Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect whose name became a household word in the early 20th century, designed and constructed more than a thousand buildings during his career. Today's architects might not gain worldwide fame from their designs, but they use the same architecture tools that Wright did, along with new ones he didn't have. People who work in the field of architecture combine art and science to create buildings that range from residences and office towers to shopping centers and aquariums. The exact science of erecting a building starts with its design, followed by building and analyzing design models before construction begins.
Architects often start with a project design that they create on paper. These designs require the use of planes, triangles and protractors that help architects draw them. The architect also uses a special ruler called the architect's scale. These rulers let them measure proportional linear distance while drafting a design. They also use templates that help them draw curves and circles of different sizes for hand-drawn visualizations of the structure of buildings. Other architectural templates let them insert common building features – such as electrical, plumbing and heating systems – into a draft building design. Architects often create their designs using special arm and track drafting machines or a drafting desk. Both tools allow them to use very large sheets of paper. Many prefer to draft some designs in sketchbooks, using colored lead pencils.
Modeling and Prototyping
Today’s architects often use computers and special software to create their designs and models. Commonly used computer assisted design, or CAD, programs make the design process faster by applying common principles of geometry and physics to architectural designs. CAD programs also help architects store information relevant to their design in a file that they can retrieve and change more easily than a hand-drawn one. Some design software programs also let architects easily retrieve information about environmental laws, weather factors, strength and load-bearing properties of various building material choices. This helps architects avoid design flaws.
Architects often use diazo copiers and special laser printers to produce blueprints, commonly on paper that has a dark background and light type. Today's architects can use 3D printers to produce prototypes of their designs, but even those without this option print one-dimensional models of their projects – then they simply cut the parts with precision knives and glue the pieces together to make a 3D model. Chipboard and foam are also common architect’s tools for making design models.
Construction Project Management
As the architect's design reaches the construction phase, she will often need additional tools and software. Architects frequently visit construction sites to monitor the building contractor's implementation of the design plans. A digital camera is useful for documenting construction progress and design changes during these visits. To communicate with clients, negotiate and manage vendor contracts and track construction progress, architects usually need project management software and word-processing programs, along with email and a cell phone.
Original Article: https://work.chron.com/tools-architect-use-10408.html