One of the better-known architectural aphorisms of the twentieth century is Le Corbusier’s “The plan is the generator.” Employed throughout the design process from the earliest conceptual stage, the plan view has inherent characteristics both positive and negative which can color, alter, and control the designer’s perceptions of form and space. However, although ostensibly plan drawings are a simple and direct means of depiction, familiarity with their conventions can conceal their inherent abstraction.
Consider for a moment what a plan view of a building really represents: a building, generally an imaginary one, shorn off above a floor plane (usually at a height of three feet above ground level), as seen from above (but simultaneously above any given point), and projected onto a flat sheet of paper. Although this is an extreme description, it illustrates that plans are in fact an abstraction which occur in a medium impossible to experience in the built world.
So what exactly Plan is? Whether it is planning a weekend or we actually talking about a plan of a house or building. Plan individual cannot explain the overall details of the building as there are many problems with the building plan. Before undeerstanding the actual meaning of what plan of a building is, you have to go through what Poche and Figure ground drawings are.
Poché and the Figure Ground
The figure ground drawing is an invaluable tool for the designer, and poché (that is, the technique of coloring or filling in between lines) is the means by which such drawings are accomplished. Its enabling the viewer to clearly discriminate built, solid form from unbuilt void is the value of this drawing type, and its use instead of simple line drawings can have a powerful impact upon the designs produced.
Initially, one might expect that the shapes of wall, piers, and columns should appear as black “figures” against the white “ground” of the paper. However, the traditional use of poché and the figure ground is in fact the opposite, whereby the built solid as “ground” is configured around the unbuilt void, which will be contained and perceived as “figure.” The notion of space as “figural volumes” has been widely used in the past, and it is only in this century that designers have neglected its use as a principal design model.
Figure Ground in Urban Design
Figure ground drawings are perhaps most typically employed in urban design projects, allowing the designer to perceive the shapes of buildings clearly and, as importantly, the resultant configurations of streets, squares, courtyards, and spaces that constitute the city.
To situate new buildings with sensitivity, to design volumes of space in an existing context, or indeed to undertake any kind of urban design scheme, a figure ground plan of the existing context is highly desirable. Several different types of figure-ground configurations are available for these kinds of design problems.
Contextual Figure Grounds
Contextual urban plans are often handled as figure grounds and are best used when the area under design consideration has many existing buildings and connections to the city fabric. These drawings should generally be prepared early in the design process so that they can be used when initial concepts are being developed. Producing sketches as tracing overlays on a contextual figure ground can, have a powerful effect on the kind of schemes developed.
Basic building configurations can be studied effectively in a contextual figure ground drawing, especially when the project is sited in an urban context. Shape, setbacks, building thickness, contextual fit, and spatial formations can be seen dearly when drawn with high contrast. Scales are generally chosen that allow a large portion of the surrounding area to be seen.
Furthermore, smaller drawings are faster in execution, which should encourage multiple iterations early in the design stage. When designing a site plan that shows a broader context, concepts and possibilities often become apparent which would otherwise be lost if the building were studied in abstract isolation.
It is sometimes useful to give the context one tone and the design itself a darker one, perhaps in double hatching or in black. This technique not only shows the basic building outline but allows courtyards, atria, or major interior spaces to be left in white, giving them a prominent quality in they drawing.
Reverse Figure Grounds
Reverse figure ground drawings are sometimes used by designers, where the built form is represented in white and resultant spaces receive poché in black or dark tone. This drawing type is generally employed in urban designs because it is felt that the spaces, receiving the dark emphasis usually reserved for built form, are perceived more intensely and as such receive more design attention than in traditionally rendered drawings.
Typically, architects work by making dark marks on a white sheet. This process can lead to the idea that the things drawn, the “dark marks” (usually built solids), are hierarchically the most important, and the resultant spaces are secondary. The reverse figure ground can be used in the design process to change this perception so that volumes of space are drawn as figures and the built solids are left as residual. This provides an alternative viewpoint by re-emphasizing the spatial content of the design problem.
Entourage drawings are in some ways similar to reverse figure grounds. The term entourage refers primarily to landscape elements, paving texture, vegetation, and architectural features which can be drawn so as to produce an overall tone on the ground plane, leaving building shapes in white. Shadows are often used to enhance the effect. This manner of drawing has some of the advantages of the reverse figure ground but usually takes much more time to prepare. It is therefore used more often in the later, more detailed stages of the design process and can become an effective device in the final presentation of the completed scheme.
Study of Public Space
When a point in the design process has been reached where the basic configuration of interior spaces has been determined, it is sometimes useful to hatch (or poché) the minor or service spaces of a building to enable major public spaces to emerge as dominant figures. In a design for a major hotel, for example, kitchens, storage and service areas, and other private rooms would receive poché. The lobby, atrium, banquet hall, and other important public spaces would then remain white, in the way streets and squares in an urban figure ground would be presented. In this way, their shapes and interconnections can be studied further without the visual distraction of the secondary spaces.
Use of Mosaique
Mosaique was a term used at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, referring to the design and rendering of the ground floor plane in a way that allows built solids to remain white, while toned floor planes recede in depth. Although these kinds of drawings can sometimes be used for sketch designing, they generally take so long to complete that they are more typically used in presentation work. The pattern of stone, brick, or the (hence mosaique) joints can also be correlated to a reflected ceiling plan, allowing the designer a broader range of information with which to work on the various surfaces of the design.
Different Types of Architectural Plans
Thre are mainly four types fo Architectural Plans which are explained in detail below. Till now you must be clear with what is building plan or what exactly Plan of a building is. You can read different types of plans and know the exact use of these types of architectural plans.
Reflected Ceiling Plans
A reflected ceiling plan is a drawing type which records all information concerning a building’s ceiling as if seen in a continuously mirrored floor. Any patterns, textures, or materials can be drawn and studied in direct conjunction with the development of the plan, which enables the latter to describe volumes of space rather than simply flat planes.
Although not a technique which is widely used in the design of modern buildings, the reflected ceiling plan (in conjunction with the plan and section) is an excellent tool which can be used to shape and form rooms and provide an internal consistency between all of their surfaces.
Typically, dotted lines are used to represent elements above the picture plane, although lightly drawn lines can also be used. At one time, in fact, it was an accepted convention for the shapes of the ceiling plane to be mirrored as literal floor pavement. Tile, brick, and stone joints would describe the vaults, domes, coffers, and beams overhead, helping the plan to become a truly spatial design device.
Composite plan types are plans which are combined with other drawing conventions to provide multiple combinations of information. The plan perspective is a good example of this technique. Usually, the plan is used as a base drawing from which a one-point bird’s-eye perspective is constructed, placing the vanishing point in the space of most importance.
These drawings are very useful for purposes of presentation, allowing rooms to be viewed as literal volumes while enabling all their wall surfaces to be seen in conjunction with the plan. Although they sound complicated, plan perspectives are useful in presenting ideas to a lay audience, where the composite arrangement of information can be more comprehensible than in traditional drawing types.
Variations in the plan perspective include varying the eye level, causing a slightly elevated viewpoint as if the building were under construction. Frank Lloyd Wright made use of this technique while designing, although the severe distortion and construction difficulties which can arise in their drafting tends to limit their use in the design process.
Pre-nineteenth-century cartographers and architectural engravers developed the interesting convention of adding to site plans certain elements drawn in oblique (paraline). While a principal building may be drawn in true plan, entourage (trees, hedges, other landscape elements) could be drawn in oblique view, seeming almost to “stand up” from the plan in the third dimension.
Conversely in some site plans, major buildings can be found drawn in oblique, while minor elements remain in true plan. The results achieved with this technique seem sometimes “naive” in character, resembling the true plan, true-elevation nature of medieval depiction. However, this remains a technique not to be overlooked. It allows designers to quickly transform flat site plans into communicative, spatial drawings, or helps the viewer focus upon the more important information drawn in oblique.
Plan obliques are also useful in showing rooms as volumes of space, and they are easier and quicker to prepare than perspectives. A true plan is used, and then rooms are “dropped down.” Doors, windows, and other vertical elements can then be drawn and developed in conjunction with the plan.
Exploded plans show the individual floors of a building in a single graphic image. Typically, they are drawn as if the various levels of a building were hovering one above the other, while dotted lines are used to connect the corners and clarify their interrelationships. One advantage of this type of drawing is that the entire organization of a building can be seen at once, which can encourage a designer to develop unity and connections between different floor levels.