Architects love their tools – whether they’re analog or digital tools. We all have our favorites and debates break out on what are the best and why. The key is why. Architects know why they hold to certain opinions which is a conversation all to itself.
Serendipity was on my side as I was shopping online earlier this week looking for pens as I came across my pen of choice throughout college. At some point, it became hard to find in art supply stores (even on college campus book stores) and I had to find another ‘brand’ (this was pre-internet days folks). Imagine my joy as I discovered it is still available online – in black and red ink. This got me thinking – I’m fond of my stuff (architecture stuff), even quite sentimental about many of my architectural tools. This is the part where I explain how we think about our tools and how we get attached to them. In other words – if you borrow it, you had certainly better return it – exactly where you found it or else.
If you have favorites and yours are distinctly different than mine, I’m interested to hear about them, but we’re not going to argue about them or tell each other that the other is wrong. If you don’t know why I mentioned that, you’re not an architect.
These arrived yesterday and I’m eager to use them. The fine point makes for great sketching (not writing), and this is the best (if not only) pen that has the perfect cap that allows me to clip it (hidden) to my shirt. I rarely go anywhere without a sketch pen clipped to my shirt.
Over the years, I’ve used many types of sketchbooks of all types and sizes. Now I simply prefer a size that can fit into a pocket and is able to unfold flat on a table. I carry mine everywhere I go.
Forget the artist pack of every known type of graphite from hard to soft (9H to 8B). I’m an architect. A #2 pencil is still the best tool. When you totally geek out the pencil thing, you’ll find these pencil point protectors and a lead holder for pencils when they’re too small to hold. Architect toys, that’s all I can say.
pens and trace (and more pencils)
Yellow trace is it. Sharpies – no other. Fat lead holders – one of the coolest tools I came across years ago – these pencils work so well on large newsprint or other times to be loose – like a Sharpie permits, but still using pencil.
I admit these are used sporadically now, but my 6” flat architects scale is priceless. I’ve gone through many, so this one isn’t an original, but most of the day to day work is done with this little scale; it doesn’t leave my office. I have others that I carry with me. I don’t have much use of the larger (triangular) one except for ripping sheets of trace.
I rarely build models these days, which is sad, because it remains one of my favorite things to do as an architect. It’s therapy. My only comment – the cork back metal ruler – I’ve had this since I was in 9th grade where I started building architectural models over 35 years ago. Don’t touch it, don’t take it out of my office. It’s sentimental.
This is still in use, but it’s been off my desk for several weeks. The cover is dirty and I should get a new one. What is special about this desk is my sister bought this desk for me when I started architectural school in 1986. I removed the legs and added a handle and fold out legs on the back so it can be placed on a desk top. Other than that, I believe the parallel rule (Mayline) is from my college days. For the record, it’s not my first drafting table – that’s a remarkable story I’ll share sometime.
For those of you who only use digital tools – do you have “feelings” for them? Better yet, do you have stories? I do think computers are cool; my only feelings for computers are hostility or ambivalence with no sentiment.
I’d love to hear your stories. If you’re not an architect, I hope you understand a bit how we think without being freaked out.