On the Craft of Drafting: A Lament

Posted by & filed under #ArchiTalks.

0313-A16Drafting used to be a craft. And while there are still some who take pride in an well executed set of drawings, it seems to be going by the wayside to some extent. And while it may be the case in some day that 2d representations of a building are no longer necessary, for the time being, buildings still get built from orthographic projections of the plan, sections, and elevations.

I remember in college having a discussion with a class mate about the inefficiencies of crafting a good looking set of drawings. In their work experience the norm was to put the bare minimum amount of information on the drawings and move on. Which meant no use of pen weights, simple rectangles for windows, no material hatches, etc… In short, all the craft was taken out of drafting for the sake of efficiency. I read a fair amount of chatter on the internet that would indicate these same tendencies in the profession. In short the elevation of efficiency above all other considerations.

This not to say efficiency is not a wonderful thing. And the computer has certainly allowed us greater efficiency in producing drawings. It can be easy to be sucked into the efficiency vortex and not take the time to craft a drawing set. And software has evolved to where we can rely more and more on the computer to generate drawings. And while i am all for these technological advances. I also think it would be a shame if this efficiency became the end all and be all of our endeavors. If the basics of conveying information through a well crafted set of drawings were to be lost in this pursuit of ever increasing efficiencies.1408-2A51-elevations150304

The computer also allows us a certain amount of freedom. We do not need to spend time laying out a drawing before putting pencil to paper. We can easily arrange and rearrange drawings on a sheet. Editing is a breeze. This freedom should empower us to take the time to craft a good looking and very informative set of documents.

While there are certainly architects who still value a well crafted set of drawings. I fear without a greater emphasis on the basics of drawing, this will be a dying breed. In my three years of graduate school from 2000-2003, i witnessed a shift from using 2d graphic representations of plans, elevations, and sections to only showing slick 3d images of the project. Images, that in my opinion, made it hard to evaluate the project as a whole. That is not to say these images are not useful, but when you will not or cannot represent the project graphically in 2d, i think something has been lost.


This has been an installment of the #ArchiTalks series wherein a growing list of architect bloggers chime in on a particular topic. Follow the links below to read what other architects have to say on the topic of “Crafty”:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect
Architects are Crafty

Marica McKeel – Studio MM
Why I Love My Craft: Residential Architecture

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
panel craft

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
Oh, you crafty!

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC
Crafty-in Architecture as a Craft

Ghost Lab

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect
Underhanded Evil Schemes

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect
How to Craft an Effective Blog Post in 90 Minutes or Less

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
Which Craft?

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects
merging architecture and craftiness

Eric Wittman – intern[life]
arts and [crafty]

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC
Crafting a Twitter Sabbatical

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