Category BASICS ARCHITECTURE

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Organising sets of drawings

The organisation of measured drawings requires careful editing to ensure the clarity of their presentation. It is possible to have a set of drawings that incorporates several different scales; however, unless they are all absolutely necessary it is usually better to limit the number of differently scaled images. For example, a location plan may be produced at 1:1250 in order to locate the position of the project in the context of its surrounding environment. This introduces one level of scale so it may then be simpler to ensure that the rest of the drawings are produced at a building scale of 1:200 or 1:100 so the viewer only has to read two or three levels across the whole presentation.

When assembling a range of drawings it can be useful to sketch out the layout of each as a thumbna...

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Portrait or landscape?

Once the paper size has been determined, the orientation of the sheets needs to be decided upon.

Landscape format describes a horizontal orientation, portrait format describes a vertical one. This terminology finds its origins in the fine arts; landscape paintings (as the name suggests) often depicted landscape scenes and the horizon, whereas the tradition of portrait painting was characterised by depicting a human figure or a face within a vertical frame.

The choice of ‘frame’ for architectural drawings will be influenced by similar factors. A building situated within the landscape, for example, will better relate to a horizontal frame, whereas plans for a skyscraper will sit better in a vertical frame.

Traditionally, all architectural drawings were displayed in landscape orientation...

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Paper size

Many architectural drawings are created in CAD software programmes that can produce images at any format and size. The decision of what size to render these images at will be determined to their printed format, which is in turn governed by where and how the work will be presented.

Layout

Larger formats (such as A0, A1 and A2 sheets) are useful for presentation drawings for an exhibition or public examination. The smaller A3 and A4 formats are quicker and cheaper to produce, but they are limited in the amount of information that they can communicate; there is only so much content that can be contained on these sheet sizes.

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Greater possibilities

As well as allowing impressive visuals, CAD software has afforded a new type of architecture. Complex forms, which were not previously possible, can now be modelled in CAD programmes and their form, structure and materials tested. CAD technology is critical for these sort of architectural forms; quite simply, physical models cannot fully explore such ideas sufficiently enough to convince the client and engineers of the possibility of the design.

Specific CAD applications are used for modelling these new architectural forms. VectorWorks is a drawing package that is very useful for creating two-dimensional plan, section and elevation drawings. It also offers a three-dimensional modelling package.

ArchiCAD originated as a three-dimensional modelling package, but now has the functionality to p...

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CAD at different stages of the design process

The production of CAD drawings and models should not be considered as a replacement for the creation of physical models, freehand drawings or sketches. Instead CAD software can facilitate the development of shapes and forms that could not be created via plan, section and elevation drawings. As such it is a tool to be used at critical points during the design process.

The first of these points is at the initial massing stage of a project. CAD models can be used here to create an overall impression of the scale of a proposed building, and suggest its outline form as well as its likely impact on the surrounding context.

A second key advantage is that interior CAD models can show a ‘fly through’ series of images (see pages 140-141), moving the viewer through a ‘film’ of the proposed scheme...

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