Applied Studies (APST) 215

Introduction to Graphic Representation (Revision 1)

APST 215

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, see current revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

APST 215: Foundations of Design is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: None

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

APST 215 is not available for challenge. Credit may be transferred for previous work considered equivalent.

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APST 215 is the first of three courses that will prepare you for Design Studios and for work in an architect's office. This course introduces principles and techniques of visual thinking and of communicating ideas graphically. You will learn the fundamentals of freehand drawing, sketching, and 3D physical modeling.

Through readings, online video demonstrations, and assignments, you will develop skill in free-hand drawing and an understanding of drawing as a vital means to see, analyze, and represent essential aspects of the environment. Topics include how to see; visual concepts, such as proportion, scale, light effect, value, and texture; and perspective techniques.

Mastery comes only with practice. To encourage mastery of observation and sketching skills, you will be required to develop and maintain a sketchbook as a graphic record of ideas, objects, and environments of interest or importance in your daily life. (The sketchbook is similar in nature to the Design Journal required in the Design Studio sequence.) You will maintain your sketchbook as a learning tool until you have completed the final unit of the course, and will scan and submit your sketches to your tutor (which you will create as you work through Unit 1).

Course Outline

  • Unit 1. Self-Description and Freehand Sketching
  • Unit 2. Design and Drawing Technique Development
  • Unit 3. Representation of a Public Sculpture
  • Unit 4. Drawing an Interior Space
  • Unit 5. Landscape Drawing with Architectural Elements
  • Unit 6. Architecture in the Urban Context

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Use graphic systems, including the plan, section, axonometric, and perspective, and drawing techniques to represent outline, tone, texture, shade, and shadow. (Know)
  2. Explore and examine topics, including the self, object, landscape, interior, and urban space, through graphic representation. (Analyze)
  3. Combine graphic systems and drawing techniques, to develop renderings that graphically express your understanding of the subject matter. (Apply)


Course work will be evaluated based on 6 assignments. A final course grade of 67% or higher is required to pass the course.

The table below summarizes weighting:

Assignment Due Weight
Assignment 1 Unit 1 10%
Assignment 2 Unit 2 10%
Assignment 3 Unit 3 30%
Assignment 4 Unit 4 15%
Assignment 5 Unit 5 15%
Assignment 6 Unit 6 20%
Total   100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Delgado Yanes, M., & Redondo Dominguez, E. (2005.) Freehand drawing for architects and interior designers. New York: Norton. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher. (Online)

Ching, Francis D.K. (2010.) Design drawing. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Wiley. Instructions for downloading this book are included in your course package. (Online)

Sketchbook and Drawing Instruments: The course package contains a number of materials that you will use to perform sketching exercises and assignments:

  • sketchbook
  • drawing paper
  • pencil
  • pencil crayons
  • conté crayons
  • charcoal

Students will be supplied with one set of materials. Replacements will not be provided.

Online Materials

Course Home Page: The course home page houses all the online components of your course.

Study Guide and Schedule: The study guide/schedule on your course home page includes the Course Information, the six units of the Study Guide, online readings, and assignments. See "How to Use the Study Guide" in this document.

Course Information: You are now reading the Course Information, which provides specific information about how to proceed through the course. Read the Course Information carefully before you begin reading the Study Guide.

Assignments: Instructions for the assignments are in the assignment links on the course home page. Submit each assignment through its assignment link.

Forms: Forms you may need are available through the myAU portal.


You will need convenient access to an Internet browser.

The course is delivered online by Athabasca University for study at home. You will be in regular contact with the instructor, who will provide guidance and feedback on your sketches. You are expected to spend about three hours of online classroom time each week and an additional six hours each week reading, drawing, and completing assignments.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, June 17, 2013.