The Perils of Wall Types in Architectural Graphics

Introduction Welcome back to Architectural Graphics 101! Today, we are delving into the intriguing yet perplexing world of wall types. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride through the complexities of architectural drawings. Don't worry, we'll...

Introduction

Welcome back to Architectural Graphics 101! Today, we are delving into the intriguing yet perplexing world of wall types. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride through the complexities of architectural drawings. Don't worry, we'll make it as enjoyable as possible!

Architectural Wall Type sketch by Bob Borson Image: Architectural Wall Type sketch by Bob Borson

The Wall-Type Conundrum

In our office, a heated debate rages on about the best approach to wall types. My way clashes with everyone else's way, resulting in a hybrid solution that falls short of perfection. This internal conflict prompted me to share my frustrations with you. Let's embark on this architectural journey together!

The Overwhelming Wall-Type Epidemic

Imagine having a residential project with a staggering 37 different wall types. Madness, right? This mind-boggling number spells trouble and suggests that something in the process has gone terribly awry. Take a look at this snippet from a construction drawing of a three-story, 13,500 square feet house:

Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Types shown in Plan Image: Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Types shown in Plan

Decoding Wall Types

In architectural drawings, walls are often represented by the space they occupy, rather than the individual components that make up the wall. For simpler walls, this approach suffices. However, complexities arise with more intricate walls. Keying the wall type becomes crucial to communicate the composition, thickness, and peculiarities of each wall. Here are a few examples:

Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Type Examples Image: Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Type Examples

The Frustrating Reality of Wall Tags

During my redlining process, I stumbled upon a confounding revelation. A single wall seemed to sport two wall tags simultaneously. What sorcery was this? Allow me to explain:

Each wall has a primary wall tag associated with it, denoted by a code such as 7A or 8A. For instance, 7A signifies a 2×4 wall with drywall on one side while 8A represents a 2×6 wall with drywall on one side. But wait, there's more! Additional wall tags, like 9A, can be added on top of the base tag, featuring layers like cementitious backer board, mortar, and tile.

Clear as mud, right? To simplify, think of the base wall tag as a plain burger and the additional tag as adding cheese. The result? A glorious cheeseburger wall!

Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Types shown in Plan (old style) Image: Architectural Graphics 101 Wall Types shown in Plan (old style)

The User-Friendly Predicament

While the "burger and cheese" method may be drafter-friendly, it poses challenges for contractors in the field. Expecting them to navigate multiple wall tags and mentally combine dimensions is a tall order.

Although our office strives to create "smart" drawings, loaded with data, we must balance this with effective communication to contractors. Unfortunately, the complexity of our wall tagging system often goes unnoticed by anyone but us architects. It's a headache-inducing conundrum.

A Quest for Improvement

Amidst this labyrinth of wall types, we refuse to settle for the status quo. Discussions about optimizing our drafting software and leveraging its flexibility abound. However, the lack of residential contractors who can fully comprehend and benefit from our Revit models poses a challenge. Yet, we persevere in our quest for progress.

Conclusion

I hope this deep dive into wall-type intricacies didn't disappoint you. While it may not have been the sexy post I promised, it provided invaluable insights into the trials and tribulations of architectural graphics. Remember, the desire for improvement drives us forward, even when faced with overwhelming wall types.

Cheers,

Author Image Author: Bob Borson

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