Andrea and Computer Modeling: A Case Study on Drawing and Modeling in Architecture

Date Updated


Andrea is an architecture major. Her mobility impairment affects her fine motor skills and manual dexterity.

Access Issue

At the beginning of one quarter, Andrea's instructor assigned a design challenge for an architecture class that involved designing a building and its site. Within this overall challenge were smaller assignments to help the students refine their designs. At several points in the design process, students were required to present their ideas through drawings and small-scale models. Due to her mobility impairment Andrea had difficulties producing the hand-drawings and was not able to build the models.


It was suggested that Andrea use computer-generated drawings and models to present her design ideas. The disabled student services office on her campus was able to provided Andrea with a tutor who was familiar with three-dimensional modeling and other computer programs. Consulting with her instructor, Andrea and the tutor identified alternative ways in which Andrea could produce the drawings and models while fulfilling the course requirements. Using these methods, Andrea successfully completed the course.


This case study illustrates the following:

  1. Computer technology may provide solutions for students with mobility impairments that may not be able to complete assignments as assigned.
  2. Working together as a team with disabled student services, their instructors, and other experts may be the best way for students with disabilities to solve access issues.
AccessDesign has been developed in partnership with Access to Design Professions, Institute for Human Centered Design, (IHCD) Boston, MA and funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).