I thought I would put together an exhaustive list of the most essential architect supplies we use most often.
UPDATED: April 8, 2019.
The architecture profession has changed dramatically over the past several decades. Transitioning from primarily hand-drawing to today in which everything is almost exclusively drawn using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Management (BIM) software.
However, as things have changed many of the architect supplies have not. This list is in no particular order but includes drafting supplies, model making equipment, sketching instruments, drawing utensils and on site tools.
Here is my list of The Top 50 Most Essential Architect Supplies.
1. Architect's Scale
High-quality, black anodized aluminum scale. An essential tool for every architect.
2. Moleskine Classic Notebook
This reliable travel companion, perfect for sketches, thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket
3. Metal Architect Swing Arm LED Desk Lamp
Modern design, redefined, architect desk lamp
4. Handheld Laser Distance Meter
Perfect for accurately measuring rooms and building components.
5. Drawing Storage Tube
Keep your precious drawings safe and dry when taking to a meeting or storing.
6. Liner Pens
High quality pens for note taking or sketching.
7. Tracing Paper
High transparency permits several overlays while retaining legibility when sketching over drawings.
8. Self Healing Cutting Mat
The best mat for cutting and model making.
9. X-ACTO Knife Set
The must have tool for model building.
10. LED Light Box
Make tracing much easier with this compact light box.
11. Feet-inch-Fraction Calculator
A huge time saver for adding and subtracting fractional dimensions.
12. Adjustable Triangle
Draft any angle with this tool.
13. Engineer's Scale
Not to be confused with the Architect's Scale, the Engineer's Scale uses base 10 divisions instead of fractional - depends on the drawing discipline.
14. Easy Cutter
The perfect tool for cutting bass and balsa wood for model making.
15. Technical Mechanical Pencil
The go-to drafting pencil.
16. Rotary Action Lead Pointer
Keep your mechanical pencil on point with this sharpener.
17. Small Mitre Box Kit
Perfect for cutting small scale wood pieces for your models.
18. 3M Super 77 Spray Glue
The best glue for attaching paper or card for presentation boards or models.
19. Gel Super Glue
The best, fastest-drying glue for making models.
20. Metal Rulers
Essential when cutting a straight line. Plastic or wood rulers can't stand up to a knife.
21. Mini L-Square
Perfect for cutting small model components.
22. Drafting Brush
Keep your drawings clean with this handy brush.
23. Electric Eraser
If you happen to make a mistake, this will make it as painless as possible to reverse.
24. 3D Printer
Take your model making skills to a whole new level. Create limitless forms and geometries.
25. Laser Cutter and Engraver
Cut through up to 3mm wood or acrylic in any shape imaginable.
26. Clear Ruler with Metal Edge
Great for model making. See what you are doing while cutting along a metal edge.
27. Cut Resistant Gloves
Save your fingers from a meeting with your Exacto knife when model making.
28. Architectural Graphic Standards
The must-have resource for every architect.
29. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
I use these every day. A must-have for any architect or architecture student to avoid distractions at work or in studio.
30. iPad Pro
Sketch your ideas with the revolutionary stylus.
31. 48" Metal Ruler
Keep your fingers safe when cutting large sheets of material.
32. 12" Paper Trimmer
Perfect for trimming small scale drawings.
33. 43" Paper Trimmer
A huge time saver when trimming large scale drawings.
34. Measuring Tape
Essential tool for any architect verifying dimensions on site.
35. Drawing Set
Contains two bow compasses, a divider, an extension beam, ink bow attachments, and a slip handle for ruling pens.
36. French Curve Set
Get outside of the straight line box when drafting.
37. Circles Template
Large and small circles drafting template.
38. Retractable Knife
Use for thicker model materials like foam board and cardboard.
39. Graph Paper
Not just for engineers, layout designs and sketches.
40. Drafting Board
Perhaps the most "architect" thing on this list. The must have tool for hand drafting.
42. Electric Foam Cutter
Great tool for cutting foam for quick massing models.
43. Drafting Dots
Keep your sketch paper in place with these drafting dots.
44. Professional Drafting Dry Cleaning Pads
Use this to prevent smudging on your sketches or hand drawings.
45. Stainless Steel Erasing Shield
Erase only what you want and keep the rest.
46. Modeling Clay
You are only limited by your imagination with this model making material.
47. Scale Figures
Give your models a human touch. Different scales available.
48. Drafting Chair
Stay comfortable while drafting.
49. Architect Lamp
The classic architect lamp design.
50. Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is THE resource for architects creating or editing images.
I hope this list of the most essential architect supplies has been helpful. If I left one out that you think is important, let me know in the comments below.
Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.