For architectural design projects, while emphasis is placed on the use of 3D models and BIM architectural modelling, the time-tested practice of using architectural sketches and 2D technical drawings remains common in the ACS industry. Architectural design has evolved from drawing board to CAD software. Writing practices help provide architectural construction drawings that include the technical details of the architectural, structural, and electrical elements necessary for the construction of a building. To understand the stage at which architectural design is performed, the lifecycle workflow of a building design must be considered.
The basic workflow of an architectural design project begins with the architect’s creation of a conceptual plan that is typically modeled in 3D architectural models and presented as photorealistic images for marketing and presentation to clients and consumers.
Once the conceptual design is approved by the client, the design is advanced in more detail and shared with other parties, such as structural engineers and MEPs. The way an architect advances design for the “design development” phase lends itself to two options: either develop a 3D model in more detail and then create subsequent sheets and details using a 3D tool such as Revit or AutoCAD, or, as is still customary, develop the conceptual design in 2D using more traditional methods. From conceptual drawings provided by architects and engineers, a draftsman can convert these designs using CAD software programs to create technical drawings.
Architectural drawing is the process of creating technical drawings that include the plan, sections, elevations, detailed drawings, and other documents in a set of construction drawings (CD Set), which are typically required for the construction of a building.
The Difference Between Architectural Drawing and Modeling
Architectural drawing refers to the creation of 2D technical drawings and architectural construction drawings that are used primarily by contractors and consultants on site. 3D architectural modeling refers to the creation of 3D models and renderings of photorealistic images that are used primarily to present the architectural design for marketing purposes and from there advance in the creation of 2D technical drawings, feeling in effect as a further stage (the 3D modeling element).
The main software used to draw, to create technical drawings in 2D is AutoCAD, while modelers use Revit and ArchiCAD to create 3D models and rendered images. Architectural draftsmen must have basic knowledge of 2D and 3D software such as AutoCAD and knowledge of technical codes and drawing guidelines specified by organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Design Writing Association (ADDA), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), the British Standards Institute (BSI), and the Australian Code of Standards AS1100. Architectural modelers need to have a deeper understanding of the concepts of architecture, construction and building and experience with 3D software programs such as Revit and ArchiCAD.
Why Architectural Design Remains Common in Architectural Design Practices
Architects and designers prefer 3D architectural models because they provide a 3D perspective of the building’s conceptual plane, facilitate the management of project data, and enable design changes on-the-fly. However, construction companies that require the technical specifications of the architectural project prefer 2D technical plans and architectural construction plans because they provide the precise details required for construction, most resources involved in construction understand 2D plans, there are no problems with software compatibility compared to the use of 3D models, and it is a suitable solution to meet the budgetary requirements of a construction project. Some of the reasons why architectural design is preferable for various construction companies include:
- Suitable for construction requirements – In some construction projects, 2D technical drawings or architectural CAD drawings are sufficient to complete the construction, when no additional information is required that 3D models provide. A set of construction drawings (CD) includes all the drawings, elevations, sections and detailed plans necessary for construction. Technical codes, symbols and other additional information, such as material type, are provided in the technical drawings. Therefore, construction companies find enough 2D technical drawings to successfully complete the construction.
- Availability of technical resources – Not all companies have the technical resources to deliver 3D models. Although design teams are qualified to work in AutoCAD to deliver 2D technical drawings, they may not be qualified to work in Revit to deliver 3D models. In the construction industry, the availability of drawing equipment that can provide technical 2D drawings is wide compared to companies that provide 3D modeling services.
- Software availability – The adoption of new programs and practices is gradual and slow in the construction industry. The software used in construction projects varies from country to country. Some countries use ArchiCAD and AutoCAD Architecture instead of Revit, leading to incompatibility of project data. Technical 2D drawings in AutoCAD are widely used and compatible, making it the preferred choice for 3D Revit models.
- Suitable for cost and budget requirements – In most cases, construction companies do not find the need to invest more in 3D models, when writing solutions they provide detailed technical drawings that are sufficient and relevant for construction. There is also additional investment in resources that are competent enough to understand and implement 3D architectural models on site.
While 3D architectural modeling and BIM modeling provide the design-related information normally needed by architects and designers in the design phase of the construction project lifecycle, architectural sketching provides technical drawings that address not only the aesthetics, but also the high-performance details of construction elements. Architectural CAD drawings specifically communicate the intent of the design and assist in the construction of buildings that companies consider sufficient on 3D models. Although construction companies will have to evolve to combine the use of 2D technical drawings and 3D architectural models until then, the time-tested practice of using architectural drawing and drawing solutions in construction has come to stay.