Introduction: Drawing a House I

About: Architectural Project Coordinator, Design Strategy Consultant, FabLab Volunteer!

This set of drawings is one example of how drawing a space can help to understand it. In this case, drawing is used as a tool to measure, document, and diagram a baseline Habitat for Humanity single family model home. Overall, the drawings become an exercise in categorizing both structural and spatial elements of the house.

This project shows the primary types of architectural drawings (plan, section, elevation), as well as the usse of axonometric representation to diagram additional house information.

Step 1: Axonometric Drawings

Sometimes a house can be understood more completely through dimensional drawings. Axonometric drawings allow us to see the house more as the natural eye sees it, but while still preserving measurably accurate* representation. Here, the drawings show differentiated volumes of the house. This is a diagrammatic tactic to show the house in a certain way - as an aggregated mass.

*according to, "the word "axonometry" means "measurable from the axes".

Step 2: Floor Plan

The floor plan of a house contains primary organizational information. Elements in the plan can help inform other drawings such as elevations and sections. The floor plan is a key to the different spaces inside the house, and can explain circulation. Furniture can be included to further detail the use of spaces graphically.

Step 3: Exterior Elevations

Drawing the outside faces of the house, or the elevations of the house, is a way to understand the exterior envelope of the building. Elevations include simple finish textures, apertures, stairs, roof info, and anything else you think helps describe the exterior of the space. Often elevations are constructed by tracing dimensions from the floor plan.

Step 4: Sections

Sections can be constructed from floor plan and elevation information. Plan info locates walls, cabinets, and windows; Elevations can inform the roof height (then ceiling height) as well as window locations vertically. Section drawings clarify how the construction of the house affects the interior and exterior qualities. Sections also allow us to see select interior elevation information, including the location of doors and stairs.

Step 5: Axonometric Drawings II

Now that plans, sections, and elevations are constructed, we can further diagram the spaces in the house using graphic fills, etc. Axonometric representation offers a 3D but measurable strategy for seeing more aspects of the house at once. In these examples we are able to see the exterior envelope as it relates to the interior structure, and we are able to see different categories of space color coded. The second drawing divides interior space into public areas (white) and private areas (black). Public areas in a house typically include living, dining, and kitchen, whereas private areas include bedrooms and bathrooms.

Step 6:

This drawing is an axonometric explanation of construction methods. The sequence of drawings (bottom right to top left) progresses from foundation and floor framing to wall framing to exterior envelope completion. These drawings were accomplished through 3D modeling of all construction elements which were then rendered graphically. Again, each type of drawing offers an opportunity to discuss something specific about the house - and this drawing discusses constructability.

Step 7: Exploded Axonometric

Progressing from the axonometric construction drawings, this example tries to illustrate multiple layers of the building at once through "explosion". Parts and layers of the drawing are spread apart yet still organized by chronology and alignment lines. This drawing discusses abstract assembly ideas: it would not typically be used for technical construction, but can show a general familiarity with construction elements and a graphic sensibility about the project as a whole.