Young Architect Guide: Residential Construction Details

If there is one thing we all wish we learned more about during architecture school, it must be technical detailing. Many an architect has called for changes in the curriculum to include more “real-world” insights on how different building elements are put together on site. Greater knowledge in this area also benefits architects in other aspects of professional practice, such as project specifications — it’s a lot easier to select the right building-products and manufacturers when you know exactly what connection details you are after.

With architecture school offering highly varied levels of education on this subject, one design professional decided to create her own solution.

residential construction details

“During my early years in architecture, I spent many hours searching for details, desperate to understand the real nitty gritty details of construction,” explains Emma Walshaw, founder of First in Architecture and the creator of a comprehensive series of digital resources on construction detailing. “Good, reliable details are hard to find. They are out there — but there just isn’t time to trawl through books, guides and manufacturers websites in search of what you are looking for.”

2d and 3d details residential construction details

Meticulously composed by Walshaw with contributions from Adam Tomaszczyk and Johnathon Clous, Residential Construction Details contains hundreds of common details in both 2D and 3D. All are annotated and downloadable as DWG or SKP files. This allows readers to rotate and spin details around in SketchUp or Photoshop as they read the book, offering an interactive way to learning about architectural materials and the ways in which they are often connected.

2d and 3d details residential construction details

At the beginning of each section, Walshaw has included in-depth overviews of typical structural systems and construction principles that lend additional context to the details. Each drawing includes notes on materials and typical arrangements, as well as diagrams highlighting the position of key elements such as vapor barriers and insulation. The book has been written according to United States codes and construction standards.

Walshaw’s compendium of residential construction details looks like an essential resource for architecture students and young architects alike. It’s available via the First in Architecture website, together with a number of other detail drawing packages.