How to read architectural plans.

We are currently coming up with different ideas as to how we can present our drawings to lay-people, in an easy to read manner, which would be good enough to show at an exhibition.

We have found that 3D plans have usually been less easily read by clients.

Reading plans is one of those skills which is easy, when you know how. If, when you look at your architects plans you find yourself bewildered and not sure how to start, then try this trick which we will share with you:

Find the front door. Once you find the front door, or main entrance, you can then navigate your way along corridors and into each room. This, for most people, will make the plan come alive. Once you have done this for the ground floor, you will have found the foot of the stairs on your virtual journey. So then you can go to the first floor; look for the top of the staircase as this will be your starting point on any floor other than the ground floor.


We are on a bit of a mission at the moment, trying to find better ways of presenting information to clients, and we would be very pleased if you could help us. One of our frustrations is that some clients ask us to present plans in a 3D format, and occasionally we are asked to produce computer generated models. The reason given is that it will help with the understanding of the space which we are designing, but it is clear that in some cases, clients are seduced by the clever graphics, but still do not really understand, or “feel” the space, so to speak.

Please look at the two simple static architectural plans we have provided below, and do the following with your newly learnt skill.

We ask you to have a look at the 2D plan below and use the trick which we have explained above – locate the front door, and then work your way through the plan. Is it east to get to grips with the layout?

A4 proposed ground floor with furniture but no words

Now identify the location of the kitchen, is this easy to find?

Now repeat the process for the 3D type presentation. Is it any easier?

3D model

Please let us know your opinions in the comments.

This subject is important to us because we are very tempted to produce more sophisticated images like some of our competitors but we are not always sure whether this actually helps with the process of understanding architects plans, and this is very important is the client is to make a valued judgement on various schemes which we usually produce.

Kitchen design companies usually produce these 3D perspective drawings included as part of their service, and I know quite a few people who have felt the final installed kitchen does not engender the same sense of space which the graphics seemed to.

Your thoughts and comments would be most appreciated.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Designing a home, and the flaws made.

Different people have different views on what the perfect home is, and what are considered ‘flaws’ in that home. In fact, when it comes to the design of a home, it seems to bring out some of the most opposing views. This is due to the fact that we’re not all the same, so we all like, and dislike different things. This blog is about some of the things which people consider to be flaws when designing or constructing a building.

An interesting example of a design feature which gets very opposed views is the walk-in wardrobe. I find this an interesting debate, because I have only recently heard any negative opinions towards the space. People arguing for it said that it is clearly a very good design feature due to the additional storage. The people who didn’t like the idea of a walk in wardrobe so much argued the point, saying that the additional space creates more of a likelihood that you will fill it with clutter and come to feel stressed out by it, all due to the fact that it is built specifically for storage.

I think that you need to find a balance with storage, you need just the right amount for your personal needs. If there is too little, then your home can look cluttered due to the lack of space available for putting things away, but if there is to much then you may be tempted to fill it with clutter, experienced architects can help advise you when you are deciding on how much storage you need to have in your home.

Another potential design flaw of modern homes could be that we hardly get any real fresh air circulating in them. This could be due to the air conditioning and heating systems people have installed in their homes, rather than just opening the window and letting some air in. Of course, many factors add up to the decision as to whether we open our windows or not. These could include the safety of our homes and families, the quality of the air where you live (for example, you probably wouldn’t want to open your windows if you lived near a factory which was blowing smoke or fumes into the atmosphere), our privacy tends to play a large part in whether the curtains are opened, let alone the windows! Any noise around the home could stop you from opening it, or if you are a considerate neighbour and know you are going to make a lot of noise playing your music rather loudly.

Many people may say that they don’t think their homes are lit well enough by natural light, and therefore have a lot of lighting installed inside their homes, which is probably where most of their electricity bills are created. On the other hand, if you had a lot of windows, they may be very helpful with enhancing heat from the sun on cold day, but in the summer, when you ant to cool down, you may have to go around the house covering the windows.

The placement of air conditioning and heating systems are crucial to how cost effectively your home will run. Poor placement can lead to unforeseen costs you could have avoided. For example, if a room has too much moisture in it, mold can grow, and that moisture could have been avoided if the units had been put in the best place to heat or cool whatever space they are in. If there is a lack of insulation or vents, people living in the home can be hot or cold most of the time, this is seen as a massive flaw which can be prevented easily with sufficient and careful pre-planning.

The design of the kitchen is one of the most important parts of planning a building, because the kitchen could be where you will have most of your social gatherings, or just the place where you cook your family meals. Either way, it needs to be functional with everything you need to meet your individual needs.

A lot of people build and but homes with the short-term future in mind, but you should really think about long term, including using strong materials which will last and save you money in the long run. Another thing to take into account is planning for getting older and a growing family, these tend to be an afterthought as many people think about their personal design preferences as opposed to future functionality. To quote a popular cookery show, they think about ‘style over substance’ when it should be the other way around.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.