top of page

34 most essential tools for architecture students

Life in architecture school is different as compared to any other course. Being an architect or architecture student, we sketch, draft, think, imagine, create models, develop ideas, drink a lot of coffee, sleep-less, work more and also read and write. Our studios or classrooms and our work pattern are different, we need to have our own set of tools to get everything together. If you are about to start your architecture school then this list is for you, it is for all architecture students. The list has been segregated as per the needs required daily or for some activity and also 'must-have' and 'can have'.

This list consists of things that you will need throughout the architecture course. We will keep updating it as and when required. These tools will prepare you for your first studio.

'MUST HAVE' tools for architecture students


A must have tool for architecture student. A sketchbook is an Architect’s and Architecture student’s best friend. Our sketchbooks are the proof of our design process, we start thinking with a pencil and sketchbook. Sketchbook is the most important tool which you need to carry every day and everywhere.

2_Tracing paper

Tracing papers are daily used to design, sketch and develop ideas. Initial ideas are scribbled and worked out on tracing papers. Tracing Papers are used to create overlays and understand the different levels developed in the design.


A laptop is required for research, inspiration, ideas, and mainly for software programs for drafting, making 3D design models, and rendering. A laptop with all the required software programs is a must.

4_Earphone / Headphone

You will need earphones to focus on your work. It keeps you away from the unwanted distraction from the surrounding.

'DRAFTING' tools for architecture students


You need pencils to draft, sketch. Over the years you will explore different mediums to work with but pencils are always needed, Using different grades of pencil will enhance your sketches. Staedtler is a go to brand for architects and architecture students when it comes to pencils. Check Tips to sketch like an architect to get started.

6_Triangular scale

A triangular scale consists of 6 different scales so it is the handy tool in your studio.

7_Adjustable setsquare

Instead of carrying two different set squares you carry one adjustable set square, again a handy tool in your studio.

8_Scotch tape

You will need scotch tape to mask the corners of your drawing sheet and also to hold your models when you glue them. A must have tool when you are drafting in the studio.

9_Mechanical pencil

You need mechanical pencils to draft and sketch. In your architecture schooling years you will have that one pencil that is going to be with you forever as you develop a comfort with that particular pencil, until you find one try different pencils.


If you are sketching with a pencil, you obviously need an eraser. You wont use an eraser as much for sketching but mainly when you are drafting. Most needed in first year of your architecture school.

11_Lead pointer

A Sharp pencil gives you clean and crisp lines, which is needed for drafting and sketching, therefore you need a lead pointer.

12_Flexi curve

Architecture Design happens in all shapes and sizes and drafting them becomes easy with the Flexi curve, which is used when you have curves in your design.

13_Liner pens

Liner pens are used for different line weights required to sketch and draft the architectural drawings.

'STORAGE' tools for architecture students

14_Portfolio Bag

A portfolio bag to carry your huge architecture design drawing portfolios.

15_Storage Tube

Storage tube for regular use, to carry your architecture design development sheets, construction drawings or any other drawing sheets without any damage. This is a life saver and available at a low price.

'MODEL MAKING' tools for architecture students

16_Self healing cutting mat

Cutting mat is most important when you are making architecture design models. It has grid lines which help in the cutting process. Cutting mat protects the surface below and provides a non slippery surface to work on.

17_X-acto knife

X- Acto knife helps in cutting intricate details of the design. A must-have architecture model-making tool, This helps you in creating an architecture design model with neat and clean edges.

18_Steel scale

Steel scale is mainly used for architecture design model making. It provides precision and you need a metal scale to use with the cutter as drafting rulers would lose their clean edge with knife cuts.

19_Cut resistant gloves

Protect your fingers from your cutter and x-acto knife by using cut-resistant gloves.

20_Retractable cutter

You will experiment with different materials to develop your architecture design model. You need a cutter to cut through a cardboard or foam board.

'RENDERING / SKETCHING' tools for architecture students

21_Copic markers

Copic markers, select a few or have them all to render, they are a great alternatives for water colors.

22_Brush pens

Use it for your quick presentations, these are easy to use. Use them with caked colors, a quick and easy method to render. Quick design presentation needs such quick tool.

23_Color pencils

One of the rendering mediums for your architecture design that you should try. If you are not comfortable with the brush pens then these water color pencils are the best alternatives for water color. They are highly pigmented, smooth and very easy to blend.

24_Color cakes

Just like mentioned above water brush pens and color cakes are a best combination and a easy way to render your drawings. Presentation matters in architecture design so experiment with different rendering mediums and these tools save time and are handy for quick outputs.

25_Sign pens

Sign pens are best for free hand sketching, it is a liquid ink fine liner and provides smoothness. This is one of the best pens to sketch your initial architecture design ideas.

'SITE VISIT / DOCUMENTATION' tools for architecture students

26_Measuring tape

An Important tool on site visit to verify dimensions. Being an architecture student get used to carrying a measuring tape with you.


A camera is required to click site pictures for reference. Architecture design is usually developed based on the context so having site pictures for reference is important.

'CAN HAVE' tools for architecture students

28_Digital graphic drawing tablet

Digital graphic drawing tablet cuts short the process of drawing on paper , scanning, and then tracing on screen to simply drawing on screen. Being on screen it becomes easier to make changes. Architecture needs a lot of dedication and sometimes you will need more than 24 hours to work, such tools help you save those extra minutes and increase your productivity.

29_LED lightbox

LED Light box have multiple uses, mainly being for tracing your drawings, being an architecture student you will need this oftener.

30_Electric eraser

To easily erase the mistakes in the tiny details you add to your architecture design or construction drawings.

31_3D printer

3D printers takes your architecture design model making skills to a new level, just try experimenting with various forms.

32_Laser cutter and engraver

laser cutter to make wood or acrylic architecture design model.

33_Paper trimmer

Paper trimmer will be needed to trim your paper to the required size, to check the scale of your drawings or simply to compose.

34_Apple I-pad

An architecture student can use an Apple iPad to sketch amazing ideas.



Download PDF • 155KB

1 Comment

Unknown member
Jun 17, 2023

A must-have architecture model-making tool, This helps you in creating an architecture design model with neat and clean edges. AI in Architecture

bottom of page