“Architectural Drafting” in Technical Secondary Schools of Iran and the Matter of Normative View about Architecture



Technical secondary schools are becoming a common type of schools in Iran and “Architectural Drafting” is a popular field provided in it to prepare drafting technicians for design offices. Another main purpose can be conceived for these courses and it is to fill the gap between profession of architecture and the society. Special teaching method proposed for these courses is valid to pay attention. Here, architectural basics are taught through some course books – i.e. theoretical method- while current methods in schools of architecture, are architectural workshops and case-based education which are both kinds of knowing by doing. This research is , thus, an evaluation of normative views, shaped in minds of these students throughout their curriculum in Technical Secondary schools to make clearer if such an educational method can make technician fit with two purpose mentioned above, specially the matter of relationship between architects and people. This surveying has been conducted in 6 of such schools in the city of Ghom where the author worked as instructor in these courses. Upon this experiment, a qualitative survey was designed, in first part of which, three houses of three different architectural styles of contemporary work was given to pupils and they were asked to make judgments about them. Then in second part, they were asked to propose four main factor for a work of design upon which, it could be valued as “good architecture”. While this second part, was considered as theoretical survey, the first part, was perceived as a kind of inquiry of how the theory is applied. Findings are organized in four main parts: comprehensiveness of students’ views, their styles of thinking about design and their way of learning, their normative references in qualifying works of architecture and their normative viewpoints of the profession of architecture. A lack of cultural visions is obvious in students’ views and their anti- tradition orientation is arguable. Besides, this research shows rational bios in students’ style of thinking and analyzing works of design, while there is little improvement in their analytic ability in the fields related to aesthetics. This study, thus, shows: with a curriculum based on deductive methods, only “function” (or utilitas) of three Vitruvian elements (utilitas, firmitas, venustas), is well placed in students mind and so these courses are failed to fill the old gap – the matter of meaning in architecture- between people and architects. In their views about the profession of architecture, these students show that they are convinced about superiority of architecture upon other building professions as well as ordinary people; a fact that is a notion of a hidden curriculum. When we consider that these students are in teen ages, during which, values are confirmed in human mind, these courses’ importance and their need to be planned more carefully, is made clearer. It can be concluded that, under the impact of teachers’ curriculum in universities, these secondary school courses are inclined towards high school aims while, paradoxically, their educational method is remained deductive and this is a main obstacle for them to meet their purposes.