective students about architecture. Now I need to find a way to talk with more young architects actually practicing. Got any ideas?

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