How Architects Design : Exploratory Site Sketches

I love listening to clients, visiting their properties and exploring the possibilities of a site, usually using exploratory site sketches.

In tandem with discussions, walk rounds and background research, it is beneficial to produce quick overlay sketches of a plot.

Usually such sketches are drawn to explain ideas with clients. Sometimes sketches are produced as a method of understanding a plot ahead of visiting a potential project for the first time, for example for a new development, barn conversion or when consdiering an addition to an existing property.

Quick sketches are a particularly useful tool for considering the qualities of a site and can be used to gauge:

  • The placement of buildings on the site and their relationship to one another.
  • Spaces between buildings and whether they are usable as external areas and for site access.
  • Orientation and the sun path across the course of a day, noting where the shadows will fall.
  • Aspect and prospect, particularly in order to make the most of the natural beauty of a place.

In summary, quickly produced site sketches are a productive method of testing ideas during the initial stages of a project.