Chapter OneDrawing as Communication
Ideas and plans are formed in the interior designer's mind, but to be transformed into reality, they have to be communicated to others. Although a designer may have a great idea, it must be effectively communicated or it will remain just an idea and never move beyond conception. Interior designers and other professionals in the building industry use drawings as the primary means of developing and sharing their ideas. Interior designers and architects do a lot of sketching and drawing. They develop their skills in freehand drawing by sketching existing objects and spaces in the environment (Figure 1-1).
These same skills of observation and sketching are then used in visualizing designs for new spaces and objects (Figure 1-2).
This process of brain, eye, and hand coordination is an intrinsic part of design. Architectural drawings can be grouped into three basic types: drawing as idea generation, drawing as a design and presentation medium, and drawing as a guide for the construction process. There are distinct differences between each of these types, yet they all contain some common drawing tools, techniques, standards, and graphic language.
Design communication is also influenced by issues that regulate the building industry, such as building codes that protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Currently, other issues, such as universal design, sustainability, and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and Building Information Modeling (BIM) affect the way designers communicate their ideas.
Drawing for Idea Generation
Idea generation assists the designer in working through and visualizing the solution to a problem. Designers use many different types of drawings to generate and bring to reality their creative ideas. These drawings can be in the form of quick freehand sketches illustrating different kinds of views (Figure 1-3).
Many times these types of drawings are not shown to clients but are used solely to help designers shape their ideas into a visual form. The drawings are not intended to be the final solution to an idea, but rather to allow the designer to explore alternatives or refine an idea. They also help to record designers' two- and three-dimensional thinking. These concept sketches and drawings are part of a sequence of design steps referred to as the design process (Figure 1-4).
Drawing as Design and Presentation Media
Once a designer has developed an idea to a point that visual communication is needed to show it to the client or others, new drawings must be created for use as presentation media. These drawings depict the parameters of an idea in more detail, yet are not totally worked out to a point that they serve as an accurate construction guide. Design drawings can range from pictorial renderings of an idea (Figure 1-5) to rendered plan views of a building's interiors (Figure 1-6). In the first example, a rendering is often done as a perspective view (Chapter 4), which resembles a photograph. The receding lines of an object are purposely drawn to a distant vanishing point-similar to the effect of railroad tracks that appear to touch at the horizon. Design drawings are also done using techniques other than perspectives, such as the isometric shown in Figure 1-7. Different types of drawings are discussed further in Chapter 4.
Drawing as a Guide for Construction
Drawings serve as the prime means of communication for constructing buildings, interior spaces, cabinets, furniture, and other objects. Construction drawings are scaled, detailed, and accurate representations of how an object looks and how it is constructed, as well as the materials used (Figure 1-8). The drawings follow established architectural graphic conventions to indicate sizes, material, and related information that is needed to bring the objects or spaces into reality (Figure 1-9). The builder needs clear, concise drawings that are directly related to the different views of an object, such as plans, elevations, sections (Figure 1-10), and other drawing types that are discussed in later chapters.
Issues Affecting How Interior Designers Communicate
Interior design is a constantly changing discipline that is affected by societal, environmental, and technological changes. Issues affecting how interior designers communicate today are influenced by universal design concepts, sustainability, and digital technology as they apply to design practice within the building industry.
Universal design is a worldwide belief that encompasses the design of environments, objects, and communication with the intent of serving the widest range of users. Universal design should not be used interchangeably with accessible design, which specifically focuses on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities. Universal design is more than providing minimal compliance with set accessibility guidelines and requirements. Universal design integrates accessible features into the design of the building, interiors, and objects. It attempts to address usability issues of spaces and equipment versus setting standards and minimum requirements. Figure 1-11 illustrates an example of the international symbol for accessibility regardless of the user's abilities.
The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with a consortium of universal design researchers and practitioners, developed seven principles of universal design that were copyrighted in 1997. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. These principles are useful in guiding designers in the creation of environments that are accessible to all people, whether they have a disability or not. Good examples of universal design are almost invisible as they are so well blended into the design that they seem commonplace.
Sustainability and LEED
The built environment has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health, and productivity. Based on this impact, the design, creation, and maintenance of the built environment presents both challenges and opportunities for design professionals. Sustainable design and green design have become common terminology in the design field and involve using methods and products that cause the lowest possible impact upon the ability of the natural environment to maintain its natural balance. Interior designers must practice in an environmentally responsible manner, and must advance their knowledge and application of sustainable design in order to advance sustainable practice. One way this can be accomplished is through an understanding of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the Green Building Rating System[TM], which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (Figure 1-12). This system encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Additionally, LEED has six different rating systems based on the nature of the project. These are LEED-EB (Existing Building), LEED-NC (New Construction), LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors), LEED-CS (Core and Shell), LEED-H (Homes), and LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development). At the time of this writing, rating systems for Schools, Retail, and Healthcare are being developed.
Interior designers, along with architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders, and government officials are encouraged to use LEED to help transform the built environment to sustainability. Federal agencies, as well as state and local governments across the country are adopting LEED for public-owned and public-funded buildings. Sustainable considerations within the built environment begin at the design phase of a project and are carried through in the specifications and construction drawings. It is therefore important that students in interior design learn how to design and apply LEED standards in an environmentally responsible manner. Sustainable issues and LEED standards are incorporated into relevant chapters where appropriate.
Digital Technology and Building Information Modeling
Digital technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace in the production of new software for two- and three-dimensional modeling programs for use by interior designers and others involved in the building industry. While this book is not about any specific software, there must be some discussions of the most widely used programs and their specific details as the majority of designers are using computers in the production of design and construction drawings.
Autodesk's AutoCAD[R] has been the most widely used CAD program in interior design and architectural firms in the United States for the production of construction drawings. Other popular programs used by the building and design industry include Archi-CAD(r) (by Graphisoft) and MicroStation (by Bentley). At this point in time, it appears these software programs will not be discarded anytime soon; however, it appears that the architecture and design industry is headed toward a new technology known as Building Information Modeling, or BIM.
Autodesk Revit[R] Building, a BIM technology, is leading a new CAD industry standard for interior design and architectural practice. BIM is not a specific program, but an integrated approach to design and construction drawings. It is an approach that produces database-driven, 3-D parametric models of proposed projects that address geometry, spatial relationships, sectional perspectives, unit-cost impacts, and detailed documentation with unprecedented speed. Once mastered, the technology facilitates the entire multidisciplinary interactions of a project team. An advantage of BIM is that revisions made in one view or drawings are automatically integrated into related drawings and/or schedules, as illustrated in Figure 1-13. In the AutoCAD platform this would require the changes made to one drawing be "X-referenced" to the other base drawing.
As many large design firms across the country begin to implement BIM technology into their practice, it will be essential to educate design students in this technology.