The art of the drawing.

The advent of the personal computer and computer aided drafting software has made the old fashioned way of producing drawings, namely with a pen or pencil on paper, unusual. It’s true that there are some architects and architectural practices out there that still prepare plans this way but it’s been a long time since I did, and certainly my younger staff never have.

A client loaned us a drawing that he had been given of his house that had been produced for the builder when the house was built in 1933. There is something beautiful about an old plan like this and you can see the pride and the care the draftsman employed in his draftsmanship. Look at the lettering and the rendering of the solid surfaces and you will see that this drawing conveys more than the information strictly needed to build this house. We also take pride in our work and I would hope this is evident in our drawings too, it’s just that denied the ability to express ourselves with hand drawn graphics, we try to make sure that the plans, sections and elevations are set out on the sheet of paper so that it is pleasing to the eye. As they say, first impressions matter and if, even before the client has studied the content of our drawing, we have created a good impression, then hopefully the client will look at our proposals with a more positive attitude. It seems to be working.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

1933 drawing smaller size

Architectural style

A lot of the recent enquiries which we have been receiving here at Building Tectonics have been from clients who may not know exactly what they want to do to their property, but they do know that they would like it designed around a certain architectural style.

Style is a big thing nowadays, not to say that it hasn’t always been! With the internet, and social media becoming the quickest way to share something with everyone who is online, if you happen to walk down the street in some ghastly number that the fashion police would condemn, you can almost guarantee that someone down that street has snapped a photo and stuck it on the internet for all to see and judge.

Now the same thing could be said about buildings and the style of architecture in which they are designed. The main difference being that a building designed in a style which is not befitting to the surroundings stands out for more than a mere day of humiliation walking down the street. However, that being said, if an architect were to try and create a whole new style of architecture…that is a completely different story. Unlike Lady Gaga and her dress made of meat, if an architect wants to pioneer a new style and invoke a reaction, they can do so and be commended for trying even if it doesn’t quite work as a new revolutionary style. Sometimes, the things critics deem ‘ugly’ in architecture can turn out to be the very thing that other architects like, and so begin following the same form…thus creating a new architectural style.

I hear a lot of people using the term ‘contemporary’ when describing styles of architecture which they like, or would like for their property. Others use terms like ‘modernist’ and ‘neo-classical’.

Do you have a favourite style of architecture?

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics

Bauhaus Architecture

There have been a lot of influential movements throughout history, but this blog is about one art movement in particular – The Bauhaus movement. At the time this style was so different that it was shunned by the major political influences of the time, but it is now one of the main influencers of modern design in architecture.

This movement was only around for 14 years or so, from 1919 to 1933, but it has left such a lasting impression. It brought about the idea of using simple shapes like rectangles, triangles and circles in building design, which is what much of modern architecture today consists of.

Bauhaus got its name from the school that taught the style, which was founded by Walter Gropius in Welmar. The term ‘Bauhaus’ is German for ‘house for building’ and its influence has clearly transpired to architectural design, although the school did not have a department especially dedicated to architecture.

A distinctive feature of this movement was the fact that they insisted on using only primary colours (red, yellow and blue, but black and white were also allowed within the pieces). This simple colour palette, together with the simple geometric shapes led to a distinct idea of what the Bauhaus movement should be perceived as.

In most modern architecture, there are two distinctive options which an architect can choose when designing a scheme for a client:

  • They can play it safe and basically copy a modern building which already exists.OR
  • Apply the general principals of Bauhaus to a brand new design by using simple shapes and unusual angles.

Anyone who was designing with Bauhaus in mind would have had to embrace the views of trying to embrace new technological developments which unified art, craft and technology. The Bauhaus movement were primarily characterised by its simplistic take on design, and its economic sensibility and focus on mass production.

This movement, as with anything which has a lot of influence on society, was not accepted by everyone.

It was always under scrutiny from the Nazi movement which preferred classicism over modernism. They criticised the Bauhaus style because they didn’t agree with the modernistic styles, they even went as far as to labelling it ‘un-German’ and calling it a front for communists, Russians and social liberals.

A lot of design movements look more and more outdated as the years go on, but the Bauhaus philosophy lives on, having a constant influence on modern design. Major cities still use this 94 year old theory when designing new buildings, that theory being ‘form follows function’, including white walls, clean lines and glass.

Gropius had a clear vision, which was to ‘bridge the gap’ between art and industry by combining crafts and fine art. Before the Bauhaus movement, fine arts such as architecture and design were held in higher esteem than craftsmanship, but Gropius’ movement asserted that all crafts including art, architecture and geometric design could be brought together and mass produced. Gropius argued that architecture and design should reflect the new period in history and adapt to the era of the machine.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.