Lowcountry Modern

Never Ask An Architect To Draw Your Plans

So, what should I ask my architect to do?

Ask them to design a house that takes your breath away!

No, I’m serious. That is the value of working with an architect, not a set of plans to get your project through the building department.

More city Block, 2007.

More City Block. Graphite, colored pencil on parcel paper. 2007.

Architects still draw by hand. Most of that takes place in the early stages of your project. It continues throughout the project as a quick way to sketch out ideas and details as things develop.

However, the tools of our profession have evolved along with technology. When I embarked on my architectural training and education, I did so in part for a very simple, and in hindsight, naive reason. I liked to draw by hand.

Twenty years later, a lot has changed. Most architects now use computer aided design software. In my first job, both computer and hand drawing were used to produce plans for high-end custom homes on Kiawah Island.

Now, in my own practice, nearly every drawing, if not all, is generated with the computer. In fact, the drawings are actually a by-product of a virtual three-dimensional model (I’ll be elaborating on the added value of this for you, the client, in an upcoming post, so stay tuned).

I still sketch to develop ideas in the early stages of the project and to work out construction details, but even these I sometimes find easier to develop and visualize with the use of the computer.

It wasn’t long into my training as an architect that I realized it wasn’t drawing itself that held the most value. It was the ideas that drawing could express. There has to be a concept, a big idea, that is communicated through the architect’s tools, regardless of what they are, into a building. That is architecture.

You don’t expect a musician to just give you notes. You expect a song.

So, instead of asking your architect for a plan, ask them for the big idea. Ask them for architecture.

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