From templates to AutoCAD blocks -and back –

Drawing in architecture has always required a continuous adaptation to technological evolution, changing tools and techniques in favor of a faster and effective representation. This has greatly influenced the evolution of architectural projects and industrial design, facilitating the construction processes and optimizing resources. Not surprisingly, today’s architects have developed totally different skills than yesterday’s ones. But which are the big changes?

Rewinding to the seventies, we would find the architects’ tables covered entirely with papers, pencils of different shades, squares of various shapes – T, L and others with different angles of inclination – and, of course, the essential templates. Those, in fact, played a key role in facilitating the architects’ lives.

Templates are plastic supports – also made in resistant cardboard – cut with various geometries. You could find templates made to represent the simplest spatial details to the most complex spaces, allowing you to draw from furniture elements to the most complex screenwalls frames. That’s why we can consider them the progenitors of the AutoCAD blocks, and as an essential tool for handrawing complex geometries with precision and speed. In SAS historical archives, we found a number of templates that architects used to ask us for. The variety of models reflects the continuous market trends; and without doubts, the most requested were those of our balusters and screenwalls. Our printed templates always included different models and scales in order to be easily overlapped and verified directly on the project papers. Those templates were surely the contemporary Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V from today!

In 1982 the first version of AutoCAD was launched on the market and it affected dramatically the life of architects, graphic and industrial designers. This step represented only the beginning of a transformation process. Slowly, architects changed their habits, starting with their working spaces, where large drawing tables were no longer necessary. This obviously also had an impact on rhythms and typologies of representation. The architect’s life changed completely with AutoCAD. The program allowed for the first time to correct errors without scratching the ink from the paper, making cuts and pasting paper masks, using Tipp-Ex or other Machiavellian inventions. A simple Ctrl+Z allowed you – and luckily still does – to go back in time for erasing the wrong command.

But did the lifestyle of architects really improve? Is it true that computer aided design software has radically changed our way of working?

The innovations introduced more than 30 years ago by AutoCAD have been increasing and being implemented exponentially. The representation tools that contemporary architects can use are far away from those used by our mentors. If you have to replicate the same design or geometry, the Copy+Paste command allows you to multiply it to infinity. And if you need a specific product, you do not need to redraw it because AutoCAD blocks are easily downloadable online, even the newest and most complex ones!. If you are looking for any of our products for your own projects, you can easily find them in our online catalog. There you will find its digital version, waiting for you to download it and see how they perfectly integrate into your projects.

But this speed, ease of reproduction and correction has a price. The AutoCAD virtual space does not have real dimensions and the continuous zoom in and zoom out – that allows us to get closer to the project – easily make us loose the real scale of things, the control of dimensions and the sense of proportions. This loss of scale has generated many currents of thought that debate on the subject. Getting some people to prefer real models to virtual ones, and others who prefer hand drawings to dwg files. How do you usually work?

At SAS, we are perfectly conscious that technology advances are incredible and that digital drawing advantages are incalculable. But sometimes, we recognize that it is necessary to go back to a smaller scale, where materials allow us to understand dimensions and proportions. This is why we keep producing sample catalogues, with which our customers can touch materials, and at the same time they can check them in our constantly updated online catalogue. It is always easier to check our new products and to watch images and videos of their installation. Technology helps our customers discover and compare our products!

Are you curious about our templates and do you want to know more? Well, at SAS we know how to make it easy for you! We thought to recover the templates of the most famous SAS models, which we used to send to our customers, and reintroduce them into our daily lives. As with architectural models, the templates allow us to be aware of dimensions, comparing different scales and geometries. As architects or designers, we love to play with space, and thanks to these templates you can try to overlap a scaled template on a project, either putting it on a printed plane or overlapping it to your computer screen.

The new SAS templates aim to stimulate the imagination of new architects generations who never used a similar tool and, at the same time, to bring back precious memories to the not so new ones, who studied and worked with them their entire life.

To print them again means looking back at our past and to find the spirit of collaboration and reinvention that always characterized us. Our re-edited templates want to restore an aesthetic that goes from the most classic prints of pop art and fashion, to the latest contemporary graphic design.

Either you love hand drawing or feel slightly more innovative, ask us your SAS template through our contact form and we will send it to your place! Once you will try it, you will never be able to give it away!