Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Good Olde Days

Friday, November 17th, 2006

The Hand Drafting days are no more. Get over it!

I deal with a rather large variety of engineers, architects, architecture professors and consultants. The one topics that comes up several times a week is the constant state of technological change in our profession and the inevitable glassy eye nostalgic claim of how wonderful it was in the “Good Olde Days”. Now there is something to be said for “getting one’s hands dirty”, it allowed more time to contemplate. On the other hand it was hard on the back, eyes and fingers to draw up a 100 sheet set of drawings on 36″x48″ vellum or mylar. Just the act of filling out the title block would consume 2 – 3 days work for one employee. It could also be tedious, redrawing the same details at various scales as an example. What I hated the most was lettering by hand. The worst was having to fill a 36×48 sheet with general notes and specifications. My hand usually cramped up after an hour.

Do I miss the “Good Olde Days”? Quite simply no. I can now do so much more with todays technology. Hand drawing now seems primitive. Now I hand drew for 10 years and have used a computer for about 12 years so I can relate to both.

The question that is being posed is this: Has the quality of architecture design been degraded by the technology? I think to a degree technology has contributed to a decline in quality of architectural projects for architects who fight the change. By not embracing the technology they expend a large amount of energy struggling and working around the technology, that always ends in frustration. The technology that should free the architect of the constraints of hand drawing instead enslaves and frustrates the design process. For those that have embraced the change all the promises made by the technology pundits have been realized and then some. Most of what was predicted has come to pass and some things that weren’t even considered are now common place, such as desktop realtime rendering, light studies and animation. In the last year even sketching and quick design software for preliminary vignettes has advanced to the point of making pencil and paper another choice and not a requirement. In my opinion we are experiencing a return to an architect that can now have control of almost all aspects of design and construction on the desktop, a return to the “master” architect in control of all aspects of the design process….. that is for those willing to continually learn and try new technology and embrace and welcome never ending change. (more…)

In The Mind Of The Architect

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Came across this website called In The Mind Of The Architect that explores how spaces get designed and built. Very interesting site.
From the website:

In The Mind Of The Architect is a three-part television documentary series and multimedia presentation about the thing we call architecture..but more particularly about us.

This is the story of how buildings and public spaces get to be made, told principally through an exposure of the public and private realms of a number of very different Australian architects.

This series is about politics, art, history, poetry, philosophy…about dreams and despair. The passions of complex individuals, their colleagues, detractors and admirers.

These documentaries aim to trace the spirit and politics of these artists in our predominantly secular Australian culture. They will enable us to tell a different story, to shed some of our simplistic notions of ourselves and our cultural worth.

Architecture Books by Ching

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Recently I came across some books I had not looked at in a while, all written by Francis D.K. Ching. One of my favorites is “A Visual Dictionary of Architecture”.

Like all of Ching’s book it is filled with wonderful sketches. Ever wonder what the “hole” at the top of the Pantheon in Rome is called? How about the clasical orders and their proportions? I use this book whenever I can’t remember and architectural term.
Visual Dictionary of Architecture

Another book that I use as a resource is “Building Construction Illustrated”. Every time I need to show a student or intern the basic construction of a wall or floor assembly I reach for this book. I find this book much more useful than the very expensive, and for a student intimidating, “Architectural Graphic Standards”. Again the graphics and layout make it very user friendly.
Building Construction Illustrated

If you are an architecture student or interested in learning about space design check out “Architecture: Form, Space, and Order’ . Again great sketches and examples.

Form Space and Order

And for those “old school” draftmen who learned this craft pre AutoCAD there is “Architectural Graphics”. This book shows and describes what a lead holder is, how to use a triangle, drawing lead types and how to draw different types of views. This book show what was involved in drafting by hand production environments and the skills and tools required.

Architectural Graphics

Movies About Architects

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I picked up two movies about Architects today.

My Architect

My Architect: A Son’s Journey. The secret life of architectural genius Louis Kahn. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary.

Frank Gehry

Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack. Chronicles the friendship between director Sydney Pollock and the famed architect.

When I view these movies I will post a review of each.


Monday, September 25th, 2006


If you have ever had to produce some preliminary drawings for a client or convey an idea quickly and with minimal fuss try SketchUp. There is a free version and a pro version ($495.00). The pro version is worth every cent. Sure I could use AutoCAD to produce the same thing but for a fraction of the cost and by far the shortest learning curve of ANY “3D” program out there I can produce a great preliminary presentation. This program is unbelievably intuitive and SIMPLE to use. It took me an hour to view a few tutorials and off I went. Don’t expect photo real rendering, I still use Lightwave for that. For construction drawings use AutoCAD.

This was modeled in SketchUp in a morning

SketchUp Hospital

and exported into Lightwave and rendered for a more refined look.

Hospital Rendering

This presentation was created in SketchUp in a day

.NL Church ElevationsNL Church Perspective

Sketchup will also produce quick animations.Click here to see a Lo Res Animation produce with SketchUp.
I highly recommend this very productive software.

FLW Book

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Thumbed thru a copy of new book on Frank Lloyd Wright called ‘The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship’ by Roger Friedland, Harold Zellman. Looks interesting although some of the passages I read where very lurid. I haven’t decided whether to read this or not. I personally know some of the people mentioned in the book and this may be a case of “too much information for me.”

A few years ago I read a book on Philip Johnson that I enjoyed except for the fact that it concentrated a little too much on his love life. I was more interested in his architecture and creative process.

The Fellowship