Skip to content

Did you know that Phillips Exeter Academy Library is a library that serves Phillips Exeter Academy Deciding to construct a library with a contemporary design, the school gave the commission to Louis Kahn in 1965, where Kahn structured the library in three concentric square rings. The outer ring, which is built of load-bearing brick, includes all four exterior walls and the library carrel desks immediately inside them. The middle ring, which is built of reinforced concrete, holds the heavy book stacks. The inner ring is a dramatic atrium with enormous circular openings in its walls that reveal several floors of book stacks. *Source Wikipedia

You may see different Exeter Library representation methods, and we just wanted to do something a little bit different using mostly Illustrator and a little bit of photoshop. Check out the video tutorial here or get access to the complete video and file here. 

Final image


We started looking for inspiration, we were not going to create something new, so pinterest works to get inspired. We wanted to do something different, we wanted a very clean site plan. 

We found this reference, with interest patterns, texture and monochromatic look. 

3D Model

This is one of the best 3D model we have downloaded, this model was done by a Professor in a team of academic peers, Edson Mahfuz. You can visit their webpage here.

So we had the model in sketchup, we saw that it was very detailed, we barely did anything. We just adjusted the parallel top view, we also wanted to see the building and the surrounding buildings. We only left the building to have 7 floors, to see the detailed site plan. 

Cleaning site plan in Illustrator

We imported the pdf file into illustrator, we wanted to clean the model because the line’s widths are too heavy. We did it line by line and we changed the stroke. 

There is also a way that you can do it all together, and decide how you want to change the stroke to a .25.

We started changing the intensity of the furniture, we also reduced the line width. 

Adding patterns

After doing this, we started adding patterns. So we wanted to add patterns to the vegetation. To the grass, the trees. Using the pen tool (P), when we selected the area, then we close the shape, then in appearance, we choose fill, we have all of the pattern options. 

TIP* If the patterns do not appear, go to the color library and you will see the pattern library. 


We used the google earth image to have it as a reference, we left it behind the site plan model with low transparency, so we can be precise on where the vegetation was. 

Since we didn’t outline the patterns, we outlined the pedestrian paths.We didn’t want to emphasize the path. 

Wall fill

We wanted to fill the walls into a solid color, we wanted for them to stand out from the rest of the site plan. With the pen tool, we selected the walls, this was easy because since it is a very symmetrical building we just did one and we duplicated it, we rotated, flipped it to match the other corners. 


The trees were one of the elements that gave importance to this site plan. These trees were going to make a contrast between the regular geometry, they were going to be organic. We made this the same way that we did the grass, we used the pen tool (P), we added a different pattern, we avoided a dense pattern. 


We then found a cad website in this article, where we downloaded a car, it was free. We imported the car into illustrator, we copied, pasted it, and scale it. 

Shadows in Photoshop

We wanted to add manually the shadows in photoshop, we know that we could’ve done this in Sketchup, but we wanted to use photoshop haha. So with the lasso tool, we created the exact shadows, used an off-black, greyish color, and used the multiply mode so we could see the details behind. 

Paper texture

We downloaded a paper texture, overlaid it, and also used the multiply blend mode, so we could see the lines, the details. 

Night mode

There are so many options you can do with the site plan. So we created two versions. Light color plan and a dark night mode plan. For the night mode plan, we created a mask of the floor plan, we then set the blend mode to exclusion, it changed the values, it made the values opposite, so white to dark. We really liked the result. 

Final result

Did you like how we created this Exeter Library Site plan? Look at the video tutorial below! Also, get access to the complete 3-hour long video here.

You may also like

Other Categories