Like many other disciplines, Architecture can be quite intimidating for beginners, especially students. As one starts to delve into architecture, he might realize how this discipline is more than the construction of buildings. The knowledge underpinning architectural studies is vast and endless. It includes the study of design, structural construction, urban study, technology, culture, psychology, and sociology among many others. Often time, students and junior architects found themselves overwhelmed with the maze of possibilities in architecture. This is where the 30X40 Design Workshop comes in handy by providing a guide through the vital compounds in understanding architecture and becoming an architect with a solid foundation.
30X40 is a design-oriented residential architecture firm founded by Eric Reinholdt. It is based in Mount Desert Island which is also home to the Acadia National Park. Reinholdt’s YouTube channel called ‘30X40 Design Workshop’ offers a comprehensive guide to architectural tutorials and short courses for students and practitioners. With over 190 videos and 601,000 subscribers (June 2020), this channel has helped many students and aspiring architects to pave their way through this discipline.
Reinholdt boasts the ability to capture, compose, and document a series of videos that entails the necessary basic guides and tutorial in the world of architecture. This includes architectural lettering, ideas and steps to diagrams sketching, a guide to model making, site visit, planning, and important foundation and structure towards successful engineer and clients’ consultations. Viewers are recommended to cross-check the tutorials between his website, where the videos are structurally categorized (under the tab LEARN), and linked to playlists in his YouTube channel.
At first glance of his channel, one will be quite overwhelmed by the vast availability of resources and wonder where to begin. Here are some suggestions on where to start!
1. The Outpost Project
The Outpost Project playlist is a series of videos thoroughly documented to capture the essence of a design process. This playlist is divided into 9-part videos where Reinholdt documents his design process of the Project Outpost from start to finish. This begins with a site visit and client meeting. It then takes the viewers to his Long Studio where the bulk of his creative process began. Here, he demonstrates a comprehensive explanation of site analysis by producing key concepts guided by sketches of diagrams. This is then followed by model making to develop a better understanding of the site context and its relation to the building’s form. The playlist includes a discussion with a structural engineer and client meetings where designs are then revised accordingly.
2. Studio Design Tutorials
Reinholdt also prepared a series of architectural tutorials for students and designers. Released in 2015, Studio Design Tutorials consists of 12-part videos, where viewers are guided into the design process of the construction of his studio – Long Studio. Here, he presents the inspirations behind the project and then further conveys the idea and concept in a series of diagrams, plans, and study models. The tutorial is then followed by a thorough explanation of material selections for the studio as well as a good overview of the construction process to its completion.
3. Architecture Model Making
Manual model making is an integral part of the design process and serves as physical experimentation of the workability of a designed building. Unfortunately, with the rapid advancement of architectural software, this step is often neglected by designers and deemed unnecessary and time-consuming. In this playlist, Reinholdt emphasizes the importance of model making as a crucial contributor to the creativity and problem-solving in a design process. According to Reinholdt, a model is a form of three-dimensional sketching which acts as a tool to help visualize the light and shadow play of a given space. Furthermore, material and tool selections are also heavily discussed throughout the videos.
Apart from tutorials, the 30X40 Design Workshop also offers architectural book reviews which serve as an invaluable guide for architecture students. There are also videos on recommendations on ideal computers and software for students and architects alike.
4. Being an architect | ‘A Choice to Make’ – Short Film
In this 8minutes and 34 seconds short film, Reinholdt shares his struggle as an architect in finding an escape route to the unfulfilled creativity as well as passion in the architectural working life whilst providing financial support for his family. Reinholdt raises the question of how the architects can make the most of their short time. This short film aims to motivate designers to seek fulfillment and contribution in all aspects of life be it design, architecture, or otherwise.
As a recent architecture graduate, I have the first-hand experience in utilizing the 30X40 Design Workshop during my study years. Now as an assistant architect, I am indebted to the playlists as they have immensely helped me to understand architecture both from the perspective of a beginner as well as of a practitioner. Furthermore, his vlogs and videos encourage the pursuit and development of one’s identity through design. Reinholdt is most relatable to young aspiring architects as he treads on daily struggles and discusses concerns that engulf amateurs in this field. Watching this short film allows us to walk in his shoes and be inspired. This short film is a breath of fresh air.