Draw the line : an alternative form of architectural drawings
For centuries, architectural drawing has been considered one of the most effective representational tools, representing buildings and communicating architectural designs between architects and non-architects. It conveys information by using a set of graphic codes, which then becomes a message that allows architectural drawing not only to be read at a basic level, but also to be decoded. However, the codes have over time become internalised and play out as a private language that excludes non-architects. The use of particular codes within an architectural drawing leads to difficulties in reading and understanding by anyone outside the profession; this becomes a problematic issue in communication between architects and nonarchitects. Therefore, the main aim of this research is to examine whether conventional drawings, in particular plan drawings, are still considered an effective tool for communicating with nonarchitects. The dilemma of how best to communicate between architects and non-architects is explored through three related approaches. First, tracing the history of previous periods makes it possible to perceive and to understand the direction of the potential communication breakdown in the role of today's architectural drawings. Secondly, the process of using drawings as a means of communication is examined through a basic communication process. Finally, a study of research in environmental psychology focuses on the way in which architects and non-architects perceive and interpret such drawings. This consequently acknowledges the limits of architectural drawings found in the role of teaching, learning, and drawing, which are very much established in the structure of architectural education. The communicative potential of conventional drawings is then investigated through a series of empirical tests, with the aim of developing a new set of communicative drawings. This hopefully will mean that non-architects in the future will be better informed in the process of designing buildings. The tests indicate that lay people read architectural drawings differently from architects. They also show ways in which the communicative potential of architectural drawing may be improved. In conclusion, the research suggests a possibility in bridging the communication gap between architectural context and the public realm. It provides implications and recommendations for improving the communicative potential of architectural drawings.