back to the drawing board: our take on the design process 03/2016

Image 1, hand drawn elevation and cross section


For an architect, there is almost nothing more thrilling than the rush experienced when seeing what was once a 2 dimensional sketch become a tangible, built space. The only thing to top this is seeing our client’s excitement as their home emerges from the drawing table. The first drawings our firm makes are traditional, hand-drawn architectural plans, as shown above (Image 1). With years of schooling, an architect is trained to easily visualize the dimensions of a space even when presented in a 2D format; this typically doesn’t come as second nature to most clients. We make sure the client gets the most out of the process by turning the initial sketches into hand drawn perspective sketches (Image 2). Those sketches give a good idea of the home and once the general outline is agreed upon, we model the home with a 3D program called Sketchup. With the use of Sketchup we can lead the client on a virtual 3D tour of their home while thoroughly and clearly conveying our own thought process and intentions for the project. 


Image 2, hand drawn perspective


Sketchup continually proves to be a useful tool for our clients to understand and visualize the spaces, both interior and exterior, of the home that is being designed for them. In this particular rendering, shown below, we illustrate how natural light will enter the space in a way that would be difficult to capture through hand drawn perspective. As the viewer, you truly have a sense of the open spaces and the lightness created by the use of glass and the pitched ceiling. In addition, it allows us to further highlight the dimensions of the space by placing furniture into the 3D image. With Sketchup, we have an interactive platform where the client can familiarize themselves with the spatial conditions and better understand the complexity of the design. Of course, this is just one of the many steps in getting from the drawing table to the finished product, but it’s an invaluable tool for making sure the client can envision, interact, and take part in the creation of what will eventually be their home. 


Image 3, interior sketchup rendering


Text by Alejandra Bennett, Studio Manager
Flavin Architects