Drawings are a tool of communication. I’m reminded of this on each project. Looking in from the outside drawings can appear complicated and confusing, fancy or pretty (or ugly). They can be all these things but in the least they must communicate information clearly. Below are three responsibilities of good drawings.
I start each project by measuring the existing house and drawing it up in my computer. It’s very important to get this done and done right. Having detailed scaled drawings of the existing conditions will anchor the new design in reality. I often meet with clients who have drawn up their design, which may be good or bad, but they’re often not to scale or leave out important information – like a load bearing wall.
Drawings begin to get more fun when design starts. Through sketches, floor plans and 3D images we can begin to see what a design might look like. Some people can envision things in their head easily, other’s can’t. Some can read plans and elevations, some can’t. As an architect I have to figure out what my client needs to ‘get’ the idea. With sophisticated computer programs architects can produce different types of drawings to help clients perceive the design concept.
Finally, drawings help the contractor build the design. You wouldn’t believe the amount of information a contractor needs to price out a project, buy materials and build a house. What size windows? Eight foot or nine foot walls? Pitch of roof? Slab on grade or crawlspace? Door style and sizes? Good drawings will include as much of this information as possible. Believe it or not drawings also hold everyone accountable: the Owner, the Architect and the Contractor. It allows us to talk apples to apples.