November 4, 2004
Revised October 16, 2007
Revised February 27, 2008
Revised April 2, 2009
Revised May 14, 2010
Revised March 18, 2015

Who we are now:

1. Purpose of the architecture program:

a. Provide courses in architectural design at freshman and sophomore levels which will articulate to public and private four-year colleges and universities to allow students to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree and ultimately licensure in architecture.

b. Provide academic preparation for students seeking jobs in architectural firms after one or two years at Triton.

2. Mission: The Mission of the Triton College School of Architecture is to teach every student excellent drawing and construction skills, a thorough understanding of building science and theory, skills that are transferable to other related careers, and an intellectual foundation that will enable the student to comprehend and engage in the events of the day.

3. Student population is high school graduates, reverse transfer students from universities who come to receive more intensive training in courses which they may have missed or done poorly on at a four year institution, older "returning" students who may be seeking a career change, and students from four year institutions who have not received technical courses which we offer that may not be offered at their school (such as Building Information Modeling).

4. Student body: 75 students enrolled in programs per semester; approximately 10% are older returning students and practicing architects wanting to leard new technology.

5. Faculty: one full-time and four part-time faculty.

6. Outcome of the program is graduates in the programs, employees in the field, and students who will continue and complete their matriculation at other institutions.


1. Shrinking demand for architects because of a passive economy. The opportunity over the long run, however, will come as the economy improves when it is predicted that a pent-up demand for new construction and rehabilitation of buildings will require more trained professionals.

2. Architectural licensing requirements in Illinois now require a professional degree in architecture (B. Arch. or M. Arch.). This means an additional one to two years of education beyond the normal 4-year degree program. It also likely will require all candidates for licensure to eventually be admitted to graduate school after completion of their B.A. or B.S. degree in architectural studies at state 4‑year universities.

3. The University of Illinois at Chicago uses a subjective student portfolio review strategy for students wanting to transfer into their program. In order for a Triton student to receive credit at UIC for Triton's design courses (ARC171 and ARC172), a UIC instructor will review his or her portfolio prior to transfer. Although transfer to UIC's architecture program will typically be granted based on a minimum GPA of 2.75, our students may be required to retake UIC’s sophomore level architectural design courses if work as shown in their portfolios does not meet UIC's constantly evolving standards. We feel that this situation will either lead to fewer transfers to UIC from Triton's architectural program, or fewer students taking architectural design courses at Triton College.


1. Demographic evolution of our community college district will increase the number of Hispanic and African-American students enrolled in our program. There has been a growth of minority interest in entering the field in recent years.

3. Students with degrees in unrelated subjects apply to 3 ½ year M.Arch. programs at UIC, UIUC, IIT and AIC. They come to Triton to take basic courses in architectural design in order to create a portfolio for assistance with admission to these programs. We could serve this market better by packaging recommended courses for these students, which would include ARC109, ARC110, ARC187, ARC189, ARC171, ARC172, ARC210 and a possible new Portfolio Preparation course.

4.  Since an M. Arch. degree is a requirement for licensure in architecture in Illinois, more students will be applying to graduate school. UIUC, UIC and SIUC will need to increase their graduate enrollment to serve the state’s  need for licensed architects. Since those schools will likely not easily expand their facilities or increase their faculty to accommodate this need, one possible state-wide solution would be for Triton College to provide a four-year architectural program feeding into the graduate programs at the three state schools. 

Long Range Goals:

1. Create a robust marketing program

a. Paid advertisements
i. Chicago Tribune
ii. Local weekly newspapers
iii. Chicago Architect magazine
iv.  The Chicago AIA web site
v. Northeastern Illinois AIA newsletter

b. High school dog-and-pony shows

c. Monthly newsletters to high schools

d.  Facebook presence

e. Yahoo Groups

2. Persuade UIUC or SIUC to create an extension program for their third and fourth years of their architecture B.S. degree program at Triton College, sharing studio space with our program.

3. Reform class enrollment policies by adopting one or both of the following alternatives:

a. Raise lab fees for upper level courses which will be allowed to have fewer than 12 students in them. An example would be as follows:

Current rule: 3 credit hour course x $88/CH x 12 students = $3,168.00 tuition

Alternative rule: 3 credit hour course x $88/CH x 8 students = $2,112.00 - $3,168.00 = $1,056.00 shortfall of income goal. This missing $1,056.00 can be made up by charging $132.00 per student “low-enrollment” or “enhanced course” fee. Based on interviews with our students, they would be willing to pay this additional fee in order for course to run and keep them on schedule toward their degree.

b. Establish a target enrollment for each program term, as opposed to each individual course. For instance, ARC110, ARC171 and ARC210 typically each have 22 students per section, whereas ARC261, 262 and 263 have only 8 students per section. The 10 additional students in the first three courses will more than make up for the 4 student shortfall in the other courses. A plan for student enrollment goals per term could be established. Upper level courses that are taken later in the program naturally have fewer students enrolled because some students leave the program before they finish. This is common in all architecture and interior design schools throughout the country.

5. Establish a Triton College Community Design Center (TCDC).

a. Design assistance for not-for-profits

b. Construction services

6. Improve existing programs.

a. Update existing articulation agreements.
i.  UIC
ii. UIUC
iii. SIUC
iv. Judson College

b. Develop new articulation agreements with colleges.

i. Art Institute of Chicago
ii. IIT
iii. Boston Architectural College

d. Establish and maintain an assessment program and publish ongoing results on web site.

e. Establish a Certification Test for graduation (see Appendix A)

7. Create new programs

a. Architecture Transfer Certificate
b.  Architecture Leveling Certificate (for students intending to enter graduate school)
c.  Code Enforcement degree
d. Product Design degree
e. AEC Quality Assurance Certificate (both document preparation and field inspections)

8. Improve existing curriculum

a. Re-establish the Introduction to Architecture course (ARC 101) and require all students in the area to take it in their first year. Course would emphasize local architectural history by visiting sites throughout the Chicago area. Travel expenses would be subsidized through a course fee. This would be a popular general education course for the College.

b. Add internship course requirement for degree programs – this could work in conjunction with the proposed Community Design Center (Item 5 above).

c. Develop new courses:

i. Architectural Analysis: ARC271
ii. Architectural Theory: ARC272
iii. Portfolio Preparation: ARC102
iv.  Sustainability Design (LEED): ARC173

d. Develop new fully on-line courses

i. Architectural History: ARC210 & ARC211
ii. Introduction to Architecture: ARC101
iii. Portfolio Preparation: ARC102
iv.  ARC261: Building Information Modeling

e. Revise course content in architectural courses to include:

i. Classical design principles: ARC172
ii. Energy Conservation & Solar Energy Design: ARC110
iii. Accessibility: ARC172; ARC120; ARC130
iv. Sustainability & Green Design technology: ARC140

9. Establish a faculty exchange program with faculty from four year institutions (this idea has been favorably received by UIUC's undergraduate director, and perhaps may have some attractiveness to faculty in Urbana who may want to live in the Chicago area for a semester)

10. Develop an organized lending library for faculty and student use. This will contain reference books and drawings which would be used in the studio.

11. Provide instructor training program for instructors in online technology and educational methods.

12.  Use course management system (Blackboard) for all courses, whether or not online.

13.  Move more courses from synchronous to hybrid using the course management system (Blackboard) to enhance student learning.

15. Develop a method of tracking Triton students who transfer to other schools. Invite them back during their university attendance and after graduation to sin on design reviews and give advice to students.

16. Establish a methodology for maintaining excellence in technological issues in the field. This will require a systematic study of what other institutions throughout the world are doing.

17. Develop an affordable optional semester or summer experience in Rome or Barcelona. This could take the form of a three week mini-tour of architectural sites with credit given for either the architectural history course or an humanities elective. We believe that there is a market for this within the district, particularly for the returning older student, and it will strengthen the reputation of Triton as a transfer institution. Many students at four year schools are offered a similar experience (UIUC’s Versailles program, for instance).

16. Improve relations with high schools.

a. Re-establish a student scholarship program within the Triton Foundation (see Appendix C for proposed solicitation letter)

b. Establish a drafting portfolio review competition for in-district high schools, which will showcase students’ work. This would be a juried competition leading to recognition of students and schools and display of students’ work in our studios and on our web site.

c. Create a one week summer camp in architecture for both in- and out-of-district high school juniors.

d. Re-establish dual credit courses

e. Create articulation agreements with high schools outside of district

17. Improve relations with graduates.

a. Create an alumni association.

b. Create Continuing Education courses for licensed architects and registered interior design professionals to maintain their license and/or registration and maintain their membership in their professional organizations.

c. Create a program for graduates of university programs in architecture to enable them to "brush up" on basic technical information which they may have missed in their university degree programs. This is becoming a necessity since many four-year schools have become very theoretical in recent years.

i. Contract documents and services
ii. Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineering
iii. Accessibility
iv. Sustainability
v. How to start an architectural firm.

d. Create preparation programs for the following national examinations:

i. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Architectural Registration Examination
ii.  LEED-Accredited Professional - Building Design and Construction Examination

18. Make the following building improvements:

b. Remove wall between AT150D and AT150E
c. Design and construct an addition to AT150 to accommodate more studio space & space for UIUC’s undergraduate (junior and senior year) degree program

19. Required Purchases:

a. Interactive whiteboards (Smart Boards) in M150 C and D.

b. Painted cork tack surface on presentation area walls: $2,000.00

c. Large mounted black and white photographs of famous architects for classroom $2,000.00

d. Small crane for shop: $5,000.00

e. Pneumatic jack hammer for shop: $1,000.00

f. Copy stand with digital camera lights: $500.00

g. Reference books for program library:

  1. ____. Guide To Architecture Schools In North America, Latest Edition. A.C.S.A.
    ii. Alberti, Leon Battista. On The Art Of Building In Ten Books.
    iii. Appelbaum, Stanley. Chicago World's Fair Of 1893.
    iv. Bach, I. & Wolfson, S. Chicago On Foot, Walking Tours Of Chicago's Architecture.
    v. Bacon, Edmund. Design Of Cities.
    vi. Brooks, H. Allen. Prairie School, Frank Lloyd Wright And His Midwest Contemporaries.
    vii. Burnham, Daniel & Edward Bennett. Plan Of Chicago.
    viii. Condit, Carl. Chicago School of Architecture
    ix. Condit, Carl. Chicago School Of Architecture, History Of Commercial And Public Buildings In The Chicago Area 1875-
    x. Dietz, Albert. Dwelling House Construction.
    xi. Eisenman, P.,Graves, M.,Gwathmey, C.,Hejduk, J., & Meier,R. Five Architects.
    xii. Fleming, J., Honour, H. & Pevsner, N. Penguin Dictionary Of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
    xiii. Fleming, John, et al. Dictionary Of Architecture.
    xiv. Giedion, Sigfried. Space, Time & Architecture, Growth Of A New Tradition.
    xv. Hatje. Encyclopedia of Modern Architecture
    xvi. Haviland, David, Ed. Architect's Handbook Of Professional Practice, 12th Edition.
    xvii. Hitchcock, Henry-Russell & Johnson, Philip. International Style.
    xviii. Hoffmann, Donald, Intro. Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete 1925 Wendigen Series.
    xix. Jones, Owen. Grammar Of Ornament.
    xx. Kostof, Spiro. Architect, Chapters In The History Of The Profession.
    xxi. Lewis, Roger K. Architect? A Candid Guide To The Profession.
    xxii. Millon, Henry. Key Monuments in the History of Architecture.
    xxiii. Palladio, Andrea. Four Books Of Architecture.
    xxiv. Perrault, Claude. Ordonnance For The Five Kinds Of Columns After The Method Of The Ancients.
    xxv. Rifkind, Field Guide to American Architecture.
    xxvi. Ruskin, John. Seven Lamps Of Architecture.
    xxvii. Ruskin, John. Stones Of Venice.
    xxviii. Schulze, Franz & Harrington, Kevin, Eds. Chicago's Famous Buildings.
    xxix. Schulze, Franz. Mies Van Der Rohe, A Critical Biography.
    xxx. Serlio, Sebastiano. Five Books Of Architecture.
    xxxi. Summerson, John. Classical Language Of Architecture.
    xxxii. Venturi, Robert. Complexity And Contradiction In Architecture.
    xxxiii. Vitruvius, Decem Libri...
    xxxiv. Wright, F.L. Drawings & Plans Of Frank Lloyd Wright, The Early Period (1892-1909). (Wasmuth Portfolio)
    xxxv. Video tape: Mr. Blanding Builds his Dream House.

xxxiv. Waldrep, Lee. Becoming and Architect.


SWOT Analysis:


  1. Excellent teachers
  2. Good location – close to Chicago
  3. Good Facilities
  4. Great curriculum – emphasis on technical knowledge and drawing


  1. Demographics of aging district work against strong enrollment
  2. Many people in our district would never consider the study of architecture
  3. UIC no longer transfers our students into the Junior year automatically.
  4. Few of our students prefer to transfer to UIUC or SIUC where they could automatically achieve the Junior level status because of distance from home.
  5. Fewer students progress beyond the freshman level.


  1. Building Information Modeling program will be popular
  2. Potential continuing education center for professionals in the area which there are many
  3. UIC, UIUC and SIUC will be serving more graduate level students in the near future, leaving undergraduate level to be filled in by community college programs.


  1. Meager administrative support
  2. Limited growth potential in BIM and shop areas because of lack of studio and shop space.
  3. Opposition to new programs by college (Building Code Enforcement)
  4. Lack of jobs in career area



Appendix A: Certification in Architecture

Things students should know after finishing Triton College architecture program

A. Technical Issues
1. Size and types of bricks
2. Size of wood members
3. Steel section designations
4. Simple structure calculations
5. Select wood joists and rafters from tables
6. Select steel bar joists from tables
7. Understand window catalogs
8. Parts of a window
9. Window types
10. Parts of a door
11. Door handing
12. Types of paints and stains, and their application
13. How architects and interior designers obtain licensing in Illinois
14. Basics of zoning ordinances:
Meaning of "FAR" - how to calculate it
How to calculate number of parking spaces necessary
How to find out what type of building use is allowed in a zoning district
How to determine minimum set back requirements
15. Basics of building codes
What is meant by "construction type"
How to determine which construction type to use
Fire ratings
How to determine occupancy separations
Meaning of travel distance and how to determine maximum travel distance
Swing of doors
Minimum size of doors
Tread/riser dimensions
Handrail height and diameter
When fire sprinkler systems are required
16. OSHA
17. Meaning of ASTM, NFPA, and ANSI
18. Accessibility Codes and ADA

B. Design Issues
1. Basic design concepts
Spatial tension
2. Design elements
3. Parti
4. Site analysis
5. Program analysis
6. Planning techniques
7. Parking lot layout
8. Topography design
9. Stair design
10. Ramp design
11. Toilet layout
12. Fenestration
13. Roof slopes
14. Appropriate form arrangement
15. Landscape design

C. Drawing
1. Freehand techniques
2. Collage techniques
3. Instrument hard-line drawing
Orthographic drawing
Generation of angled faces
Use of cutting planes
Shades and shadows
Material rendition
Glazing rendition

4. Computer drawing
Lines, arcs and circles
3d faces
Extrusions and regions

Building Information Modeling
Solids modeling concepts
How to create stairs
How to create and use families
How to extract information from the model

5. Model building
Foam core cutting
Bristol board
Generation of faces
Cutting and detailing windows and doors
Model bases
6. Presentations
Board sequence
Board construction techniques
Board unification & titles
Oral presentation techniques
Mixing color and black-and-white
Collage techniques

D. Materials
Roofing systems
Waterproofing systems
Paints and stains

E. Construction Tools
Power tools
Scaffolding & ladders
Construction lifts
Temporary Heat

F. Contracts & Legal Issues
Owner-Architect Agreement
Owner-Contractor Agreement
A201 General Conditions
Change Order Forms
Pay Request Forms

G. History
Names of well-known architects
Names of well-known buildings and approximate dates
Identification of styles
Knowledge of classical architecture terminology

Appendix B: NAAB Student Performance Criteria

According to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), graduating students in architectural programs must demonstrate awareness, understanding, or ability in the following areas:

1 Verbal and Writing Skills
Ability to speak and write effectively on subject matter contained in the professional curriculum

2 Graphic Skills
Ability to employ appropriate representational media, including computer technology, to convey essential formal elements at each stage of the programming and design process

3 Research Skills
Ability to employ basic methods of data collection and analysis to inform all aspects of the programming and design process

4 Critical Thinking Skills
Ability to make a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of a building, building complex, or urban space

5 Fundamental Design Skills
Ability to apply basic organizational, spatial, structural, and constructional principles to the conception and development of interior and exterior spaces, building elements, and components

6 Collaborative Skills
Ability to identify and assume divergent roles that maximize individual talents, and to cooperate with other students when working as members of a design team and in other settings

7 Human Behavior
Awareness of the theories and methods of inquiry that seek to clarify the relationships between human behavior and the physical environment

8 Human Diversity
Awareness of the diversity of needs, values, behavioral norms, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures, and the implications of this diversity for the societal roles and responsibilities of architects

9 Use of Precedents
Ability to provide a coherent rationale for the programmatic and formal precedents employed in the conceptualization and development of architecture and urban design projects

10 Western Traditions
Understanding of the Western architectural canons and traditions in architecture, landscape, and urban design, as well as the climatic, technological, socioeconomic, and other cultural factors that have shaped and sustained them

11 Non-Western Traditions
Awareness of the parallel and divergent canons and traditions of architecture and urban design in the non-Western world

12 National and Regional Traditions
Understanding of the national traditions and the local regional heritage in architecture, landscape, and urban design, including vernacular traditions

13 Environmental Conservation
Understanding of the basic principles of ecology and architects’ responsibilities with respect to environmental and resource conservation in architecture and urban design

14 Accessibility
Ability to design both site and building to accommodate individuals with varying physical abilities

15 Site Conditions
Ability to respond to natural and built site characteristics in the development of a program and design of a project

16 Formal Ordering Systems
Understanding of the fundamentals of visual perception and the principles and systems of order that inform two and three-dimensional design, architectural composition, and urban design

17 Structural Systems
Understanding of the principles of structural behavior in withstanding gravity and lateral forces, and the evolution, range, and appropriate applications of contemporary structural systems

18 Environmental Systems
Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design of environmental systems, including acoustics, lighting and climate modification systems, and energy use

19 Life-Safety Systems
Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design and selection of life-safety systems in buildings and their subsystems

20 Building Envelope Systems
Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design of building envelope systems

21 Building Service Systems
Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design of building service systems, including plumbing, electrical, vertical transportation, communication, security, and fire protection systems

22 Building Systems Integration
Ability to assess, select, and integrate structural systems, environmental systems, life-safety systems, building envelope systems, and building service systems into building design

23 Legal Responsibilities
Understanding of architects’ legal responsibilities with respect to public health, safety, and welfare; property rights; zoning and subdivision ordinances; building codes; accessibility and other factors affecting building design, construction, and architecture practice

24 Building Code Compliance
Understanding of the codes, regulations, and standards applicable to a given site and building design, including occupancy classifications, allowable building heights and areas, allowable construction types, separation requirements, occupancy requirements, means of egress, fire protection, and structure

25 Building Materials and Assemblies
Understanding of the principles, conventions, standards, applications, and restrictions pertaining to the manufacture and use of construction materials, components, and assemblies

26 Building Economics and Cost Control
Awareness of the fundamentals of development financing, building economics, and construction cost control within the framework of a design project

27 Detailed Design Development
Ability to assess, select, configure, and detail as an integral part of the design appropriate combinations of building materials, components, and assemblies to satisfy the requirements of building programs

28 Technical Documentation
Ability to make technically precise descriptions and documentation of a proposed design for purposes of review and construction

29 Comprehensive Design
Ability to produce an architecture project informed by a comprehensive program, from schematic design through the detailed development of programmatic spaces, structural and environmental systems, life-safety provisions, wall sections, and building assemblies, as may be appropriate; and to assess the completed project with respect to the program’s design criteria

30 Program Preparation
Ability to assemble a comprehensive program for an architecture project, including an assessment of client and user needs, a critical review of appropriate precedents, an inventory of space and equipment requirements, an analysis of site conditions, a review of the relevant laws and standards and an assessment of their implications for the project, and a definition of site selection and design assessment criteria

31 The Legal Context of Architecture Practice
Awareness of the evolving legal context within which architects practice, and of the laws pertaining to professional registration, professional service contracts, and the formation of design firms and related legal entities

32 Practice Organization Management
Awareness of the basic principles of office organization, business planning, marketing, negotiation, financial management, and leadership, as they apply to the practice of architecture

33 Contracts and Documentation
Awareness of the different methods of project delivery, the corresponding forms of service contracts, and the types of documentation required to render competent and responsible professional service

34 Professional Internship
Understanding of the role of internship in professional development, and the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of interns and employers

35 Architects’ Leadership Roles
Awareness of architects’ leadership roles from project inception, design, and design development to contract administration, including the selection and coordination of allied disciplines, post-occupancy evaluation, and facility management

36 The Context of Architecture
Understanding of the shifts which occur—and have occurred— in the social, political, technological, ecological, and economic factors that shape the practice of architecture

37 Ethics and Professional Judgment
Awareness of the ethical issues involved in the formation of professional judgments in architecture design and practice
Appendix C: Proposed Student Scholarship Solicitation Letter

Triton College
School of Architecture
2000 Fifth Avenue
River Grove, Illinois 60171-1995
(708) 456-0300 Ext 3007


To: High School Drafting Instructor

Dear sir or madam:

The Triton College Foundation and the faculty of Triton College School of Architecture announce a scholarship program which is now available to your students for next fall’s academic year. There will be three scholarships to be awarded this year by the Triton College Foundation to selected high school seniors in the Triton College District who plan to enter the field of architecture. Scholarship recipients will be chosen by a panel of distinguished architects based on review of portfolios submitted by the entrants.

First Prize: The “Frank Lloyd Wright Scholarship” – a full two-year scholarship to Triton College for either the transfer program or the AAS degree program.

Second Prize: One-year tuition waiver

Third Prize: One semester tuition waiver

We invite your students to deliver their portfolio to us no later than noon on Friday, April 20 to the Architecture Department, room AT150C on Triton College’s main campus, 2000 Fifth Avenue, River Grove, Illinois 60171. Judging will take place that afternoon and the awardees will be informed immediately after the judges have made their selection. Portfolios may contain either work done in high school drafting and art classes, or work done by the student outside of school. Entrants should present only their best drawings, photographs or artwork in their portfolio, along with a one-page typed or lettered resume and description of their career objectives in the field of architecture. Portfolios will be safeguarded in the program’s office and returned to the applicants after judging vial U.S. mail, unless another delivery service is requested.
Triton College in River Grove, Illinois is observing its 36th year of providing excellence in architectural education. The architectural program was started soon after the community college was created by the Illinois legislature in 1964. The program serves 160 freshman and sophomore students, about half of which will transfer to a four-year degree program and eventually will become licensed to practice in the field. The other half will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in architecture and will enter the field as architectural technicians in architecture, engineering and construction management firms. Graduates of Triton’s Architectural Program are well respected in the Chicago area and are in high demand because of their broad-based practical and technical knowledge, design, visualization and drawing abilities.

If you or your students want to know more about this unique opportunity, please call me at (708) 456-0300, extension 3007. To find out more about the architecture program and career opportunities in architecture, please take a look at our web site at


JoBeth Halpin, Coordinator
Triton College Architectural Program