Vintage and Modern Architectural Drawings

As a young architect working in the modern world I am always fascinated by older construction drawings that were completed by hand. Today we do everything final in software. It can make one think in a more rectilinear way but it also makes layout out a drawing more of a science than an art.

Classic Hand Drafted Drawings
Classic Hand Drafted Drawings

Now have a gander at the drawings we frequently create in the modern architectural office:

Modern Computer Generated Drawings
Modern Computer Generated Drawings

You’ll notice that in the hand drawn sheet that the section is the main piece on the page and it is surrounded by details. This sheet does a good job of showing related drawings. Other sheets I have seen will have some very tangentially related drawings on them. I think a big part if that is just how the hand drawn sheet uses as much of the paper as possible. By fitting a detail wherever it can feet can reduce a sheet or two and thus printing costs.

Contrast that with my contemporary sheet. It’s crisper and cleaner (ie, lacks a certain character) but all the extra details have their titles lined up both horizontally and vertically. This makes it easier to find a detail, notice the order, but also is less efficient on the page. The hand drawn sheet has notes all over the place (ie, where they fit) whereas mine has notes placed in an orderly fashion – because I have the ability to move things around infinitely.

However, this biggest thing that gets me is that the person who drew that sheet by hand most likely committed to a location on the page before he, or she, know exactly which details where needed. If mine section needs to move to accodate a new detail, i just move it.

Another is that each line was purposely placed by a pencil in a hand. My lines have to go through a mouse and back through a screen. Frequently many have already been drawn as a result of simply creating the floor plan.

What are your fascinations with vintage architectural drawings?


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