SCALES IN ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS

Architectural Drawings

In reality, buildings are much larger than the plans used to construct them; therefore, we must reduce the drawing size appropriately in order to maximize readability and communication. In doing so, drawings can be studied comprehensively. Scale is perhaps the most common element in any architectural drawing and absolutely necessary to learn in architecture school. In order to convey a building accurately in terms of proportion and dimension, a proportional measuring system known as scale is used. In the built environment, it is an international standard that is utilized throughout all phases of a building from design to construction.

Below are some points of consideration that I normally abide by when drawing to a specific scale:

–  The larger the scale of a drawing, the more information is needed to depict that particular drawing. Most likely, construction drawings will have a larger scale than design drawings.

–  During the initial states of a design process, the scale of a drawing should be appropriate to the purpose of the intention of communication. I normally use 1:200 in metric scale or 1/16”=1’-0” in architect’s scale if the building is not too large to initiate my design idea. Other times, I use 1:500 if a building is larger than usual. These scales allow me to explore various design solutions without becoming distracted by all of the details in the initial stages of my design process.

–  When the design ideas are clear, the scale of drawings should gradually increase allowing us to incorporate more information into our design.

I like to organize scales in architectural drawings into two types:

Design Scale:

-1/8”=1’-0” close to 1:100 in metric scale works well in initial thought processes and works well for small scale buildings.

-1/16”=1’-0” close to 1:200 is good for the initial design process such as functional configuration or spatial articulation in section drawings.

-1/48”=1’-0” close to 1:500 works well for site plans or the placement of buildings on the site relative to its context. This scale can also be used for form-finding or even to explore three dimensional studies through physical models.

– 1/165”-1’-0” close to 1:2000 is a scale for figure ground drawings. Most likely, this scale will be used to compare the relationship of a designed building to urban morphology.

Construction Scale:

– 1/4”=1’-0” close to 1:50 in metric

– 1/2”=1’-0” close to 1:20

– 1 1/2”=1’-0” close to 1:10

– 3”= 1’-0” close to 1:5

– 1”= 1”-0” is 1:1

Content edited by Robert Konzelmann

A Section Drawing:

An orthographic projection for architectural design and communication

A section drawing is an orthographic projection. It is similar to a floor plan drawing, but it changes the cut plane from horizontal to vertical direction that is perpendicular to the horizontal line. A building section drawing helps to reveal internal spaces of the building.

A building section is one of the most helpful tools for architectural design discovery and examination. It allows a viewer to understand vertical spatial connection. At the initial stage of design, I often utilize section drawing as a medium to explore spatial possibilities of my architectural design. A building section depicts a connection between each element of architecture such as floors, walls, roofs, vertical openings. In addition, it offers insight into the quality, light, flow, and movement of spaces as well as the proportion of rooms and spaces in terms of width and height. Drawing a building section does not have to be a formal approach.

A simple method of drawing such as freehand section sketching can be a very useful technique to generate and reveal our mental images of architectural design.

Section drawing not only can help reveal the connection of interior spaces. It’s also utilized to examine the connection of a building to its site and surrounding area. In this case, it is called a site section.

Speculative Sketching

Drawing by Otto A. Chanyakorn

I see the benefits of using drawing or sketching in design process in two functions. first, I use drawing as a communication outlet. Besides verbal communication, drawings are one of the most important method of communication in architectural design that I normally use to convey my ideas.  A type of drawings that we produce after we have developed a clear ideas in our head. They need to be concise in order to convey  our imagination to the viewers. They also take a longer time to produce. Most of the time, I utilized computer aid software to produce this type of drawings.  Second, I always use drawing as a tool to visualize my imagination and conjure up my creativity. It is an open-ended type of sketching that could let us to a further discovery in our design journey or even for future references.

At the beginning the design process, we will not have a clear pictures what  we actually want in mind. Ideas will continue to flow to our mind constantly. The only method that allows me to capture them and keep up with my imagination  is sketching.  There is no definite types of drawings that I use to visualize my ideas. They could be diagrams, thumbnail sketches or anything that serves the purpose of capturing my thoughts. It is ways of thinking and working that formalized or clarifies  my ideas.

In Vinod Goel the author of “Sketches of Thought, he discovered that implementing freehand sketching as a primary tool for preliminary stages of design optimized exploration, and produced variation of design ideas. Freehand sketching enhances a high level of ambiguity, which optimizes design solutions. The intimate connection and processes of embodying a design task without an interruption from external tools are vital for the initial phase of the design process.

To develop the fluency in speculative sketching, one must practice on a regular basis until the circularity of mind and hand become unify. Practice is an answer. We will need to practice until drawing each line down on paper is a natural response to we are picturing  in our mind.