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The drafting process may impose limitations on the size that is realistically workable. Sizes are determined by a consistent paper size system, according to local usage. The scale is chosen both to ensure the whole building will fit on the chosen sheet size, and to show the required amount of detail.

At the scale of one eighth of an inch to one foot or the metric equivalent 1 to , walls are typically shown as simple outlines corresponding to the overall thickness. At a larger scale, half an inch to one foot or the nearest common metric equivalent 1 to 20, the layers of different materials that make up the wall construction are shown.

Construction details are drawn to a larger scale, in some cases full size 1 to 1 scale. Scale drawings enable dimensions to be "read" off the drawing, i. Imperial scales feet and inches are equally readable using an ordinary ruler.

On a one-eighth inch to one foot scale drawing, the one-eighth divisions on the ruler can be read off as feet. Architects normally use a scale ruler with different scales marked on each edge. A third method, used by builders in estimating, is to measure directly off the drawing and multiply by the scale factor.

Dimensions can be measured off drawings made on a stable medium such as vellum. All processes of reproduction introduce small errors, especially now that different copying methods mean that the same drawing may be re-copied, or copies made in several different ways. Consequently, dimensions need to be written "figured" on the drawing. The disclaimer "Do not scale off dimensions" is commonly inscribed on architects drawings, to guard against errors arising in the copying process.

See the Types of architectural drawing section below for drawings classified according to their purpose. Floor plan[ edit ] A floor plan is the most fundamental architectural diagram , a view from above showing the arrangement of spaces in building in the same way as a map , but showing the arrangement at a particular level of a building.

The plan view includes anything that could be seen below that level: the floor, stairs but only up to the plan level , fittings and sometimes furniture. Objects above the plan level e. Geometrically, plan view is defined as a vertical orthographic projection of an object on to a horizontal plane, with the horizontal plane cutting through the building. Site plan[ edit ] A site plan is a specific type of plan, showing the whole context of a building or group of buildings. A site plan shows property boundaries and means of access to the site, and nearby structures if they are relevant to the design.

For a development on an urban site, the site plan may need to show adjoining streets to demonstrate how the design fits into the urban fabric. Within the site boundary, the site plan gives an overview of the entire scope of work. It shows the buildings if any already existing and those that are proposed, usually as a building footprint; roads, parking lots, footpaths, hard landscaping , trees and planting.

For a construction project, the site plan also needs to show all the services connections: drainage and sewer lines, water supply, electrical and communications cables, exterior lighting etc. Site plans are commonly used to represent a building proposal prior to detailed design: drawing up a site plan is a tool for deciding both the site layout and the size and orientation of proposed new buildings.

A site plan is used to verify that a proposal complies with local development codes, including restrictions on historical sites. In this context the site plan forms part of a legal agreement, and there may be a requirement for it to be drawn up by a licensed professional: architect, engineer, landscape architect or land surveyor.

This is the most common view used to describe the external appearance of a building. Each elevation is labelled in relation to the compass direction it faces, e.

Geometrically, an elevation is a horizontal orthographic projection a building on to a vertical plane, the vertical plane normally being parallel to one side of the building. Section drawing of the Observatorium at Potsdam. Cross section[ edit ] A cross section , also simply called a section, represents a vertical plane cut through the object, in the same way as a floor plan is a horizontal section viewed from the top.

In the section view, everything cut by the section plane is shown as a bold line, often with a solid fill to show objects that are cut through, and anything seen beyond generally shown in a thinner line.

Sections are used to describe the relationship between different levels of a building. In the Observatorium drawing illustrated here, the section shows the dome which can be seen from the outside, a second dome that can only be seen inside the building, and the way the space between the two accommodates a large astronomical telescope: relationships that would be difficult to understand from plans alone. A sectional elevation is a combination of a cross section, with elevations of other parts of the building seen beyond the section plane.

Geometrically, a cross section is a horizontal orthographic projection of a building on to a vertical plane, with the vertical plane cutting through the building. Isometric and axonometric projections[ edit ] Isometric and axonometric projections are a simple way of representing a three dimensional object, keeping the elements to scale and showing the relationship between several sides of the same object, so that the complexities of a shape can be clearly understood.

There is some confusion over the distinction between the terms isometric and axonometric. Engineers use the word axonometric as a generic term to include isometric, diametric and trimetric drawings. Despite fairly complex geometrical explanations, for the purposes of practical drafting the difference between isometric and axonometric is simple see diagram above.

In both, the plan is drawn on a skewed or rotated grid, and the verticals are projected vertically on the page. All lines are drawn to scale so that relationships between elements are accurate. In many cases a different scale is required for different axes , and again this can be calculated but in practice was often simply estimated by eye.

An isometric uses a plan grid at 30 degrees from the horizontal in both directions, which distorts the plan shape. Isometric graph paper can be used to construct this kind of drawing.

This view is useful to explain construction details e. The isometric was the standard view until the mid twentieth century, remaining popular until the s, especially for textbook diagrams and illustrations. Originally used in cabinet making, the advantage is that a principal side e. The lines leading away from the eye are drawn at a reduced scale to lessen the degree of distortion.

The cabinet projection is seen in Victorian engraved advertisements and architectural textbooks, [7] but has virtually disappeared from general use. An axonometric uses a 45 degree plan grid, which keeps the original orthogonal geometry of the plan. The great advantage of this view for architecture is that the draftsman can work directly from a plan, without having to reconstruct it on a skewed grid.

In theory the plan should be set at 45 degrees, but this introduces confusing coincidences where opposite corners align. Unwanted effects can be avoided by rotating the plan while still projecting vertically. This is sometimes called a planometric or plan oblique view, [9] and allows freedom to choose any suitable angle to present the most useful view of an object.

Traditional drafting techniques used 30—60 and 45 degree set squares , and that determined the angles used in these views. Once the adjustable square became common those limitations were lifted. The axonometric gained in popularity in the twentieth century, not just as a convenient diagram but as a formal presentation technique, adopted in particular by the Modern Movement. Consequently, it is now rarely used.

Detail drawings[ edit ] Detail drawings show a small part of the construction at a larger scale, to show how the component parts fit together. They are also used to show small surface details, for example decorative elements. Section drawings at large scale are a standard way of showing building construction details, typically showing complex junctions such as floor to wall junction, window openings, eaves and roof apex that cannot be clearly shown on a drawing that includes the full height of the building.

A full set of construction details needs to show plan details as well as vertical section details. One detail is seldom produced in isolation: a set of details shows the information needed to understand the construction in three dimensions.

In traditional construction, many details were so fully standardised, that few detail drawings were required to construct a building. For example, the construction of a sash window would be left to the carpenter, who would fully understand what was required, but unique decorative details of the facade would be drawn up in detail. In contrast, modern buildings need to be fully detailed because of the proliferation of different products, methods and possible solutions.

Perspective in the manner of the classic Ideal city by Jean-Max Albert , Two point perspective, interior of Dercy House by Robert Adam , Perspective in drawing is an approximate representation on a flat surface of an image as it is perceived by the eye. The key concepts here are: Perspective is the view from a particular fixed viewpoint. Horizontal and vertical edges in the object are represented by horizontals and verticals in the drawing. Lines leading away into the distance appear to converge at a vanishing point.

All horizontals converge to a point on the horizon , which is a horizontal line at eye level. Verticals converge to a point either above or below the horizon.

The basic categorization of artificial perspective is by the number of vanishing points: One-point perspective where objects facing the viewer are orthogonal, and receding lines converge to a single vanishing point. Two-point perspective reduces distortion by viewing objects at an angle, with all the horizontal lines receding to one of two vanishing points, both located on the horizon. Three-point perspective introduces additional realism by making the verticals recede to a third vanishing point, which is above or below depending upon whether the view is seen from above or below.

The normal convention in architectural perspective is to use two-point perspective, with all the verticals drawn as verticals on the page. Three-point perspective gives a casual, photographic snapshot effect. In professional architectural photography , conversely, a view camera or a perspective control lens is used to eliminate the third vanishing point, so that all the verticals are vertical on the photograph, as with the perspective convention.

This can also be done by digital manipulation of a photograph taken with a standard lens. Aerial perspective is a technique in painting, for indicating distance by approximating the effect of the atmosphere on distant objects. In daylight, as an ordinary object gets further from the eye, its contrast with the background is reduced, its colour saturation is reduced, and its colour becomes more blue. Care is needed to record the position from which the photograph was taken, and to generate the perspective using the same viewpoint.

This technique is popular in computer visualisation, where the building can be photorealistically rendered, and the final image is intended to be almost indistinguishable from a photograph. A sketch is a rapidly executed freehand drawing, a quick way to record and develop an idea, not intended as a finished work. A diagram could also be drawn freehand but deals with symbols, to develop the logic of a design.

Both can be worked up into a more presentable form and used to communicate the principles of a design. Complex modern buildings involve a large team of different specialist disciplines, and communication at the early design stages is essential to keep the design moving towards a coordinated outcome.

There are two basic elements to a building design, the aesthetic and the practical. The aesthetic element includes the layout and visual appearance, the anticipated feel of the materials, and cultural references that will influence the way people perceive the building.

Practical concerns include space allocated for different activities, how people enter and move around the building, daylight and artificial lighting, acoustics, traffic noise, legal matters and building codes, and many other issues. While both aspects are partly a matter of customary practice, every site is different.

Many architects actively seek innovation, thereby increasing the number of problems to be resolved. Architectural legend often refers to designs made on the back of an envelope or on a napkin.


Architectural Drawing: A Visual Compendium of Types and Methods, 4th Edition



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