Monday, January 30, 2023

Sketching the Way We Build

 Continuing my little foray into the world of reticulated finishes. This was my own attempt to invent a pattern in that idiom.

It's drawn freehand on my phone. I may try taking this into Revit and adapting it to some practical situations. Perhaps a door surround.

Something for 2023 I guess.

In 1986 I was working in the curriculum development unit in Zimbabwe and preparing for a fourth book in a series of five. The series was called Let's Build Zimbabwe and it was targeted at secondary schools.

The fourth book was never completed, but during the pandemic I decided to recreate some of the sketches using digital methods, mostly SketchBook Pro which used to belong to Autodesk and is still my favourite drawing app for the Samsung Note.

This is a common sill detail in Zimbabwe. Solid walls, steel window frames, brick-on-edge sill over a bituminous felt dpc. Overhanging eaves are good to offer some protection from heavy rain. But not easy to provide on low-cost housing where the roof structure is simple wood beams spanning between cross walls.

More sketches from 1986 when I was a curriculum developer in Zimbabwe. I had decided that perspective views were easier to understand than isometrics, orthographics and other "technical" projections. We intended to introduce students to technical drawing conventions but to mix them in with more "natural" perspective viewpoints.

This is long before digital models became an option.

These sketches combine visualisation of pressed steel door frames as used almost everywhere in Zimbabwe at the time. How they are built into brickwork as it proceeds. Plus the options available for bonding a T junction in stretcher bond. There is something wierd about the bonding of the lower view. Not sure what I was going for there. Work in progress I guess.

The drawings have been colourised and enhanced digitally especially for this post.

This is digital recreation based on an old pencil sketch. I was building up a library of such sketches in preparation for the last two books of the Let's Build Zimbabwe series.

Basic plumbing concepts were to form part of the final book. The idea here was to help students visualise a manhole, to see how a pipe junction is exposed for cleaning purposes, and to support a discussion of topics like benching.

I did a bit of benching in my twenties, but would never claim to be an expert.

The drawing was created during Covid Lockdown, an opportunity to revisit several unfinished projects from my varied past.

This little tongue-in-cheek story was my attempt to convey the concept of using a gauge rod when raising brickwork corners. I tried to inject some life and humour into the topic by inventing two characters with different characters.

In my short career as a bricklayer we mostly used a tape measure and multiples of 75mm which we could easily calculate in our heads. But in Zimbabwe, brick sizes were not so well standardised, so the classic square timber with saw cuts was commonly used. Easily knocked up on site.

Is the romance going out of our world? Would anyone tell stories like this to explain 3d printing, or robotic assembly? Does it even matter?

Personally, I am very grateful to have experienced the satisfaction of learning a trade and building with my bare hands using processes that were developed over hundreds of years. I never climbed very high up that ladder, but the view was spectacular all the same.

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