Architectural Design and Planning

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STEM 101

What does the word Build/Building mean?
  • Students will likely be familiar with the concept of ‘building’ with blocks, but may not associate the word ‘building’ with the use of other materials.  In this resource the word ‘build’ can mean make, construct, put together, assemble or fabricate.
What Is a Plan?
  • An architect uses plans to represent what a building structure looks like from different angles. Unlike a floor plan, which is a bird’s eye view of a structure, a front view is just what it suggests, a view of the front of a structure.  There are also side views and back views.  Front views show the view of a structure as seen directly from the front, or from slightly off to one side.  A front view often does not give any indication of depth.  That is why plans for buildings often include more than one view – a front view, a side view and a back view, as well as floor plans for each level. A floor plan is a visual representation of the interior of a building a floor plan is similar to a traditional map in that the view is downward, as if looking from above.  Floor plans generally give a level by level view of a building.
What is a Design Plan?
  • A design plan is a plan for making something. A design plan is arrived at by architects, engineers and developers through the design process. The design process is a process that uses a team approach to problem solve in order to arrive at the best solution.  It is used in house construction, building construction, etc.
What is a Construction Plan?
  • Construction plans are the drawings which show the location, character, dimensions, and details of the work construction.


Balance and Blocks

Balance is an activity which children engage in spontaneously during play and exploration. Building blocks encourage the child to place one object on top of another and the child learns spontaneously, through their play, that a small object cannot support a very large one unless the weight distribution is correct. Although children do not know any scientific explanations of balance, by 4 or 5 years they demonstrate considerable mastery of their spatial world and can build a tower with irregular sized blocks. Yet when a child of 6 or 7 years is given a wooden beam, about 30 cm long with a block of wood fixed to one end and asked to let it rest upon a support so that it balances, they are often unable to do so. Children make the error of trying to place the mid-point of the beam on to the fulcrum, rather than placing it off-centre to compensate for it having more weight at one end.

Fascinating Facts

Pyramid Building
  • The Great Pyramids in Egypt are an amazing accomplishment in building.  The pyramids were built using large blocks of limestone that weighed several tonnes each.  The stone blocks used to build the pyramids could not simply be lifted and placed one on top of another.  So how did they do it?  Without heavy machinery, the Egyptians relied on many thousands of workers and a few simple machines such as ramps and levers. Today, scholars who study the pyramids believe that the blocks were dragged up long ramps.  What these ramps looked like is up for debate, as the ramps themselves are long gone.
The Eiffel Tower
  • Alexande Gustave Eiffel was a French structural and aeronautical engineer.  He designed the Eiffel Tower for the 1889 Paris Exhibition.  It was built in two years, two months, and two days.  After the Exhibition, there were plans to dismantle the tower!
The CN Tower
  • The CN Tower is a 553.33 m-high (1,815.4 ft) concrete communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  It was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower in 2010. It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, a signature icon of Toronto's skyline, and a symbol of Canada.
Design, Problem Solving and Meeting Human Needs and Wants
  • In The 1960’s, a long distance runner wanted shoes that didn’t slip. He put a piece of rubber in a waffle iron. The rubber took on the waffle pattern.  He attached it to his shoes.  The runner, whose name was Phil Knight, went into business making these shoes. Knight names his shoes after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.

Meeting Human Needs

All people have needs and wants, such as food, water, shelter, communication, protection, recreation, transportation, etc. Technology is using knowledge to develop products and systems that satisfy these needs and wants, solve our problems, and increase our capabilities.  It incorporates a design and problem-solving process approach.  Building design and construction are the instruments of technology.
The Design and Problem-Solving Approach usually follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Need and State the Problem
  2. Gather Information and Brainstorm to Develop Possible Solutions
  3. Select the Best Solution
  4. Implement the Solution
  5. Evaluate and Re-Design the Solution



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