Transforming problem houses into Dream Homes

Sketching for Architecture

I’ve had my head down, literally at the drafting table, working on the design of a couple of projects.

One is a small backyard cottage for a client in Berkeley. The other is some improvements and expansions for a church in Oakland.

I have been spending lots of time sketching. Making drawings like these serves several purposes.

Architects draw to document what has already been built.

This is a drawing that I’ve posted before. These are my field measurement notes from a remodeling project I did in Oakland a couple of years ago. Just a few weeks ago, I did a similar drawing of the backyard of a house in Berkeley where we are designing a little backyard cottage. I have to measure and draw what is there already so that I can fully understand the limitations, challenges, and opportunities of a project site.

Detail of my field notes for the Oakland Edwardian house. Photo copyright 2014 David Locicero

Architects draw to explore and test ideas.

These drawings were made primarily for myself. I’m looking at questions of size, scale, massing. They help me make decisions about the direction of the design. In this case, I also used the two top sketches with my drafter.

Exploratory sketches for one of the projects at the Church. Looking at the roof slope of the new building on the right in each of the top sketches.

Architects draw to communicate ideas to others.

The drawing below I drew to show to the client. It is one of three options for the cottage. This is the option that the client had in her mind. I always draw the client’s ideas. Then I also draw some of my ideas. Then we can discuss how each solves the problem and we can make decisions about moving forward.

Early design sketch for a backyard cottage in Berkeley.

I’ve been working on all of these kinds of drawings in the past few weeks. Each type of drawing has it’s own challenges.

Working with my drafter, my hand drawings of the church are being developed into computer drawings which I will show to the clients. I’ll share those drawings next week.

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