Evolution of An Architectural Office

November 6, 2013

While perusing vintage photos of the original Dreyfuss + Blackford drafting room, we were struck by the changes over the years. Herewith, six decades of change in an Architectural workplace.


Mid – 1960’s and the drafting room was pristine. No paper, other than the drawing sheet you were laying pencil to; one black telephone, one ashtray, one roll of trace. This was the Modern Age – no more aprons, smocks or visors.


By the 1980’s, carpeting replaced lino for better sound control and half of the lights have been disconnected – perhaps all that cheap electricity turned out to be too much of a good thing. Drafting stations remain much the same, minus a few ashtrays. Standing racks of drawings allude to the increase in drawing complexity and quantity required to describe buildings.


The 1990’s brought the Information Age to architects. Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) meant a distinct department of technically proficient drafters (affectionately called Cad-dogs) separate from the old-school architects – who are still using pencils.


By 2010, the office is ‘fully automated.’ Indirect lighting is infinitely adjustable; all workstations revolve around a computer and most have two LCD monitors. Reference drawings are getting smaller in size (11X17 vs. 30X42) but multiplying in number. While sketch and trace paper is still used for brainstorming, everything is soon committed to computer-based files.


In 2014, the paperless office is still a distant dream for some of us. The more we commit to electrons for our work, the more we print paper records of these transactions, resulting in blizzard conditions.