Architect Skills

Inspirational Architecture Sketching Challenge

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Posted By Matthew Von Dohre

The Architecture Sketch Challenge

Welcome to ReadThePlans first architectural sketching challenge. We hope to inspire you to develop your sketching abilities by following along or allowing this to inspire you to start your own challenge.

Today we be beginning a small challenge for myself and those of you out there who need some inspiration to help you to improve your sketching abilities.

Before working in architecture full time I used to sketch alot and I was decent at it. I would not say my sketching was worthy of a museum but good enough to convey the design intent.

After working in architectural firms for a while I notice that I am not sketching as much as I used to and there are days that I see my sketchbook just sitting unopened.

With my current position I now mainly sketch when producing documents for construction since sketching comes in handy to quickly work out details for construction before you get into the computer to make hard line details.

I still carry a sketchbook with me most places I go to provide myself with an opportunity to keep up on my sketching abilities and to document inspirational ideas that I see in the world around me.

The Challenge

The outline for this challenge is to take a project concept and develop it over the next 30 days.

The sketch time for the challenge will be 10 to 15 mins per sketch and no more. During the time constraint the goals is to develop the basic shapes and get at least the minimal idea on paper.

The sketches do not have to be perfect and may not be the best quality but after 30 days we should see the quality improving.

As an architect we sketch to capture ideas, develop and refine details and use sketches to communicate ideas with our clients. Sketching can be especially helpful in meetings with clients where you can discuss and sketch out their ideas right in front of them.

The Concept

Site for the sketch challenge – An existing site

The concept that I will be developing is one that I came up with for a book idea and have need to nudge myself into developing it.

During my years of schooling and teaching I was not happy with the architectural design books that we would use because they would be so scattered.

Meaning that you never saw any of the books take one building and create all of the architecture drawings relating to that one building. They would show you all of the various architecture drawing types by using various projects and none would be from the same project.

This to me created a disconnect that I hope to resolve in a book that will focus on following several projects thru all of the various drawing types. 

The Site View

When to Sketch and What to Use

My goal is to sketch first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh and clear of the tasks that lie ahead for the day. The other time I might sketch is during lunch because I can step away from my computer but it can tend to be more difficult to focus.

I will be using the supplies that I typically carry with me these include my Lamy fountain pen, Blackwing Pencils, several color pencils, erasers and a landscape format 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 spiral bound sketchbook.

The pencil bag, pens, pencils and sketch book that I will use

Check Back and Follow Along

Check back daily to see how things are progressing and join in on the challenge by following along with the list of drawings. 

Remember your sketches are expressions of your ideas and they may not be perfect but what sketches really are?

They are an expression of your ideas brought to life thru a media of your choice.

Thanks for following along and post some of your sketches in the comments below.

Day 1 – Site Sketch

Today I started with a basic site outline and a design concept showing the overall design concept with the dashed line representing the existing house.

Building site context sketch

Day 2 – Axonometric Concept

Today sketch is a rough axonometric concept sketch of the overall building. I wanted to quickly get the overall building shape sketched out.

Rough axonometric concept sketch

Day 3 – Floor plan concept

On day 3 we sketched out a conceptual floor plan for the house that we are developing for this challenge.

Concept floor plan sketch

Day 4 – Building Section concept

The day 4 sketch is a conceptual building sketch. This can help us to start examining the vertical spaces and interior and exterior relationships.

Building Section Concept sketch

Day 5 – Elevation Sketch – House

The day 5 sketch is of the front exterior elevation for the concept home. Thinking about the proportions of the home as well as staring to think about the finishes.

Front Elevation Sketch – West Facing

Day 6 – Elevation Sketch – Dock

The day 6 sketch is of the side elevation for the dock. Thinking about the relationship to the home as well as staring to think about the finishes.

Side Elevation Sketch – South Facing

Day 7 – First-Floor Plan Concept Sketch

The day 7 sketch is a more detailed first-floor plan sketch that is starting to better define the spaces within the house.

First Floor Concept Sketch

Day 8 – Second-Floor Plan Concept Sketch

The day 8 sketch is a more detailed second-floor plan sketch that is starting to better define the spaces within the house.

Second Floor Concept Sketch

Day 9 – Roof Plan Concept Sketch

The day 9 sketch is a more detailed roof plan sketch that is starting to better define the spaces within the house.

Roof Concept Sketch

Day 10 – Dock Plan Concept Sketch

The day 10 sketch is a more detailed floor plan sketch that is starting to better define how the dock might function

Day 11 – Dock Roof Concept Sketch

The day 11 sketch is a more detailed roof plan sketch that is starting to better define how the dock might function

Day 12 – Dock 3D Concept Sketch

The day 12 sketch is developing a 3D sketch of the dock to understand what was just recently sketched in plan.

Dock 3D Concept Sketch

Day 13 – Dock Structure Detail Sketches

The day 13 sketch are to further develop the language of the materials for he dock. Concrete and wood.

Dock Structure Detail Sketches

Day 14 – Dock Structure Concept Sketch

The day 14 sketch is to look at the structure of the dock and with a boat lift. Might have to add some additional structure to the original concept.

Dock Structure Concept Sketch

Day 15 – Dock Railing Concept Sketch

The day 15 sketch is a concept idea for the dock railings.

Dock Railing Concept Sketch

Day 16 – Seawall Concept Sketch

The day 16 sketch is a section thru the seawall and the dock. This will help us to review the seawall materials and the relationship to the dock structure.

Seawall Concept Sketch

Day 17 – Stairway location Sketch

The day 17 sketch is reviewing the location of where we could locate the stair to the second floor.

Stair Location Sketch

Day 18 – Railing Concept Sketch

The day 18 sketch is a concept for the railing on the balconies.

Railing Concept Sketch

Day 19 – Elevation Concept Sketch

The day 19 sketch is an alternate elevation for the house concept that make it more of a contemporary look.

New Elevation Concept Elevation Sketch

Day 20 – Perspective Concept Sketch

The day 20 sketch is an alternate design sketch for the house concept that make it more of a contemporary look.

New Exterior Concept Elevation Sketch

Day 21 – Roof Trim Concept Sketch

The day 21 sketch is a concept detail for the edge trim on the roofing. Showing a C-Channel steel edging running around the perimeiter of the roof.

Roof Trim Concept Sketch

Day 22 – Window Detail Concept Sketch

The day 22 sketch is a concept detail for recessing the windows. Showing a wide trim with recessed windows.

Window Detail Concept Sketch

Day 23 – Exterior Shell Finish Sketch

The day 23 sketch is a concept detail for the exterior shell with inset wood on the interior.

Exterior Shell Sketch

Day 24 – Entry Door Concept Sketch

The day 24 sketch is a concept detail for the front entry door, utalizing a pivot door.

Entry Door Concept

Day 25 – Roof Edge Revised Concept Sketch

The day 25 sketch is a concept detail revising the edge of roof condition.

Edge of the Roof Detail

Day 26 – Roof Gutter Concept Sketch

The day 26 sketch is a concept detail for the internal roof gutter

Roof Gutter Concept

Day 27 – Entry Roof Concept Sketch

The day 27 sketch is a concept sketch for the front entry roof.

Front Entry Roof Concept

Day 28 – Front Elevation Revised Concept Sketch

The day 28 sketch is a revised concept for the front elevation of the house, going for more of a contemporary style with a waterfall shell.

Front Elevation Revised Concept Sketch

Day 29 – Rear Elevation Revised Concept Sketch

The day 29 sketch is a revised concept for the rear elevation of the house, going for more of a contemporary style with a waterfall shell.

Rear Elevation Revised Concept Sketch

Day 30 – Glass Railing Concept Sketch

The day 30 sketch is a concept sketch for the glass railing on the second floor of the house.

Glass Railing Concept Sketch

Day 31 – Overall Front Perspective Concept Sketch

The day 31 sketch is a concept perspective sketch of the front of the house as the revised elevation concept.

Overall Front Perspective Concept Sketch

Final thoughts about the Sketching Challenge

This Inspirational Architecture Sketching Challenge was a good exercise and opportunity to work thru some design ideas that I have had thought about for a while.

I did struggle a little to keep the morning open to sketch due to traffic accidents and oversleeping a few times. But overall I am pleased that I was able to push thru the challenge of sketching daily and I am presently surprised that I still have decent sketching abilities as seen above.

I hope that this sketch challenge has been an inspiration to many of you who were following along or have taken up the challenge yourself. If you would like to learn more about architectural sketching click on over to Architectural Sketching – Why Architects Sketch.

It may be hard sometimes to find the time and you may have to schedule a part of your day to allow you the time you desire to sketch but make it happen and it can become a welcomed routine in your daily activities.

Thank you again for following along and just keep on sketching!!!

Matthew Von Dohre, RA, RID, NCARB

Have a comment or suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.

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