How To Read Architecture Drawing - Architecture (2024)

Understanding Basic Drawing Symbols

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1.Understanding Basic Drawing Symbols

2.Use Different Views and Scales

3.Read the Notations

4.Understand the Different Layers of Architecture

5.Learn About Drawing Abbreviations and Units

7.Know When to Ask for Help

8.Read Construction Details

9.Study Building Materials

10.Identify Site Features

11.Find Building Codes

12.Learn About Building Permits

13.Understand Building Functionalities

14.Trace Floor Plans

15.Read Building Specifications

16.Analyze Exterior Views

17.Interpret Elevation Drawings

18.Compare Sections

19.Analyze Styles and Patterns

Learning about reading architectural drawings requires some knowledge about the symbols and lines used in the drawing itself. Architectural drawings usually have certain design components like squares, circles, corners, and arcs. The lines used for each of these elements can have a specific meaning. For example, a solid line may indicate a wall or support, while a dashed line can indicate a window or door. The thickness of a line can also indicate the height or depth of an element. Thick lines will indicate a higher area, while thin lines indicate a lower area. Symbols like an “x” or an asterisk (*) may indicate a hinge or other fastener.

Use Different Views and Scales

Architects typically use several different views and scales on a single drawing. For example, a drawing may have a bird’s eye view, front, side and top views. The scale indicates how much of the structure is depicted in the drawing. A 1:1 scale would indicate that the drawing is in actual size, while a 1:2 scale would indicate that the drawing is half the size of the actual structure.

Read the Notations

Architects use notations to convey further information about an element of their drawings. Notations can include measurements, construction methodologies and materials. Notations can take the form of different symbols and abbreviations. For example, an “R” with a number can indicate the radius of a corner, while an “L” can indicate a level. Knowing and understanding the various notations can help you interpret a drawing correctly.

Understand the Different Layers of Architecture

Architecture is a complex art and the drawings that illustrate it often depict each layer of the structure. A single drawing may have several layers of information, or it may group all the layers together in one drawing. In order to fully understand a drawing, it is important to recognize the different layers and how they correspond to one another.

Learn About Drawing Abbreviations and Units

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In order to correctly read an architectural drawing, you must understand the abbreviations and units used in the drawing. Common abbreviations include “ft” for feet, “in” for inches, “m” for meters, and so on. Knowing how to convert between different units can be particularly helpful when reading a foreign language or international standard drawing.

Understand Drawing Conventions

Architectural drawing conventions refer to the standard symbols and layer conventions used in all drawings. Examples of conventions include the use of dashed, solid, and dotted lines. Knowing how to follow these conventions can make decoding a drawing much easier.

Know When to Ask for Help

If, despite all your efforts, you’re still finding it difficult to interpret an architectural drawing, don’t give up. Ask another qualified person for help. An architect, an engineer, or even a knowledgeable friend may be able to quickly decipher the drawing and can provide assistance if needed.

Read Construction Details

When reading an architectural drawing, it is important to look closely at the details of construction. Details like windows, doors, columns, and beams are often depicted with precise measurements and detailed drawings. Paying attention to these details will help you to understand the overall design of the building.

Study Building Materials

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Architectural drawings often denote the type of materials used in the building’s construction. For example, an architectural drawing may indicate the use of stone, steel, wood, or even vinyl. Being familiar with the types of materials used in construction will help you understand how the building is constructed and how it should be maintained.

Identify Site Features

An architectural drawing may also include the geographic location of the building. This can provide valuable information regarding the surrounding area, such as topography, soil type, vegetation, and nearby structures. Being familiar with the site features can help you understand the impact of the building on the land and on the environment.

Find Building Codes

Building codes are guidelines for the construction of a building. They are usually specified in the architectural drawings, and knowing these codes can help you ensure the building is constructed properly. Building codes can vary depending on the location of the building, so it is important to be familiar with the area’s building codes and regulations before constructing a building.

Learn About Building Permits

An architectural drawing may also indicate whether or not a building permit is required before construction can begin. Building permits are typically required in order to ensure the building meets all necessary safety and building codes. Knowing when a building permit is needed can help you avoid costly fines and delays in your project.

Understand Building Functionalities

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Architectural drawings may also outline the functionality of the building, such as its purpose or how it is intended to be used. Knowing the functionality of a building can help you better understand the purpose of the building and determine how best to construct the building.

Trace Floor Plans

Floor plans on an architectural drawing indicate the internal layout of a building, including rooms, walls, and doors. Being able to trace and recognize a floor plan can help you understand the internal design of a building and can provide helpful information when designing a space.

Read Building Specifications

Building specifications indicate the dimensions, capacity, and materials used for a given structure. Being able to identify and read specifications can help you determine the maximum capacity of the structure and can provide valuable insight into the type and quality of the materials used in construction.

Analyze Exterior Views

An exterior view of a building can often provide insights into the design of the building. Exterior views typically indicate the shape and size of the building, as well as the construction materials used. Being able to accurately read an exterior view can help you get an accurate picture of the overall design of the building.

Interpret Elevation Drawings

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Elevation drawings provide a three-dimensional representation of a building. Understanding elevation drawings can help you understand the design of the building and can provide helpful information for many aspects of construction and design.

Compare Sections

Sectional drawings can provide valuable insight into the design of a building. Comparing sections from different areas in the building can indicate the placement, size, and shape of interior components, such as walls, windows, and doors. Knowing how to compare sections can help you better understand the design of the building.

Analyze Styles and Patterns

Architects often use specific styles and patterns in their drawings. Analyzing the styles and patterns used in a drawing can help you better understand the design of the building and the architect’s intentions for the building. Being able to identify and analyze styles and patterns can provide invaluable insight into the overall design.

How To Read Architecture Drawing - Architecture (2024)


How do you read architecture measurements? ›

Architect's (imperial) scales

Traditional architectural measurements of length are written very precisely in feet and inches using the appropriate symbols for feet and inches separated by a dash (e.g., 4'-3 ½“ and 7'-0″). This is the way that all imperial measurements are written on construction drawings.

What to look for when reviewing architectural drawings? ›

Construction Drawings:
  • Documents coordinated prior to submittal.
  • Cross-referencing on drawings is correct.
  • Building elevations match floor plans and have the same scale.
  • Building sections match elevations, plans, and structural drawings.
Oct 19, 2021

How do you read an architectural blueprint? ›

2 Chapter 2: How to Learn to Read Blueprints
  1. Read the title block. These often appear at the beginning of any blueprints. ...
  2. Read the revision block. ...
  3. Read the notes and legend. ...
  4. Determine the view. ...
  5. Establish the scale in your mind. ...
  6. Inspect the grid system. ...
  7. Locate any doors and windows. ...
  8. Identify any appliances.

Do architects need to be good at drawing? ›

But it is also important to remember that drawing is a skill that sits beside other skills which make for a great architect: analysis, synthesis, creative problem-solving, sensitivity and understanding around peoples needs/wants, So you don't need to be 'good' at drawing.

How do you read blueprints for beginners? ›

How to read blueprints in 5 steps
  1. Review the title and cover page. When you first examine a blueprint, the title and cover page give you the preliminary information required to make sense of the rest of the plans. ...
  2. Find the key. ...
  3. Determine the scale. ...
  4. Read any additional notes. ...
  5. Decide which drawings you need first.
Jul 6, 2023

How do you read a drawing plan? ›

Here's how you can read construction plans like a pro in five steps.
  1. Read the Title Block.
  2. Go Over the Plan Legend.
  3. Inspect the Drawings.
  4. Determine Orientation.
  5. Look for Any Notes Added.
  6. Conclusion.

How do you read scale drawings? ›

A drawing of 1:200 is representing 200 units for every one unit – and therefore is showing the elements smaller than the 1:50 drawing. It is worth noting that scale drawings represent the same units. So, if a drawing is at 1:50 in cm, 1 cm in the drawing will be equal to 50 cm in real life.

What is the scale 1 to 100? ›

The 1:100 scale means that 1 unit on the model represents 100 units in real life. For example, a room that is 1 inch on a 1:100 scale model would be 100 inches, or 8.3 feet, in real life.

How do you analyze architectural design? ›

How to Analyze Architecture — questions to ask yourself:
  1. What is the Building Built for? Not all buildings should have the same shape and size. ...
  2. Materials and Facade. What materials are they using? ...
  3. More on its Usefulness. ...
  4. What's the Surrounding Area Like? ...
  5. Light. ...
  6. Human Movement. ...
  7. Get Inside and Play with the Thing.
Aug 28, 2019

How do I know if I would be good at architecture? ›

Creativity: Architecture is a creative discipline. The very essence of being an architect involves designing buildings and spaces that aren't just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing. If you have a passion for design, an creative mind, and a keen eye for detail, this could be a promising sign.

How do you know if an architect is good? ›

A good architect will have ideas you would never think of. A bad architect will try to convince you to proceed with an idea you don't necessarily like, want or need because of an idea they may have.

How hard is it to learn to read blueprints? ›

Blueprint reading is not terribly difficult but it does require practice and some basic knowledge of blueprints. This online blueprint reading course is designed to provide you with foundational knowledge and hands-on practice so you can confidently discuss plans on the job.

What is the difference between blueprints and architectural drawings? ›

Technically, they are the one and the same. Blueprints are copies made from architectural drawings. Back in the old days, making copies of architectural drawings were done in blueprints because the drawings were hand-drawn onto a sheet of vellum paper or mylar.

Do architects read blueprints? ›

Reading a blueprint is essential if you work in the architectural or construction industry. The main aspects of a blueprint that you'll need to understand include the: Title block. Revision block.

How do you explain an architecture diagram? ›

Architecture diagrams allow stakeholders to identify efficient ways to scale a system. For example, a diagram may show if a system's architecture is centralized or distributed. Since distributed components scale more efficiently, monolithic components can be updated or replaced in time.

How do you read a drawing? ›

Lines: How to Read Drawings
  1. Continuous, thick line: indicates outlines or edges.
  2. Continuous, thin line: used for imaginary lines of intersection, projection lines, hatching, bending lines, outlines of revolved sections and short centre lines.
  3. Dashed, thin lines: can also be thick, but must be consistent within drawing.
Aug 18, 2023

What is the order of architectural drawings? ›

This organizes the discipline's drawings into a consistent, standard sequence of drawing types.
  • 0 - General (legends, symbols, general notes)
  • 1 - Plans.
  • 2 - Elevations.
  • 3 - Sections.
  • 4 - Large Scale Drawings: plans, elevations, sections.
  • 5 - Details.
  • 6 - Schedules and Diagrams.
7 days ago

What are the 4 parts of architectural plans? ›

What Are the Various Components of a Set of Architectural Plans?
  • Floor Plan. One of the most commonly known architectural plans is the floor plan. ...
  • Site Plan. A site plan not only includes details about the building but about the whole site it will be built on. ...
  • Elevation. ...
  • Section. ...
  • Perspective. ...
  • Detailed View.
Jun 24, 2021


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