Architectural Drawings

Architectural Drawings: What is meant by architectural drawings?

What is architectural drawing? Architectural drawing is simply the technical drawing of a house, a building, or any kind of structure.
Architectural drawings free course
Architectural Drawings

Architectural drawings serve as a vital language in the realm of architecture, encapsulating detailed visual representations of a building's design, structure, and spatial arrangements. These drawings translate an architect's conceptual ideas into precise, technical illustrations that communicate the exact specifications and details necessary for constructing a building or structure. They encompass various types, including plans, elevations, sections, and details, offering a comprehensive view of the proposed edifice from different perspectives. These drawings serve as a blueprint for construction teams, guiding them in materializing the architect's vision into a tangible, functional space.

  1. What are construction documents, and what is an architectural set?
  2. What is included in a design development phase?
  3. What is the main use of architectural drawings?
  4. The importance of architectural drawing at construction phase
  5. The importance of architectural drawing for permitting agencies and inspectors:
  6. What are the two basic types of architectural drawing?
  7. What is included in a set of architectural drawings?
  8. What are the six types of architectural drawings?
  9. What are the six types of construction drawings?
  10. Whole project working drawings: what are the three primary architectural drawings?
  11. What Are Blueprints?
  12. Architectural perspective drawing
  13. What are the main six standard perspective views used in architectural drawing?
  14. Fundamentals of Architectural perspective drawing
  15. Standard size of architectural Drawings
  16. Architectural drawing set example: How to draw architectural drawings?
  17. Other constructions and architecture drawings
  18. Structural Drawings
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.
Architectural drawings are created to develop a design concept into a logical set of working drawing steps. Along with other kinds of constructions and structural drawings, they form a unified whole working design concept. Architects then forward these sets of drawings directly to their clients and to permitting agencies from their local governments.
The architect must first demonstrate the merits and quality of his design to clients, and show the permitting agencies the safety and coherence of his design. Also, designers and architects must create such drawings to guide building contractors throughout the whole construction phase.
What are construction documents, and what is an architectural set?
A set of construction or architectural documents are a set of technical drawings that architects and building designers produce during the design development phase such as schematic plans and elevations.
During the design development phase of a building project, the schematic plans and elevations are created and reviewed.  As part of the design process of any building design project, those schematic plans and elevations will be reconsidered and amended many times during this stage to contain all the details and specifications required for construction.

Construction Drawings Set Floor Plan, Elevation, and Sections

What is Included in a Design Development Phase?
Main project components are looked at to the smallest detail throughout this design development phase. For instance, interior and exterior building materials and finishes specification schedules are created at this phase. Hence comes the importance of the schematic plans and elevations drawings that architects create.

What is the Main Use of Architectural Drawings?

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. They may be also used to highlight the precise measurements for the construction phase.
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 are no other ways, for example, to convince clients of the merits of a design other than a clear architectural drawing. How else can contractors build bridges, highways, or houses without them? These drawings are frequently used to describe in detail works projects.
As we discussed, the main purpose of architectural drawings then is to provide a clear guideline for everyone involved in the construction of a project after the design phase is finished.
Architectural drawings are important to develop a design idea into a coherent proposal. For an architect to demonstrate his ideas and concepts, and most importantly to convince his clients of the quality of his design ideas, he must produce high quality and complete set of architectural drawings.

The Importance of Architectural Drawing at Construction Phase

No building can be ever constructed without a clear and detailed set of architectural drawings. During the construction phase of buildings, and for a building contractor to erect a structure, he must do so based on the detailed design set provided by architects.

Architectural Drawings Set Elevation and Sections

During the construction phase contractors follow exactly the plans provided. Therefore, for them to ensure a safe, legal, and successful process according to the design and clients' needs, the general contractor, civil engineers, builders, and everyone involved at this stage, must closely follow and apply the construction documents as per instruction. They all must adhere to exact plans specified such as architectural plans, technical drawings, and window and door schedules.
Obviously, by following a clear set of drawings, there will be no unpleasant surprises when it comes to the final project delivery. This is a natural part of the architecture and construction business process of design and build; architects design and produce detailed plans, and contractors construct based on these designs.

The Importance of Architectural Drawing for Permitting Agencies and Inspectors

Permitting departments and their inspectors, usually from the local governments, in any part of the world use architectural drawing as a project manual during the construction phase. They need these drawings before they clear the project to make sure the necessary required local building code and zones laws are met. Local governments are very strict when it comes to building permits.
Everyone's new home or building is there to last for a long time and would add to the image of a whole city. Permitting agencies to consider a new structure as a part of the elements of the city image.

Architectural Drawings Section

Elements of the city image consist of the nodes, paths, districts, landmarks, and edges of the whole city. All these elements give the overall shape of the city.

What Are the Two Basic Types of Architectural Drawing?

Architects and building certified designers must provide as part of architectural drawings two types of construction drawings. They must make every effort when producing these two types of construction drawings to specify every detail of their final designs.
Architectural Drawings Examples
Architectural Drawings Examples

The first set of plans is the construction set. The construction set, as it implies, is made for the construction phase. It must remain handy on-site throughout the construction process for everyone involved in the construction phase. It must remain there at all times for it guides the actual overall construction administration of a building. No general contractor or a civil engineer, down to the builder, would be able to do anything without it.

Second set: Architects also spend a great time creating and detailing another set of drawings for their local governments to issue construction permits. Thes set is called the permit set.
The local permitting authority such as city halls or counties of any local government is responsible for giving and clearing building permits.
Architects must provide a complete drawing set to the permitting authority for them to check the drawings for safe adherence to building codes and local zoning laws, and to give them permits.
Also, these drawings are important for the local governments because to receive a certificate of occupancy, the final structures must match the submittals provided by the architects at the beginning of the construction project.

What is Included in a Set of Architectural Drawings?

Architectural drawings are drawn according to a set of drawing standards that include elevation, sections, cross-section, site plan, floor plan, etc.
However, a comprehensive set of construction drawings includes various essential components such as a cover sheet, site plan, floor plans, exterior elevations, interior elevations, sections, structural drawings, mechanical drawings, plumbing drawings, electrical drawings, detailing, scheduling, and general notes. This meticulous compilation ensures a comprehensive and detailed representation of the construction project, fostering effective communication and execution throughout the entire building process. Among these, the site plan, plans, elevations, and sections are particularly crucial for the architect, serving as key elements in the architectural aspect of a construction project.
 Set of Architectural Drawings
 Set of Architectural Drawings
Nowadays, the majority of drawings are created using CAD software such as Revit, AutoCAD, Sketchup, and ArchiCad.

What Are the Six Types of Architectural Drawings?

There are six types of architectural drawings: Floor Plan, Site plan, Elevation, Cross-section, and Isometric and axonometric projections.
Don’t confuse these sets of drawings with the construction drawings or the prospective architectural drawings. This is mainly about the standard types used to represent buildings on a set of drawings. There are many other types of architectural drawings classified according to their general intended purpose that we will discuss and explain as well.

Site plan

You see, when it comes to architecture everything is detailed from the biggest thing to the smallest. Think of the design site plan as a big detailed map that shows the whole context of a building to its surrounding. A site plan then must show particular building boundaries and other important factors such as means of access. The site plan must also point out nearby structures such as roads, trees, and other buildings.
 Architectural Drawings-Site Plan Example
 Architectural Drawings-Site Plan Example
For instance, for a new home on an urban site, one needs to prepare a site plan where it shows adjoining streets to demonstrate how the design fits into the whole area in general.
For a construction project site plan, the concern is with showing all the service connections such as water supply, electrical, drainage, communications infrastructures, etc.
Gifted architects make good use of site plans.
Take, for example, this situation. A client wants to build a house in a place that he considers outdated and unpleasant to look at. He asks the architect to try to “isolate” the house from its surroundings without sacrificing important factors such as having at least one pleasant view.
The architect, after considering the surrounding of the site, will establish a plan. He might simply point to a certain window to open directly in front of a lone tree somewhere in that neighborhood. So when the owner opens the window he is limited to the pleasant view of that tree instead of an old neighbor’s not so pleasant-to-look-at-house. This is called “Architecture”.

The Floor Plan

The Floor plan is the most important architectural drawing in any of the drawings set. As a top view, it shows the arrangement of spaces or the “ parti” as a map. It demonstrates the space organizing thoughts or ideas of an architect's complete outer design. However, the floor plan is different from just a map for it shows the arrangement at a particular level of a structure.
Architectural drawing sample floor plan image
Architectural drawing sample floor plan
Think of it as a horizontal section cut through the intended building. Those horizontal sections usually cut through at 4Ft  (1.2mtr) above floor level. The horizontal sections show important elements such as walls, windows/door openings, etc.
The plan view must demonstrate anything that could be seen below that level: the floor, the stairs up to the plan level, and also fittings. Anything above the plan level such as beam overhead can only be indicated as dashed lines.

A Detailed Representation of an Architectural Floor Plan Example:

Here is a detailed representation of an architectural floor plan to gain insight into the layout and dimensions of each living space. This example provides a snapshot of key areas within the residence:

  1. Living Room:
    • Spacious dimensions: 20ft x 15ft
    • Features large windows along the west wall, allowing ample natural light to fill the room.
  2. Kitchen:
    • Embraces an open concept design
    • Dimensions: 12ft x 10ft
    • Highlighted by a central island, promoting a modern and functional culinary space.
  3. Bedroom 1:
    • Generous size: 16ft x 14ft
    • Includes an attached bathroom and a convenient walk-in closet for enhanced privacy and storage.
  4. Bedroom 2:
    • Comfortably proportioned: 12ft x 10ft
    • Shares a conveniently located bathroom with nearby access for added convenience.
  5. Study:
    • Thoughtfully positioned: 10ft x 8ft
    • Adjacent to the living room, creating a seamless transition between work and leisure spaces.
  6. Bathroom:
    • Well-designed space: 8ft x 6ft
    • Easily accessible from the hallway, catering to both residents and guests.
  7. Hallway:
    • Thoughtfully spacious, serving as a central conduit that seamlessly connects all rooms.
  8. Utility Room:
    • Efficiently planned: 6ft x 6ft
    • Equipped with washer/dryer connections, optimizing functionality in this essential space.

This serves as a simplified overview, recognizing that actual architectural floor plans involve intricate details and specific specifications. Should you desire a more comprehensive and tailored description, our team is ready to assist you through our specialized architectural courses, available on our website. We are committed to providing you with the expertise needed to refine and articulate the unique features of your architectural vision.


Elevation: What is an Elevation Drawing?

An elevation drawing is simply the drawing that architects and designers create as a view of structures in general highlighted from one side.
Architectural Drawings Elevations Examples
Architectural Drawings Elevations Examples

Construction Drawings Set Floor Plan, Elevation, and Sections

Any elevation drawing consists of two dimensional, flat, representation of one side of a building. Some of the main purposes of elevation drawing are, for example, to demonstrate heights, length, and width concerning a fixed point such as natural ground level.
Also, these drawings show the overall appearance of a building or structure and provide the client with a realistic idea of what the final building will look like. So, elevations are drawn to give viewers a good idea of how a building looks from the front or side.
This is different from floor plans which are drawn as if you are looking at a design from above. The elevation drawings also include orientations such as north, south, and so on.

Cross Section

A cross-section is just a representation of a vertical plane cut through the design of an object element. There is a horizontal section with a view from the top. In any section view, everything cut by the section plane must be done using a bold line, whereas everything else behind that point has to be shown in a thinner line. Therefore, the general purpose of cross-sections is to show the relationship between different levels of structures for the viewer where it would be very difficult for him to understand from plans alone.
Architectural Drawings Section Example
Architectural Drawings Section

Isometric and Axonometric Projections

Isometric and axonometric projections are a way of representing a 3D object. That to show mainly the important relationship between several sides of a certain structure for the quality and merits of a shaping show.

Detail Drawings

Finally, detailed drawings are building construction details that are produced by architects to show a small part of an element of design or construction at a much larger scale (Typical scales for such details are 1/10, 1/5, and even a full size.). They are used, for example, to show complex junctions.

What Are the Six Types of Construction Drawings?

There are the 6 major types of drawings in a set of construction drawings:
  1. Plans.
  2. Interior and exterior elevations.
  3. Building and wall sections.
  4. Interior and exterior details.
  5. Schedules and room finishes.
  6. Framing and utility plans.


Whole-Project Working Drawings: What Are the Three Primary Architectural Drawings?

To clarify things even further so as not to create any confusion, there are many other types of architectural drawings. For instance, when it comes to a whole construction project, there is the so-called comprehensive set of drawings involved. Architect's drawings are only a part of this set of drawings.
Architectural Drawings Construction Project Example
Architectural Drawings Construction Project
Depending on the size and the nature of the project, there are also many other important types of drawings involved in any construction project.
For instance, a big project of a tall building will usually involve the work of specialized structural engineers and civil engineers. They all must provide their own set of drawings according to their area of specialty.
There are, however, three main primary architectural drawings. Working drawings of any project are logically subdivided into location, assembly, and component drawings.

Location Drawings:

Location drawings or the general arrangement drawings, as some call them, include drawings regarding floor plans, sections, and elevations. As we discussed already, the main purpose of floor plans, sections and elevations is to show where the construction elements are precisely located according to the architect's design. Sometimes, in big projects, certain construction elements are implemented with the help of building surveyors.

Assembly Drawings

Assembly drawings' main purpose is to map how the different parts or elements of a design are assembled. Assembly drawings show such details to the point where a window, for example, will be given every small detail possible in the assembly drawing set. Where even the layers that make up the construction will be explained and shown.
Moreover, details of how a window, for example,  is to be fixed to structural elements will also be covered. Even other details such as how to finish the edges of the openings of that window, and even how prefabricated components are to be fitted with that particular window. Architects usually hire drafters and helpers to take care of this, sometimes, rather boring detailing job!

Component Drawings

Lastly, there are the component drawings. Component drawings are made especially for self-contained elements such as windows, doors, cladding panels, roof trusses, cupboards, and even kitchens. These drawings show in great detail how every single prefabricated element of a project is to be manufactured with special attention paid to the components and the materials to be used for every one of them.

What Are Blueprints?

What is the difference between Blueprints and architectural drawings?
 Architectural Drawings Blueprint
 Architectural Drawings Blueprint
Blueprints are drawings that architects and designers use to plan new structures, or at least they use to. A blueprint is a reproduction of architectural, engineering, and construction technical drawings. It’s called reproduction because it’s the reproduction of any type of technical drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets producing white-on-blue images. However, nowadays it’s replaced by other innovative new printing technologies as architects today use advanced computers to create building drawings.

Architectural Drawings Blueprint Set Floor Plan, Elevation, and Sections

 Architectural Drawings Many Set
 Architectural Drawings Sets
Architects are responsible for creating architectural detailed drawings. During earlier stages of design, architects usually go through multiple revisions of these drawings as many changes would be made all the time based on regulations, client needs, and many times, due to limitations of budgets.
The final result is what’s called “blueprints”. The blueprints are basically what guide builders the whole time while making the architect's design a reality. Naturally, blueprints are the roadmap that contractors used as a reference to delivering the desired structure as designed by the architect based on customers' needs. Architectural drawings and blueprints include plans for all structural, mechanical, and electrical systems.
Other technical documents cover technical specifications for contractors that must be prepared. Also, specific detailed design instructions will be created for contractors to be able to build what's required of them. General contractors also need all the mentioned technical documents and construction drawings to offer “the contract proposal” with cost estimates and the timescale needed to finish the project.

Architectural Perspective Drawings

What is architectural perspective drawing? How do architects use it in designing buildings?
Perspective in architectural drawing is a very important concept to understand for anyone involved in the design and building of structures.
When architects design a space from scratch they must design every detail in perspective. To design in perspective is to see through a design with drawings or sketches. This is one of the most important concepts in architecture.
As it implies perspective in the architectural drawing is the representation of 3D elements of a building, or any structure for that matter, on a two-dimensional flat surface.
This is essential for any design because it provides the observer of the design with a depth view of the design elements. This in turn provides a deeper and better understanding of the whole concept of the design.
Perspective in architectural drawing helps show the merit of the design at earlier and later stages (presentations for commercials sale, for example ) of the design.

What Are the Main Six Standard Perspective Views Used in Architectural Drawing

There are six views of any orthographic projection drawing, and there are also six types of architectural drawings. So, what are orthographic drawings in architecture?
Orthographic projection in building design is the accepted method of representing three-dimensional structures with six two-dimensional drawings. Each of the structure's objects is viewed along parallel lines that are perpendicular to the plane of the architectural drawings such as:
  • Top View
  • Bottom View
  • Back View
  • Front View
  • Right Side View
  • Left Side View


Fundamentals of Architectural Perspective Drawing

How to represent perspective in architectural drawing using one vanishing point?

One Vanishing Point

a basic architectural perspective drawing, or any perspective drawing, that has only one vanishing point on the horizon line. That simple line is simply used to represent linear elements such as buildings, streets, and parks for a city plan. A beam, a ceiling, and a wall for interior design drawings, or even a chair, a sofa, or a TV set for interior design drawings as well.  All of the lines naturally converge at the vanishing point, and objects in concern, as you would expect, the closer they are positioned to the vanishing point, the further they appear from you.

Two Vanishing Points to Draw the Exteriors of Structures

Architects make use of two vanishing points more often than perspective drawings with one vanishing point to draw the exteriors of structures. When we use two vanishing points it is also called oblique perspective.

Three Vanishing Points

Architects add a third point of vanishing to already made two vanishing points of the exteriors of structures to make all the vertical lines tend to meet at a certain point.

Standard Size of Architectural Drawings

What is the standard size for architectural drawings?
No need to mention that architectural drawings are made to scale where relative sizes are correctly represented. Naturally, architectural drawings must include details of all sides of the building at a scale of 1:100. For example, wall height and overall building height are measured from natural ground level (NGL) and are always included in a set of architectural drawings.
When it comes to standard sizes and scales of architectural drawings, materials available and what size is easier to transport determine such standards. However, usually, the largest paper size used in architectural practice offices is the well-known ISO A0 (841 mm × 1,189 mm or 33.1 in × 46.8 in). However, In the USA it’s a bit different. The standard sizes and scales of architectural drawings in the United States are Arch E (762 mm × 1,067 mm or 30 in × 42 in) or the large E size (915 mm × 1,220 mm or 36 in × 48 in).
Matters such as whole structures drawing fitting on a sheet a screen with enough required amount of details showing play a major role in deciding the scale chosen. For instance, using a scale of (1:96) (1to100 Metric systems) to show walls will result in just basic outlines of the overall thickness of the wall.
At a larger scale, however, (1:24) (1 to 20 Metric System ), logically much more details concerning the same wall, such as what materials should be used, will be clearly shown. It’s worth mentioning that construction details are usually drawn on a much larger scale. Don’t be surprised if you sometimes find drowning that corresponds to real-life sizes that is a 1 to 1 scale.

Architectural Drawing Set-Example: How to Draw Architectural Drawings?

Let’s take a look at the process of producing a set of architectural drawings:
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, plumbing, engineering, and mechanical.

An Architect Preparing the Architectural Drawings:

Steps in Architectural Drawings

The Site Plan

First step: he will start with 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 of a plot of land. He must also provide information about the site’s topography, landscaping utilities, and site work. It's also very important for the architect to make a site plan to illustrate the existing natural & built features.

The Floor Plan

Second step: he will prepare the floor plan. Floor plans are the most important. They illustrate the horizontal dimensions of 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 & partitions and their 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 rooms, baths, and 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.

Steps in Architectural Drawings: Floor Plan

Building Sections:
In the third step; the architect will make building section drawings. A 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 to interior elevations seen beyond the plane of cut.
The purpose of the building section is to Illustrate building construction and technical implementation such as precast & prestressed.
Also to show the types of the slab; is it a solid slab, hollow block, or just a 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.

Building Elevations Drawings

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

Other Constructions and Architecture Drawings

How many other types of buildings related drawing are out there?
Types of Drawings: Building drawings are classified according to their purpose:
  • Details Drawings
  • Assembly drawings
  • Component drawings
  • Structure and Fixing Details

Specialized Drawing:

  • Engineering drawings
  • Technical drawings
  • As built drawings
  • Measured drawings
  • Shop drawings
  • Structural drawings
  • HVAC drawings
  • Electrical and plumbing drawings
  • Finishing drawings

What is As-built drawing?

As-built drawings are those that were 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 prefabricated components such as elevators, structural steel, trusses, pre-cast, cabinets, windows, appliances, etc. These are called shop drawings.

Structural Drawings

How about structural drawings? How many are there?
Structures drawing are different from those of architectural nature. They are more specialized.  Structures engineers are usually hired for huge projects. Structure engineers work on making drawings that provide information about the coherence of the structure. They provide information about the strength of various important structural elements in any building.
Structural engineers have their own set of drawings that represent structural materials, grade, size, and placement of reinforcement to name a few.
They also provide drawings and schedules of the strength of the building concerning structural elements such as beams, columns, stairs, and main slabs that are all connected.

Specialized Structure engineers provide the following kind of drawings:

  • General Note Structural Drawings
  • Contains codes required by local laws. Concrete mix, lapping length, curing time, abbreviation, etc are also covered in their set of drawings.

Excavation Drawing of Structural

Footing excavation dimension, column position, footing plan and grid lines of the column are some of the subjects covered in the set of drawings. Soil and its removal, and method of excavation are other examples.

Column Layout of Structural Drawings

A detailed map or design and pattern of the columns of a whole particular is provided with the exact size and distance between every column.

Plinth Beam Layout in Structural Drawings

The plinth beam layout drawings as it implies showcase the exact measured positions, and length along with the sectional design of it.

Lintel Beam Layout in Structural Drawings

This drawing is made to provide details about parts of the structures right above the windows and doors openings. For example, Lintel Beam size, etc. It also provides details about the exact positions and dimensions of windows and doors. Lintel beam layout in structural drawings must be detailed for each floor.

Roof Beam and Shuttering Layout in Structural Drawings

This type of drawing is concerned with the building’s overall structure.

Roof Slab Layout in Structural Drawings

Used to provide detailed instructions and notes of the floors/roof slaps, and every corner or edge of a building.

Framing Plans in Structural Drawings

These are similar to the beam layouts. It’s, however, more concerned with the framework of structures such as their sizes and positions of the beams.