- guest blog by Nakaya Davis -

Sketch by Alvin Hamilton

Sketch by Alvin Hamilton

Sketching and architecture go hand and hand. It is the first step in the design process and something every designer should do. Like many professions, you do not jump into a project without any planning or thought. You have to think through it first. Thinking is directly correlated to drawing. Thinking can begin with nothing more than a simple sketch that later is developed into something more.


Take Frank Gehry,  a brilliant and well known architect. Each of his major projects begins with a sketch. This evanescent, abstract drawing is then turned into tangible, three-dimensional forms & models. Then he goes back and forth from sketching to model making again-and-again; studying the two to see how it works, how it fits into the environment and how it will function. The way he is able to bring a sketch to life is poetic.


Frank Gehry, Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris France. From sketch to model to final building.


With the advancement of technology, architecture has moved into the digital world. However, sketching will always remain an important part of the design and development process. She personally do not believe that architects should solely rely on the design methods of a computer. While agreeing that these digital tools certainly make our jobs easy and more productive, there is something liberating about the process of exploring an idea with ink and paper. Furthermore, it is harder to master a drawing digitally before mastering it manually. Even with these new tools, as long as we are architects, we will sketch.


Sketch by Nakaya Davis

Sketch by Nakaya Davis

Sketching is much more than a scribble on a piece of paper. It is a powerful process that aids in discovering the best ideas and solutions to a design problem. Architectural sketches are all about communicating ideas, whether it is solving initial design problems or working through ideas and details. It helps to convey ideas, demonstrate functionality, visualize user flow, and illustrate anything that requires interaction. It assists in discovering potential issues and solutions early on. Not only that, sketching pushes to extract numerous ideas out quickly before you enter into the digital world. It also explores and explains design concepts and will always be a beneficial tool for architects to use.



Saves time in the workflow process

Helps eliminate layout and functionality issues

Great for brainstorming

Anyone can sketch


Sketching has always been one of the profession’s core skills. It should still remain that way because some of the best ideas start with a sketch. No matter the advancement of technology that will come in the future, she believes that architect’s should sketch!



Guest Blogger

Nakaya Davis  joined the [design][build] by architects team as an architectural designer in late October 2017, becaming our first employee in our Rockford studio.  She is a recent graduate from Judson University with her Bachelors in Architecture.  After graduating last May, she worked for a small architecture firm where she developed experience in residential architecture.  Nakaya is excited to be back in Rockford and to develop her training in all levels of design and construction.