After spending the first half of spring break working on my thesis project (which is now due in 17 days!) I've headed home to relax for a few days and not think about architecture. Well, at least try and not think about architecture. When you're surrounded by it nearly 24/7 its hard to get away from it, but I'm trying my best (well at least getting away from thesis). But I was nice enough to talk with my cousin and her husband about floor plans for the home they are about the build.
This really shouldn't surprise me, but I found it hard to believe how difficult it was for them to read/follow/understand the floor plans. (They weren't oblivious by any means.) I say this having 6 years of (formally) reading, dissecting, studying, analyzing, designing, etc. floor plans. But when you step back and look at it from their perspective, there's a lot of stuff going on.
Walls, doors, fixtures, dimensions, dashed lines, hatches, you name, its on there. So I was happy to clear up any confusion, answers all questions, and just help them out. Spending all day every day with fellow architects and architects to be rarely does the dialogue revolve around "what is going on with this floor plan".
I've always known those not learned in architecture don't like floor plans. They like elevations and of course love flashy, cool looking renderings. You know, blind them with the "pictures". But oddly enough my presentations have never been full of flashy renderings. I generally stick with traditional floor plans, sections, elevations, axonometric, and diagrams.
I don't know if this is anything more than an observation. On one hand its like a secret language we use to keep ourselves relevant. "Please ask me what this really is." Though we've let more than a few groups take it and bastardize the hell out of it. On the other hand, most of the work we do is not for ourselves. It usually must be "read" by committees, the public, the owner, people with little more than an interest in architecture, if that. So I guess thats where the renderings come in handy. "If it looks cool enough, they won't ask us what the hell is going on with the space."
So to help my cousin out I offered to make a quick SketchUp model.