“I come to praise drafting and not to bury it.” Not exactly the reversal of a quote you may expect in a Shakespeare play, but appropriate for our context.
I was recently cleaning out my parent’s garage after my father passed away. There was a lot of “junk” that just never got thrown away as they moved from house to house along their 61 years of marriage. Mom wanted to go through it and just get rid of the stuff that Dad kept because she had no clue as to why he may have kept it.
We tossed old parts and pieces from projects around the house. We tossed old magazines that were read and kept for reference, but never gone back to (how many of us do this). We tossed or donated so much stuff that was just collecting dust. Many of the items were placed back on the shelves as they were mementos of days gone by that mom could not part with yet.
One of the things that we discovered was a box full of old building plans that dad had kept. My father was a contractor back in the 50’s and 60’s. He started at a young age as a manual laborer doing roofing and progressed on to start his own firm as a building contractor. He built many custom houses and apartment building (think mid-century modern) and he had kept a few of the plans that must have meant something to him. He did not draw the plans, but he built the designs that were conveyed on these now yellowed, cracked and faded prints.
I grew up looking at these plans. My dad taught me how to read them and what they meant. He showed me what each plan was depicting, how they complimented and supported other plans and how it all made sense to the builder. I would sit and review these plans trying to decipher what they meant and why they were needed. I created in me a love for good plans. I saw many plans that were good and many that were bad. These early memories were the beginnings of my long design related career. Seeing these plans again reminded me of the value embedded in those artisans from days gone by and the need for passing on expertise from one generation to another.
Over the next few posts I will present what I think needs to be passed from those that developed their skills on the drafting board to those who may have never used one. My conclusions are drawn from seeing the recent crop of those entering the job market with very adept technology skills but fewer skills at presenting a design in such a way that it is build-able.
And no – I did not use a drafting table like the one shown above – I am not THAT old