Meet Our Instructors: Joel Berman

joel-usk-instructorJoel Berman, LEED-AP, is the founder and president of Joel Berman Architecture & Design, Ltd., a Chicago architecture firm specializing in inner city adaptive reuse and heritage restoration for restaurant, hospitality, institutional and residential development.  Project work includes an award-winning historic preservation renovation of a 1920s White Castle Hamburger building, and conversion of a 1906 Chicago fire station into a major video production facility.

In addition to running a successful practice, Joel has taught architectural sketching at the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College School of Interior Architecture, the Chicago Architectural Foundation Adult Education Program, and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities/Chicago Architecture Foundation Urban Gateways Program.

For Joel, clear and fast sketching has been a factor in the success of his design work and architectural practice.  He will be lending his talents during this year’s seminar by leading the workshop How to Sketch Like an Architect.



Workshop 11: How to Sketch Like an Architect

Instructor:  Joel Berman


In this workshop, participants will learn how to rapidly document the buildings in their own graphic vocabulary, with emphasis placed on loose, freehand drawing techniques in lieu of technical drawing.  With practical instruction and coaching from the course leader, participants will learn the following different techniques, one by one, each at a different location.

  • thumbnail sketches
  • contour lines
  • contrast/value
  • perspective
  • speed sketching

At the end of the workshop, each participant will pull together in a final sketch, what he/she has learned.  This workshop is appropriate for beginners with no experience.

The sketching will focus on several nearby historic Chicago buildings – outdoor and/or indoor locations, depending on the weather.

Learning Goals:

  • learn or improve upon the freehand sketching skills and techniques
  • improve your ability to document and remember the existing built environment
  • improve your ability to use freehand sketching as an architectural design tool
  • learn to draw faster and with more confidence


  • 8½ x 11 sketch pad
  • 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, and 4H pencils
  • optional:  pens

Joel’s sketches: