Original sketch of Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater home built for the Edgar and Liliane Kaufmann family.
Architecture principles from centuries-old classical architecture, 19th & 20th century manufacturing/engineering, and modern enterprise architecture can be applied to model railroading.
Concept drawing by John Allen of his planned HO scale Gorre & Daphetid RR.
"Far from being boring, conceiving an idea and planning it in detail is probably the number one enjoyment of the hobby for me. The interrelationships between requirements and the potential advantages of various solutions give me great mental stimulus and a great feeling of satisfaction when the problem is solved well." - John Allen.
Architecture is both an art and a science that explicitly shows the relationship between things. We are not just building one thing. We are building many different things and tying them together in an operating ecosystem.
The Planning stage of a model railroad is about defining its scope, basic requirements, constraints and concept models that represent the owner's vision.
Designing is about taking the constraints of the concept and bringing it closer to reality by drawing "blueprints" that can be specific enough to start construction.
My concept was a mountain railroad with lots of tunnels and bridges, as well as a decent sized city, set in the steam-diesel transition era. A selectively compressed version of the G.D., with the Town of Pine Ridge, suited my vision.
Building is about constructing what you have planned and designed. The more accurate your design, the more smoothly and easily this stage will go. You needn't over design, but under designing can be a disaster during construction. You will learn, and make some changes, as you go. It's important to update your designs (blueprints) with any impacted changes, and maybe even your concepts.
Dave Gorelle's GD #40 2-8-2 and Tom's Ft. Dodge, Des Moines & Southern #405 GE-70T.
Model railroaders do not need a "certificate of occupancy" in order to start operations. The architecture Plan-Design-Build phases are concurrent engineering processes and operating at same time -- just like an enterprise.