Most architects’ tool of choice for 3-D sketches and drafting is the computer. For certain kinds of large and highly complex projects, CAD is indispensable, but for the scale and one-off character of custom residential design, the focus of my practice, I believe manual drawing is a viable option.
Why I prefer manual drafting:
For me, it provides the most direct connection between my mind’s eye and the paper. I think with a pencil.
I enjoy the act of drawing. I enjoy the tools, the physical experience, and the end products. I have done so ever since I can remember.
Visualizing and drawing things in three dimensions comes easily to me.
I am a fast and efficient drafter.
The process of layering information on to multiple views and different scale drawings is gratifying.
There are easy ways to graphically include information that repeats from project to project.
I have always preferred evidence of the human touch in the things around me. Machine work is not always an improvement over the hand-made.
For me, sitting still and looking intensely into a monitor for hours at a time is a chore.
Being at the mercy of a computer and a program, both of which seem to constantly need expensive upgrading, is a source of frustration and anxiety.
Zooming in and out makes it hard for me to track the building and its parts as a single entity.
Residential construction documents do not require the extreme precision available and inherent in CAD, which can amount to overkill.
If the power goes out, I can still draft.
photo 1 by Juhan Sonin; photo 2 by Teosaurio; photo 3 by Remko van Dokkum
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