An architectural drawing is a technical drawing that visually communicates how a building and/or its elements will function and appear when built.
Architects and designers produce these drawings when designing and developing an architectural project into a meaningful proposal.
They have many uses and purposes that include; communication, presentation, information, instruction and record, all of which are required at set stages during a building procurement.
Standard architectural drawings
There are many types of architectural drawings that are required during the process of designing, developing, and constructing a building, some are used at specific times and stages, and others such as the floor and site plans are continuously evolved and adapted as the project develops.
At their simplest level, architectural drawings ideally comprise of floor plans, sections, sizes and units of measurements, together with references and annotations, however there many additional drawings required depending the scope and complexity of the building.
A floor plan is essentially a map showing a buildings internal arrangement in relation to its external walls and environment.
Each floor or level of the building will require its own plan, which as a rule of thumb is a horizontal slice taken across the building at 1200mm above its floor level. We have a whole article here, dedicated to drawing one.
Site plans show an aerial view of the whole building or group of buildings within its neighboring context, with clear boundaries and access points. The drawing can also show neighboring structures and streets if they are relevant to the building design.
In short an elevation is a drawing of an interior or exterior vertical surface or plane, that forms the skin of the building.
Externally an elevation is most commonly used to describe the vertical interface between the interior and exterior of a building, where the external facing walls and surfaces of each side of the proposal are drawn.
A cross-section drawing refers to a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal cut that results in the removal of one of the selected parts to reveal the objects inner elements.
A good example of this is the process of cutting an apple in half to reveal its core and pips, or a cake with all its layers.
Isometric and axonometric projections
Isometric and axonometric projections depict three-dimensional volumes and their spacial relationship to one another.
A detailed drawing shows a small section of a construction project in detail, and aims to demonstrate how the various elements and materials of a building come together. For example window openings, floor and wall junctions and structural connections.
Concept drawings and sketches
Concept drawings and sketches are quick hand drawings that aim to communicate an idea or notion to help drive a project.
Often initially used internally amongst the design team, once established they can later be used to help communicate and present the project.
Electrical drawings are predominately plan based illustrations that use specific symbols to communicate the placement and layout of lights, switches and power sockets in relation to the building and its use. A selection of free symbols can be found here