Last week I got into an argument discussion over what tools an architect uses to actually design with. I sit in the camp that every tool that an architect uses in their professional activities is an instrument that can be used for design. What really surprises me, is how many still think that design really only occurs with pencil/pen and paper, everything else is just documentation. Well phooey on you. Shhhh, don’t tell Shoegnome, he might blow a gasket.
It got me to thinking though about what tools I use on a normal basis to actually design with. It actually came down to only a few things, they just happen to be on the extremes of that never ending argument discussion.
Pen / Pencil / Highlighter / Paper …. These are the standards in every architects toolbox. The types will vary and everyone definitely has their favorites. These basics have been and are going to be around for a very long time, they’ve become second nature to many. I typically keep it pretty simple, a thin and thick black pen, a red pen, and a green highlighter. Why green? I have no idea any more. It’s the color I have used for so long, it’s just feels weird to use any other color except when I am checking a set of drawings.
Scales and a straight edge. I like my aluminum versions here. I have had these for the better part of two decades. These things last! Yeah, I know it’s a ruler, but I use my scales for dimensions. I’m sure I will get flack for this, but I sometimes sketch using a straight edge. You wouldn’t believe the comments I got while I was in college for doing this. Come on people it’s just another tool. Isn’t your pen a convenient tool, I don’t see you using feather and ink, quit being so judgmental.
My iPad, iPhone, and apps. You don’t see my iPhone in the pictures, it’s what I was using to take them. This has become an extremely valuable tool for me! Being able to sketch digitally, do research, check out images of different projects, open drawings and models, etc. all on one device. Are you kidding me, who wouldn’t want to be able to do that??? I really enjoy my Paper and Pencil by FiftyThree Inc. I only wish the USB in the Pencil had a memory function to it as well so you could actually store files as well. Why didn’t anyone ask me about that?
Last, but definitely not least, my work computer. I couldn’t even tell you what brand this is or what is inside its shell. Our IT guy puts these things together and keeps them running like a top. So far it has been able to handle every challenge I have thrown at it. These have become a way of life in every architects office. Are you still able to actually get projects if you are still drafting by hand? (That might ruffle a few feathers.) I run AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, Photoshop, and a miriad of other programs on here. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there are times I want to throw it out the window, (sometimes I want to chuck my sketchbook into the garbage disposal too) but once I get used to a program, the ideas can flow pretty well. And the ability to then immediately share those ideas via email, social media, or online meeting is a definite bonus.
Well there you have it. My bag of tricks if you will.