April 23, 2013

Architecture Student Book Roundup: Graphical Representation Primer

So, after going through architecture school at one point in my life, I decided to provide a list of books that might help you in architecture school...particularly the freshman. Graphic representation and conventions need to be honed down and asap. Like a language you speak, you need to be fluent in how you convey your design intent and I've seen architecture students across all the years struggle in drawing conventions. This week, I'm gonna suggest these books for the freshman architecture student in terms of beefing up your graphical representation skills. These books cover a wide array from computer drawing, hand rendering, sketching, model making. Note, wait for the first day of class to figure out what books you need to buy and initially check these books out in the library first to gauge if you will need to keep referring to them, and decide to buy them.

Architectural Graphics - Francis Ching (Wiley) 
Ching is always one of those names you will constantly run into for architecture textbooks, because he has developed and clear and concise way to illustrate the topics in his book like construction methods, theory, and in this case graphical conventions for architectural design. For Architectural Graphics, it is a good resource book, might be losing it's relevance to time and the ever pervasive use of computer represention (though in recent editions he strives to stay relevant with introducing basic cad modelling and photomontage-ing), but all the more provides the basic graphics for you to spruce up your floor plan, section, and elevation.

Freehand Sketching by Paul Lesau (WW Norton)
After submitting my first year sketchbook in for my drawing class. I asked my professor how to get better at drawing and designing - well it was kinda a stupid question, but the answer was practice, practice, practice. Well, being the resourceful student that I am, I decided to take up this book at the end of my first year to practice sketching during the summer. I personally felt that this helped defined my crude and raw sketching style with a black pen...and then eventually using colour markers to accentuate my drawings. It's a nice short book and provides simple exercises to improve your sketching skills. Definitely has helped me as a student and has even got professors to always be impressed by my process sketches for studio projects.

Drawing & Designing with confidence - Mike Lin (Wiley)
I've been fortunate to learn under Mike Lin from attending his sketching workshops at AIAS conferences, and last year detouring to Vegas after the AIAS Conference to attend his 9-day sketching workshops. This book does provide a lot of shortcuts and techniques to help you quickly sketch with different mediums. There is a future book in the works and the direction of the workshop is looking at merging digital and analog representational methods of design.

Architectural Drawing Course by Mo Zell (Barron's Educational Series)
I've glanced at this book a few times when I would take a regular trip to the bookstore. It provides a lot of tips in model making and drawing and presenting your work with some tutorials giving you step-by-step examples on how to make that clean model and drawing. (Tips I wish I knew when I was in first year architecture school) 

Architecture Basics - Representational Techniques by Lorraine Farraley (Ava Publishing) 
Great inspiration book that goes through many examples of representation and thinking about graphical presentation of architecture, even finding expressive ways to spruce your drawings to align with your concept and theme. Farraley goes through different means of expression by providing case studies of how students and practitioners represent their architectural ideas and concepts. The books in architecture basics series also provides interviews, and even exercises for the design student to practice their skills. Once you know how to carefully and properly draw and represent drawing conventions for architecture, you can intentionally break the rules and find expressive and experimental means to let your drawings evoke your concept and mood of your project - this book is a great go-to for that inspiration.

Douglas Seidler - Digital Drawing for Designers: A Visual Guide to AutoCAD (Fairchild Books)
I thought I knew how to CAD with my high school drafting class, but after my first summer drafting job and coming across this book - completely made me realize that there is so much more to AutoCAD and I am still discovering new commands every eyar. Douglas Siedler's books on CAD is pretty good since it covers the conventional means of drafting with CAD. Visually and with words - the author gives a good introduction to teach students some critical elementary things like the difference between paperspace and model space with AutoCAD as well as gives the framework for a working method of developing orthographic drawings with CAD. Not just a book on technical concepts;  he does use some basic orthographic drawing theories and principles to explain why in CAD you must develop your drawing that way. Buying the book, you get the opportunity to download tutorial files as well as the .ctb file (that is the most valued thing I have - and it saves me a heck of time to change line weights as opposed to doing them on illustrator - a typical architecture school noob thing).

Portfolio Skills Series - Various Authors (Laurence King) 
When I walk around my college library, the Portfolio Skills Series is a good book on architectural representation. I think that it provides tutorials and overarching theories behind the way we do the technical work - physical or digital with tutorials and step-by-step guides. I think these are good to have for the freshman...I feel like it's good as a quick refresher or pointers in future years, but perhaps to borrow from the library as a mature architecture student.

So here you go some books to help the freshman for design studio. I know architecture school is financially demanding, I would suggest checking out these books in the library...and if you find that you are referring to them a lot - perhaps then you should consider investing on your own copy. Some of these books are good for the first year freshman in architecture school, but if you are mature, these books may not be what you are looking for.

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