Sketching in Architecture

Posted: September 27, 2014 by Chynnie in Architecture
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I recently had to do a simple residential design (a 5 bedroom bungalow) and i went straight ahead to my laptop to design a floor plan, moreover it was just a simple bungalow design. At some point i wasn’t satisfied with the fluidity of my floor plan, i kept on re-positioning spaces, deleting walls etc, yet i didn’t get my desired result. Then i shut down my system, picked up a paper and a pen and started sketching. After a number of sketches i got my desired result. This got me wondering how little i sketch and as an Architect i think i should sketch more often.

How important is it really for an Architect to sketch?
Truthfully, i used to think it wasn’t really important, or necessary for us Architects to sketch anymore. Moreover we have various CAD softwares these days we use in drawing, so why bother sketching? I am like, in this era we don’t need all the sketch books, pencils and pens. I am sure some young Architects think so too. In my life Journey as an Architect, i have realized that Sketching is one of the most important characteristics of a good Architect. Sketching solves lots of problems like it did mine, while designing. Sketching is a result of a thought process. Sketching is the major way we communicate an idea, be it to a client, co-workers, or laborers on site. We communicate through drawings and sketches. I have seen it happen over an over again where the only way to get the workers on site understand what you want is to actually sketch it out. My boss sometimes sketches everywhere on the wall, and only then do they understand. We once had a project to renovate an office and i was telling the client that we might have to create a false wall in one of the offices, i explained and explained, she couldn’t understand or picture what it would look like and once i sketched it out, she said “oh this would be lovely but really expensive”. We ended up not doing it anyway because of the cost. But the point remains that she only understood what i had been trying to say for hours only when i tried to sketch it out.

Must i really know how to draw to be an Architect, since sketching is really an important part of Architecture?
(This is really for those considering Architecture as a course in the University. If you are an Architect, i am sure you know the answer to this already).

A lot of people actually think you must really know how to draw well to be an Architect. Once i say i am an Architect, the first response i always get is wow, then you must know how to draw well or Can you draw me? or so when can i get a self portrait? Back in school of Architecture, one of the first year courses was Free hand Sketching, i think it was Arc 101. Most of my colleagues where artist already and i was just an amateur. We were made to draw the school library, chapel, trees and whatever was draw-able. I wish i could upload my first year sketches here, so you’ll see how horrible they were. Now looking back, i think we were put through all that to learn the basics of sketching not to become and artist. “Sketching is a skill – not a gift – and with time and practice, anyone can become proficient enough at sketching to effectively work through problems and communicate their intent”-Bob Borson, So my answer is NO, you don’t need to draw well to be an Architect. Sketching is a skill anyone can develop with a little training and some practice. Its not an art, its a skill.

You can follow blogs like to get tips on sketching if you want to be better at sketching. I am following too. Maybe, just maybe, i would share my sketches as i get better. You would love and appreciate your sketches more if you draw with pens, you should have at least two different colors….that’s my own tip for you.

  1. foey says:

    Really love the fluidity of your thoughts… now get your punctuation right!


  2. Zubi says:

    Never knew drawing is SKILL not gift, hope is not late for me to start practising sha


    • Chynnie says:

      That’s in my own opinion though, i am sure there are some people out there who think sketching is a gift. You only need to start practicing if you love to sketch or need to sketch like us Architects.


  3. Zino says:

    Sketching is truly not a gift, practice and you will be good at it. It’s the voice of an Architect.


  4. Diem says:

    It’s Arct 103 (Freehand sketching) not Arc 101. Please talk about studio life.


  5. This would be a great post for my first year art and design students to read…


  6. kene says:

    oh chynnie…I just couldn’t fault this post…I would like to get a refined copy and share with the Department of Architecture….


  7. […] i go further i did a post Sketching in Architecture sometime ago. You should read it. So back to today’s post. No you don’t need to know […]


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