Can the Modern-day Architect

Have Real and Long-lasting  Success only by knowing Computer Software?

The Architecture landscape has changed forever because of how brutally efficient it is to use a computer for all types of architecture work. That is all good as I am a big fan of mastering software alongside drawing and the value it could add to your design work.

Let’s focus on the workflow of ‘how arch drawing still has a key role to play’ if you want to get quality designs!
So you probably agree – a project starts off with the chaotic concept generation part,
This is where pure chaos happens- you have ideas, you do the research and everything kind of gets a direction eventually.
This is where you generate the big idea starting from zero.
After you are past the concept stage you get to the design stage where you sort out the plans, sections, facades, construction details, everything.
You can very well have multiple iterations of your design, but again – at a stage where everything takes shape and has detailing added to it.
After that, we move towards the final stage where it’s all about the final presentation and graphics. This is all good, but how does drawing come into play?
In the good old times, these three processes where done only with drawing – so an architect would sit at the drafting table and do everything there.
In current times that could work, but I do not recommend it – it would be a real pain to sit and draw construction details with triangles, I at least would never do that – I would much rather go for a vector software such as autocad.
The current workflow for architecture designs is that you have the three types of software:
for graphics, 3d modelling/ rendering and vector drawings (or you can incorporate the last two in a BIM software solution, all good)
But as you see, the transition between the different stages is facilitated by architectural drawing. So drawing is actually MORE important that it was before, it can make or break a project and it can give you that competitive edge.
For instance, when you are stuck in your design stage, it would make much more sense to go and start sketching some different iterations for your designs and not just settle for what a software package can create for you.
Software is good for expressing final ideas, but it drains the creativity and the naturalness out of the whole process of designing architecture.
Also, freehand drawing is ESSENTIAL if you are doing final presentation sheets. You know the story of mixed media graphics – where you have sketches with renders on the final presentation sheet and how good they look.
You come across as a well rounded designer or architect, like you are the real deal and you really stand out. And you should, these skills can’t be faked, They are earned!
Also, you have probably heard of the story of an architect sketching in front of clients and the wow effect they got from that… or even the special case where you sketch upside down – like your clients would be sitting on the other side of the table and you still land an expressive sketch of your work whilst explaining the concept and design.
Can you see how something like that could change EVERYTHING?

Now let’s talk about software and how drawing and design can work alongside software and mastering drawing naturally translates to mastering software (and never the other way around)

Cool, story time…

A couple of years ago I had a special structure pavilion with a specific function.

Of course, regular people want to create a bus stop, or something safe, but not me – 
I remember studying A LOT of descriptive geometry, especially
how different volumes such as octahedra and tetrahedra look like in triple projection and so on.
So obviously I wanted to use all of that in a design to design a spatial frame starting from something like that.
I chose to design a chess pavilion. You know the feeling when you go on a site visit and you look around and everything is so boring – this chess pavilion should have been in a park by the way.
 Everything was perfect on the site, didn’t need any architecture to ruin its natural equilibrium.
So I decided, screw that – we will go for a floating pavilion that is on the lake in the park
Made my model with one of my – just a simple laser cut mode. One of my best friends was in charge of the laser cutting place, so nice one, he got some very nice quality plastic to cut – I remember just as always: cut the pieces, glue them together, nothing special..
And you know how deadlines are, they leave you a bit jaded like you just want to hand the thing over and be done with it.
I leave the model and the concept pieces in a studio and go outside – back then you could sometimes sneak a cig inside the architecture school – it was that long of a time ago haha.
A group of people walk in the studio and I hear ‘who’s idea is this?! Woooah ,this looks so cool ,how did you come up with that. No really, who’s idea is this?’
Bottom line – normies will never understand how to build up a vision for their designs and then successfully take it all the way to the end.
They might create a good idea here or one there ( do not get me wrong, I am not LeCorbusier’s great grandson, I mess up as well), but if you draw the bottom line, compared to people that are clueless about drawing I get more wins then flops.
This other time we had to design this modular pavilion thing.
I was underslept, had absolutely zero drawing tools with me and arrived late for the 1-day project.
I remember going into a frenzy and I finished the drawing in 2 hours (in all fairness, the concept flopped but the drawings looked really good!)
The weird part was that people started surrounding me when I was drawing,
I remember thinking that ‘the cheeky tw*tts, they are trying to copy my idea!’ Which wasn’t really that much of a good idea at the time, but it did look good on paper because of the graphics techniques.
Then one more incident came to mind – again, we had our first concept submission and everybody pinned up their work and surprise – all the drawings looked like they were done by 6 year olds… You know with the blue sky, green glass, etc.
Zero constructed shadows.
Zero perspective sketches.
Zero architecture…
I thought they were faking it in order to get me to let my guard down, but nope…
The struggle is real!
This is what I want to tell you – it doesn’t have to be!


[VIDEO]Draw and Design a Cube House

[VIDEO]Draw and Design a Prism House 

[VIDEO]Draw and Design a Cylinder House

[VIDEO]Sketch Modernist Architecture

[VIDEO]Sketch Contemporary Architecture

Drawing And Designing

 Classical Architecture

In the good old days, architects used to have to rely only on their drawing skills to create architecture
That was fine, there were schools focused on just studying the classical techniques of architecture drawing.
This created an architecture style which focused more on detailing and the final image of architecture. This was analytical architecture – buildings look good because your eye would jump from one detail to another and thus keep your perception engaged.

Drawing And Designing

 Organic Architecture

Nowadays, architecture evolved into a myriad of styles, the most expressive and out there being Organic Architecture.
Although computer software is the main way of creating this type of architecture, to really master organic architecture you need to 
sketch and imagine it on the drawing board.
Makes sense? To get architecture that really is architecture, you still need to draw it on a drafting board – this will get you on the other hand a 100% original design, and on the other hand it will help you keep everything together – especially in terms of architectural composition (venustas, utilitas and firmitas).

Mastering  Architectural Drawing 

= Pre-academic Education

Learning proper architectural drawing is usually done before you go to Architecture School and acts like the fundamentals, so have the right headstart and a strong base when you will tackle design challenges at school.

If you are a flat zero at drawing and completely relying on software to get you there, you will most likely have these sticking points.

Real talk, this is what will happen if you are stuck in software and telling yourself that it’s enough to get by.
1.) Creatively biased – Either too left brained logical …or too right brain chaotic.
Left brain bias manifests in you being overly logical about architecture and not understanding the artistic component to it. You can even go so far as saying that you bring nothing new to architecture with your approach – despite putting in effort into your work, the talk still goes back to ‘let’s add structure’ or ‘copy paste recipes that worked in the past’
Right brain biases are about you being too ‘out there’ with your work and not being able to focus on bringing an idea all the way from start to finish. Or you constantly complain that ‘other people do not understand your vision’
By the way, if you consider yourself a more creative type, then I recommend you really put in the effort to master technical drawing and descriptive geometry – this will double your creative skill set and give you an a strong base to build any future skills.
2.) Visually Illiterate – can’t draw and understand space or buildings
This is not that much about the there being a power failure and all of a sudden you can’t use your pc or laptop and you have to back to drawing on a drafting board.
CAD, photo editing, 3d modeling and rendering are all tools that you NEED in your workflow. However, these are connected together by the strong vision you get from being able to draw. You build up that vision step by step, on the inside. as well as the skill set to bring it out and share it with others!
3.) Not Having a Unique Architectural Vision.
What makes you unique in architecture? What makes your vision truly your vision? You cannot say that is from the lighting setup you choose when doing a rendering, or how efficient you are with a BIM or CAD software.
This is funny, was writing this and I remember Frank Gehry’s quote on how ‘95% of what is built today is pure sh*t’. Haha, a bit harsh, but it rings true!
Going back, software will definitely help, but mostly for translating your inner vision to a final form. It is not about you getting a vision through software. And mastering software but having zero vision is really bad as well: – it will get you spinning around in circles and hitting plateaus with your design work.
Cool, I prepared this short workbook for you to get started with learning freehand drawing – it will take you around 3 minutes to read through it and another 7-10 minutes to finish your first sketch.
Opt in with you name and email and I will send it to you fore free!
See you on the other side!
Michael Neatu

What Students Say About Working With Me:

“Hi Michael! Just wanted to say thanks so much for your help improving my drawing skills. You really reignited my passion for drawing and I feel like I now have comprehensive understanding of the foundations I needed to take my hand drawings to the next level.

Learning proper composition has really made a difference. Thanks again for being so patient and not giving up on me!”
– Felix M. London

“I started that I had no experience with free hand perspectives … during these months I have seen a considerable improvement in this aspect with an unexpected naturalness.

Surely, I would highly recommend to everyone this wonderful experience not only for the course itself but also for the seriousness and professionalism of Michael always and only determined to make you reach your goal!!!”
– Umberto M. Italy

The Future of Architecture

Computers and AI will probably evolve to want to take over the world. But just like with professional starcraft players vs the AI, human talent wins the day.

If there is human talent there. If there’s zero human talent (you don’t know how to draw or don’t have that your own unique vision on architecture) then you will be obsolete and removed from history.

Here is a study I am currently doing on biophilic architecture, which is an offshoot of ‘traditional’ organic architecture.

This design study although done in Autocad and 3DS Max, started off from freehand sketching the concept work and evolved by means of advanced descriptive geometry techniques which made the plan both realistic and workable as a design.

Hi, I’m Michael Neatu, I am an RIBA Architect and for the last 5 years I have taught over 500 live students as well as 7000-9000 online students via my video trainings.

With my guidance, you eliminate the guesswork and self-doubt around architectural drawing and will you step by step start unleashing your full architecture potential.