Stage 1 can account for up to 40% or 50% of a reconstruction project, depending on the size of the final product. This stage involves initial research and collection of data leading to the creation of a layered 3-dimensional (isometric) wire-frame model representation of the elements of the site or monument using CAD software.
Initial research may be of several types: participation in individual or round-table discussions with historians, archaeologists and conservation architects involved in a project; study of historical, architectural and archaeological information supplied by the client, followed by the development of a timeline for the development of the building or site if appropriate; independent research on the architecture and history of the building or site, or analogues (a personal library is available for this purpose).
Often this stage involves the recreation of a plan or plans of the building or site beyond what is currently preserved or known in order to be able to produce a complete drawing. Depending on the complexity of the drawing, the client may be consulted at this stage to pass judgement on such plans and initial sketched ideas for the composition of the proposed drawing.
Co-ordinates of plans and elevations of the building or site are then entered into a CAD package. Where more than one drawing of a site has been commissioned, all the elements are included on multiple layers in one CAD drawing file. To the wire-frame buildings are added elements representing the general geography of the surrounding area that might appear in the final drawing including any significant variations in the elevation of a site. Interior detail is defined where cutaway views are required.
The resulting wire-frames enable the site to be manipulated in 3-dimensional space, facilitating selection of the optimal viewpoint for the final drawing, but especially for multiple viewpoints that will show different combinations of features that face in different directions. They also allow for a high level of accuracy in the continuity of details between serial drawings, and the wire-frame becomes a potentially invaluable resource for further work at some future date.
The client will be consulted on the choice of a final viewpoint towards the end of this stage, particularly where the site is complex or where significant conjectural features will be included in the final drawing.