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Architectural Graphics 101 – Title Blocks

Architectural Graphics 101 – Title Blocks: Architectural Graphics appears to pique the interest of nearly everyone who hears about them, if only to peruse them for the sake of comparison. Architectural Graphics 101 was dormant for a long time, but it has now risen from the ashes like the mythical bird. It’s been far too long since my previous piece on architectural graphics, much like the last time I ate a steaming bowl of Wolf brand chilli.

Architectural Graphics 101 – Title Blocks

Bob Borson teaches a primer on architectural title blocks.

To set the tone for our first meeting, I’ve borrowed a title block from my current workplace (BOKA Powell). As is well known, no one at my current workplace cares what I think about the layout of our designs. Nobody has asked, and I haven’t offered anything… With the exception of pen weight and arrowheads, the existing drawing norms are mostly consistent with my own thoughts on the subject. After years of being chastised for using chisel typefaces, I’ve finally decided to abandon them (for now).

This title block is complete in every way that a drawing should be complete, but you might not realise it. I’ll also spend some time explaining how the pictures are assigned sequential numbers (i.e. the individual drawings on the sheet).

 

Bob Borson’s Architecture Title Blocks: An Introduction to Architectural Drawing

I’ll divide this topic into many shorter sections for Architectural Graphics 101, some of which I’ve covered briefly before but need to go over again. The first thing to notice is the illustration page numbering system. Most architectural sheets contain numerous drawings, and they are usually labelled with individual numbers to make it easier to locate a specific design at another site. Detail 01 “Plan Detail,” for example, is located in the lower right corner of the sheet, but in another part of the set, I would refer to it as “o1/A2.82,” which not only specifies the detail number but also the page on which it can be found.

You can see in the image above that I’ve included some guidelines to indicate that the various drawings are, for the most part, aligned with one another; this is only for aesthetic purposes, as it helps to keep the drawing looking neat and tidy. It’s critical to discuss the naming conventions for these blueprints; for example, why is detail 04 located where it is?

 

Bob Borson’s Architecture Title Blocks: An Introduction to Architectural Drawing

The drawing numbers should, in my opinion, begin in the lower right corner of the page and progress vertically until they reach the top of the page, at which point they should reverse direction and begin at the bottom of the page (or, more precisely, one column over).

Why?

Some may believe that, as with reading a book or any other text, they should start at the top left, work their way clockwise across the page to the right, and then move down a row to the next section (much like how you are reading this sentence). I realise that some of what I’m about to say may seem dated, but there are times when I prefer the tried and true. Because most printed drawing sets are stapled along the left margin, it’s easier to fill out the sheet on the right side of the staples so you can quickly flip to drawing 04 in the corner. You can partially open the page by numbering vertically from the right.

This may not be as important as it once was because we print out sheets less frequently, but I frequently see contractors use full-size sets while working.

 

Bob Borson’s Architecture Title Blocks: An Introduction to Architectural Drawing

Let’s talk about what goes into a title block now. No matter who created the title block or how old it is, the same six elements are always present. A case with fewer than five of these characteristics is possible, but it is as unlikely as finding a leprechaun sitting on a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Let’s start with the only one from my current workplace, BOKA Powell, that has been color-code.

Every title block has a small section at the bottom labelled “Sheet Information,” which usually provides data that is specific to that sheet rather than the entire set. The page number (A2.82 in this example; I won’t go into the numbering scheme in detail here) is required information and may be the most important part of the title block. The second most important piece of information is the date printed on the page, which differs from the dates discussed in the following section. Consider this day to be the day you were born, rather than any of the historic issue dates. Once set, this date is final and cannot be change.

 

Labels in the title block – Information on a Drawing Problem (Architectural Graphics 101 by Bob Borson)

The details of the drawing problem are display just above the sheet data. These dates apply to the entire collection rather than any individual artwork. City Comments, Issued for Permitting, and Issued for Construction are all common notations. Important release dates for sets are list below.

 

There is some legalese that creeps in here and there, and it goes something like this:

The drawings and text contain here in are the architect’s original work and, as such, his or her intellectual property and instruments of service, which means they are copyright protect and may not be copy, distribut, publish, or use in any way without his or her prior write consent.

or, in essence, the same thing

Project Information: Title Block Labels (Architectural Graphics 101 by Bob Borson)

Project Data, as far as I’m aware, is always the name and location of the project on my sets. There’s nothing mysterious about this.

 

Title Block Labels for Project Team Information (Architectural Graphics 101 by Bob Borson)

This section varies greatly between project title blocks. There are all of the companies and contact information for the consultants who contributed to the BOKA Powell sets. Structure and MEP engineers, landscape architects, acousticians, civil engineers, and contact information for the owner are all listed.

Architectural Graphics 101 – Title Blocks

Architectonic Appendix: Title Block Labels (Architectural Graphics 101 by Bob Borson)

If there is no seal, it is not genuine. Before submitting a project for evaluation, do some research and become acquainted with the applicable regulations in the city or town.

Logo placement in the header block (Architectural Graphics 101 by Bob Borson)

The most entertaining aspect of title blocks are the company logos. So, have fun and enjoy yourself to the fullest.

I thought it might be useful to include another example in this “Architectural Graphics 101” piece, so here’s a title block from my previous job for you to look over. I’ve color-coded everything again to make comparison easier; a quick glance reveals that, with one exception, the contents of the two title blocks are identical.

 

Bob Borson’s Architecture Title Blocks: An Introduction to Architectural Drawing

The sketches all follow the same pattern, starting in the lower right corner and progressing vertically until they reach the top, then returning to the lower left corner and traversing a row. These wall sections show what happens when a single image takes up the entire page height; the accompanying drawings simply shift to the next column.

The only thing missing from the title block is the project’s location. In my opinion, there is no need to have that on every page. This information is clearly display on my cover page (including the name, phone number, and email address of the person responsible for each company). The only real difference, in my opinion, is how simple the former is in comparison to the latter.

However, I’ve gone above and beyond to include a third illustration. I’ve shown you title blocks from large and medium-to-small businesses; now let’s look at one from a sole practitioner. For comparison, I contacted my friend Eric Reinholdt of 3040 Design Workshop and asked him to create a title block for me.

 

Eric Reinholdt created this title block as an example.

I’ll skip over that section of the discussion because Eric’s page only has one drawing and no corresponding number. With the exception of adding a North arrow, Eric’s title block contains the same five pieces of information as the one in my previous office.

 

If you like Eric’s method and want to use it, he has made his template available, which can be find here.

Do you now agree that title blocks generally follow the same format across the board? Perhaps I’m mistake, but I don’t find it particularly interesting. I have the title block of a design by Marcel Breuer, but I would rather not post it here without the permission of his foundation. Please let me know if you find any errors or omissions, and please feel free to post your own title block in the comments if you so desire. I’ll post it, but it’ll be mark as an attachment on my site, and I’ll have to manually remove it from the comment moderation system.

Because title blocks are so important to the overall design, I’ve decided to highlight them as I bring back the Architectural Graphics 101 series. Unfortunately, most architects do not give the title block any further thought or take the time to personalise it in a way that reflects their own design philosophy after it has been install. As a self-avowed architecture buff, I’ve always had an odd and increasingly obvious desire to redesign my own title block.

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