Designing Castles without Plans


Ben and I were reading about Castles in the Middle Ages yesterday, and we decided to try to find a YouTube video of some of the greatest castles in the world. Sadly, we didn’t find what we were looking for. We found some with music, and some that were about haunted castles, we watched part of one about The Castle of Fear, but the video quality was so bad, we started getting headaches.

Then we found one about re-building a dream castle. The story was of a man who, as a young boy, had discovered this castle while playing in the woods, and he believed he was the only one who knew about it. He played there as a boy, and his dreams of owning it and living in it inspired him to achieve great things. He now has come back after making money as a musician and actor, and he’s bought the thing. He has grand ideas about revitalizing it and living in it.

The downside of this grand idea, is that he believes he can do it without a design – no drawings. So every mistake is a hugely costly one. I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing to be watching this, because Ben sometimes thinks he can do big projects without a design.

It could have been the most brilliant thing we’ve ever done.

In just under an hour, we saw a really nice, interesting, passionate guy, with a huge dream, go through wads of money, lose his engineer and his workers, because he kept changing his mind about things, and in the end, he wasn’t able to finish the project.

But, by the end of the show, he had found someone he trusted with his vision, and he finally was beginning to work with a set of plans and drawings. He realized, and he hated to agree with the host of the show, that if you don’t like something in a drawing, you can crumple it up and throw it away. It is much more cost-effective than scrubbing bricks and mortar.

As we went to pick up Bean from Kindergarten, Ben was starting an elaborate drawing of the grand castle staircase from the show. He may have learned something from this that no amount of me telling him to start with a plan could have taught him.

Today, I want to follow-up on this idea with a quick, five-minute tutorial on How to Design like an Architect, which looks fantastic. Another follow-up will be, 8 Design Projects done in less than a minute each.

Picture of architectural drawing from Morguefile Free Photos

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