Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

Archtober17: Sketching

October is National Architecture Month, also known in some circles as Archtober. To commemorate the month, I am going to post a brief post every day of the month.

Sketching is one of the most important skills an architect can develop. There are several different kinds of sketches. There are conceptual sketches in which the architect is trying to synthesize all the information into a coherent design idea. There are other conceptual sketches in which the architect is testing ideas for forms or relationships. There are sketches where architects test ideas or images. The list goes on and on.

One of the masters of conceptual sketches was the Italian Rationalist architect and urban designer, Aldo Rossi. Rossi was a Rationalist who drifted in and out of the style known as “post-modern”. Though his work in that idiom was always better than any other architects. Above is a famous sketch painting he did while working on a project for a temporary theater in Venice. He is exploring forms, shapes, and proportions.

The sketch above is one that I made (not as nice as Rossi’s, but it did the job). It was for a project in the Oakland hills to expand a rancher into a larger, Modern building. I was looking at the massing of the enlarged house and the relationships between solids and voids.

The sketch above is for a smaller guest house on the same property as the project above. In this sketch I was looking at what would happen if part of the roof sloped in order to gain some attic space to allow for a furnace in the very small structure. The roof will have living plants on it in order that the view down the hill from the main house not be of a shingled roof, but of plants that match the surrounding meadow.

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