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7 Essential Tools for Architects

Greetings, colleagues. Today, we will discuss crucial tools for architects. We all acknowledge that the role of an architect involves creating impressive building designs. However, to achieve such designs, architects require suitable working tools, in addition to their skills. Here are several tools that I consider indispensable for architects.


Computer or Laptop

The first tool is a computer or laptop. In the current digital era, an architect cannot detach themselves from the use of a computer or laptop. This device is paramount in assisting architects in creating building designs. Computers or laptops serve as the primary tools for running design software essential for architects.

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Laptop for architects. Image by Adityuwana

You can peruse my article on choosing a computer for architects and laptops recommendations for architect, which can serve as considerations before purchasing a computer or laptop. Select one that aligns with the software you intend to use and fits within your budget.


Design Software

Design software plays a crucial role in the architectural design and creation process. It enables architects to develop more complex and accurate designs, enhances work efficiency, allows for clearer and more compelling visualizations, and, most importantly, facilitates collaboration with teams.

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Sketchup Web. Image by Adityuwana.

Some commonly used design software for architects includes AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Revit. While many design software options are commercially available, some developers offer free and legal versions. You can find recommendations for these in this article. It is important to note that there is no single best software that encompasses all aspects. Each design software has its own functionality, so choose one that aligns with your workflow.


Measurement Tools

Another essential tool for architects is measuring equipment. The types of measuring tools vary, with the most common ones being tape measures, digital meters, and roll meters. Tape measures are typically used for measuring relatively short distances, such as column dimensions, wall thickness, the height of kitchen concrete, and others. This type of meter usually has a maximum limit of three to seven meters.

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Architecture measuring tools. Image by Adityuwana


Digital meters are used for measuring longer distances that require precise measurements, such as the width of door and window openings, ceiling height, room width, and so on. The advantage of this type of meter is that it can be used by a single person and can reach difficult areas such as high ceilings. Meanwhile, roll meters are used to measure larger areas, such as land length and road width. Have one of each for these three types of measuring tools.


Sketching Tools

As an architect, sketching is an integral part of daily work. Sketches are used to communicate initial ideas and concepts to clients. To create good sketches, an architect needs the right tools. Some commonly used tools include sketchbooks, paper, mechanical pencils, outliner pens, and coloring tools such as markers or colored pencils.

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Architecture sketch tools. Image by Adityuwana

  1. Dot Grid Notebook, a sketchbook with wire binding and a dot pattern to produce sketches that are not dominated by horizontal and vertical lines like in millimeter blocks.

  2. Bukuqu Sketchbook, if you enjoy panoramic sketches, you can choose this book. Because it is bound, you can create continuous panoramic sketches between two pages.

  3. Uni Kurutoga Roulette Mechanical Pencil, its pencil tip can rotate, ensuring even sharpness. This results in more consistent line thickness.

  4. Pentel Touch Pen, for creating outlines with thick lines. Its pen tip is brush-shaped, producing unique line characters.

  5. Sharpie Ultra Fine, for creating outlines. Available in various colors, suitable for sketching site analysis.

  6. Copic Sketch Marker, a professional marker popular among artists and illustrators. Known for high quality and a variety of colors that provide sharp and durable results. Choose blue and green for coloring natural elements like water and grass, use yellow for lighting, and brown for coloring wooden elements like decks.

  7. Prismacolor Premier atau Faber-Castell Classic. If you prefer colored pencils over markers, I recommend Prismacolor Premier. The colors are brighter, smoother, and easy to blend. It's a bit expensive but designed for professionals. However, if you want an affordable version with decent quality, you can choose Faber-Castell Classic.

Thats are some recommended sketching tools, but you can choose the ones that suit you best. If you want to learn more about architectural sketching, you can read my tips and techniques for architectural sketching.


Tablet

Although not a mandatory tool, a tablet is also an important tool for architects. With a tablet, architects can carry designs or important documents anywhere without having to bring a laptop. Additionally, tablets can be used to jot down ideas, create design sketches, present to clients, or make adjustments while in the field. This tool is suitable for architects due to its practicality.

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Amsterdam sketch on iPad. Image by Adityuwana.

Because it is used for sketching, you need to choose a tablet equipped with a stylus to optimize its function as a sketching tool. Some popular tablets used are the iPad Pro or Air for iOS users, Samsung Galaxy Tab S series, or Xiaomi Pad for Android users. These devices are highly capable as architect support tools. I personally use a tablet to support some work, as discussed in the iPad for Architects post. For sketch apps, I use Procreate. You can read about alternative apps here.


Printer

Although we are in the era of paperless communication, in some cases, you may need to print drawings, making a printer a consideration. Own a large-sized printer, at least A3. Some clients prefer to see physical drawings and make direct notes on paper during face-to-face consultations. Printers are also used to print final documents used during the construction phase of the project.

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Epson L1300. Perfect equipment for your studio.

You can choose from brands such as Canon, HP, or Epson. All three brands are very popular, and coincidentally, I have used all three, starting from Canon iX4000, HP K7100, and currently using Epson L1300.


Camera

This device is not mandatory, as the camera feature is already present in smartphones. However, it plays a significant role for architects. It's considered non-mandatory because smartphone cameras already exist. But for architects, is it necessary to buy a camera?

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Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash.

If you need images with excellent quality, high resolution, and accurate details, then you need to buy a camera. For example, when you are not using the services of a professional photographer to document a built project. However, if you only need decent images for documentation and presentations, then a smartphone camera is sufficient.


For the camera type, you can use a DSLR. The most popular brands are Canon, Sony, and Nikon. Another option is a mirrorless camera, which is more compact and lightweight. Both types of cameras are very capable of capturing high-quality images. I will discuss cameras in more detail in a separate post. But whether you use a camera or smartphone, you can check out architectural photography tips I wrote in this link.


Those were the seven important tools for architects. You can prioritize to determine which ones you need first. Bye!

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