Architectural Detailing

Architectural Detailing

Architectural Detailing

The transition from architectural idea to built reality is composed of countless decisions that are madeTT amid a landscape of ever-changing circumstances. Architects design and draw for each building a set of details that show how it will be put together. Architects have primary

responsibility for the detailing in buildings, a fact that architectural curricula often underappreciate. Detailing should be at least as prominent in architecture curricula as structures and mechanical systems: two areas in which consulting engineers often have primary responsibility. This book is intended to help students and young professionals

become proficient with architectural detailing. How does the architect know if these details will achieve the desired result? Will the building that they represent go together

easily and economically? Will it shed water? Will it be easy to heat and cool? Will the details look good with one another and with the overall form and space of the building? Will the building grow old gracefully, and will it last for the requisite period of time? There are many more questions of similar importance.

The experienced architect does not leave the answers to chance. Each detail, no matter how special or unprecedented, is designed in conformance with universal, timeless patterns that, given competent execution on the construction site, virtually      guarantee  satisfactory
building performance. These detail patterns are the subject of this book. Detail patterns are elemental principles that are present in all successful building details. They represent an accumulation of centuries of wisdom about what works in building construction and what does not. Many of the patterns are firmly grounded in scientific fact. Others are based just as solidly on common sense and the realities of human performance. The experienced architect employs all these patterns automatically, as if by instinct, when designing details.

Good detailing is an opportunity to advance the concepts and aesthetic themes of the basic design. The detail patterns can be used to edit the schematic design, celebrating its strengths and eliminating features that are not contributing to the central ideas.

The patterns clarify the issues relevant to a particular detail but avoid stating what the solution should be. They are meant to provoke the designer to discover many possible solutions and to provide a clear process through which each can be assessed.

Details are rarely designed from scratch, as a pure response to a situation, as if it had never existed before. More often, we build upon precedents. The architect uses the detail patterns as a reliable means of analyzing and understanding existing details. They are helpful in reviewing one’s own work, in checking the work of other detailers in the office, in judging the quality of manufactured building components, and in diagnosing problems in existing

buildings. The absence of attention to a particular detail pattern, or the presence of a feature that contradicts a pattern, usually indicates a problem or a potential problem that should be corrected. The detail patterns are straightforward and easy to learn. There are slightly more than 100 of them. Each is irreducibly simple.

The first portion of this book introduces each of the patterns in turn, explains it, and illustrates several instances of its use. Each pattern is given a simple descriptive name and a graphical icon to assist in the memorization of it. The patterns are arranged in three main groups: Function, Constructibility, and Aesthetics, corresponding to the three major

concerns of the detailer. The order of presentation of these groups is not intended to imply their hierarchy or their sequence in the design process. Under each of these groupings, the patterns are further categorized by similarity of intent. The first category of patterns under Function, for example, is Controlling Water Leakage, comprising 13 detail patterns that offer a complete strategy for accomplishing this important task.

The second portion of the book demonstrates the use of the detail patterns during the process of designing the details of three different hypothetical buildings: one in wood, one in architectural concrete, and one in brick veneer over a reinforced concrete frame.

The book closes with an annotated listing of publications recommended for the detailer’s own reference shelf and a list of websites of particular interest. Exercises for self-study or classroom use are also provided. The almost 500 original sketches and drawings by the authors are intended to be illustrative of the building elements and natural phenomena being addressed. They are not working drawings. Almost all are freehand sketches, because this remains the primary means that designers use to begin creating details. Some information has been intentionally deleted or added to make the drawings effective instructional tools. For instance, anchors securing a masonry veneer to the backup are drawn in these sections,

whereas they might be identified only in specifications or in a large-scale detail in a set of working drawings produced in an office. By including them in the sketches, readers will engage the visual reality in more complete terms.

It is assumed that the reader has a general background in the materials and methods of building construction and is familiar     with the  conventions of architectural drawing.
In the detail drawings throughout the book, outdoors is always to the left or top of the drawing.


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