Architectural Drawings

What is architectural drawing? Architectural drawing is simply the technical drawing of a house, a building or any kind of structure. Technical drawings are graphic representations such as lines and symbols that follow specific conventions of scale and projection. They are used in architecture, construction, engineering, or mapping. In other words they are a set of sketches, diagrams, and plans, used to design, construct, and document buildings. It's a schematic representation of a building.

Architects, for instance, use architectural drawing to convey and develop a design idea into a coherent proposal. Also, they use it to communicate ideas and concepts. They may use them to indicate the overall appearance, inside or outside the building. Or they may be used to highlight the precise measurements for construction. These drawings  are usually issued as a set, with different sheets indicating different types of construction such as electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.

Architectural drawing is extremely important in the architecture field as there is no other ways, for example, to convince clients of the merits of a design other than a clear architectural drawing. How else can contractor build bridges, highways, or houses without them? These drawings are frequently used to describe in details works projects.

Architectural drawings are drawn according to a set of drawings standards that include elevation, sections, cross section, site plan, floor plan etc.

Nowadays, the majority of drawings are created using CAD software such as Revit, AutoCAD, and ArchiCad.

Types of Drawings:

  • Engineering drawings
  • Architectural drawings
  • Technical drawings
  • As built drawings
  • Shop drawings

What is As-built drawing?

As-built drawings are those that made during the construction process; they reflect changes made during that stage, recording differences between the original design and the completed structure.

What are measured drawings?

Measured drawings are made after construction is completed in contrast to as-built drawings which are based on design drawings used during the construction process.

What is a shop drawing?

Shop drawings are not produced by architects. The architectural and engineering manufacturing business is a huge one. They always produce a lot of specifications for pre-fabricated components such as elevators, structural steel, trusses, pre-cast, cabinets, windows, appliances, etc.  These are called shop drawing

An example:

Let’s take a look at the process of producing a set of architectural drawing:

An architect is about to design a house, he will need to produce a set of building elements seen in true size, shape, and orientation as his work is the base drawings for other construction works such as electrical, plumping, engineering, and mechanical.

Architectural Drawings
  • An architect preparing the architectural drawings:
    • The Site Plan

First step: he will start by the site plan which is a view looking down at a building from above. He will create the site plan to illustrate the location and orientation on a plot land. He must also provide information about the site’s topography, landscaping utilities, and site work. It's also very importance for the architect to make a site plan to illustrates the existing natural & built features.

  • The Floor Plan

Second step: he will prepare the floor plan. Floor plans are actually the most important. They illustrate the horizontal dimensions of a building space. The floor plan conveys the thickness and construction of vertical walls, and columns that define these spaces. These floor plans are essential to define the spaces such as rooms & partition and its functional relationship. And also to illustrate places of openings like doors and windows, finishing and entrances. Also, to define utilities such as stairs, elevators, mechanical room, baths, stores. And not to mention the structural system such as R.C, steel, bearing walls, columns, and beams. Also, at this stage the thickness of exterior and interior walls will be decided.

Architectural Drawings Floor Plan


  • Building Sections:

In the third step; the architect will make building section drawings. Building section drawing is a vertical pane cut through a building. It is a drawing of interior & exterior partitions and roofs and ground floor in addition of interior elevations seen beyond the plane of cut.

The purpose of building section is to Illustrate building construction, and technical implementation such as precast & pre-stress. Also to show the types of slab; is it solid slab, hollow block, or just flat slab? Also, to show the building materials to be used such as block, stone, concrete, glass, etc. Moreover, it’s used to show the height of the building and levels. And again, for details, finishing, and measurements.

Architectural Drawings Sections

  • Building Elevations:

Building Elevations are views of a building’s exterior vertical surfaces that shows the finishing matrials, windows and doors, size & Heights of the buildings and its elemnts, shape of the building, materials of exterior surfaces, and measurements. Elevations are drawing of four main faces of a building: front,
rear, right, and left and are named north, south, east, and west.

  • Other Drawings:

Then there are the details which include assembly drawings, component drawings, structure, and fixing details.

For in depth details read this Special Report 1 by the The Hong Kong Polytechnic University