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what are the 7 different types of architectural drawings?

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Find out what the seven different types of architectural drawings are and how to order them.
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There are seven basic types of architectural drawings:

  • Floor Plans
  • Sections
  • Elevations
  • Interior Elevations
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Details
  • Three-dimensional presentations.
    • Praline drawings
    • Obliques
  • Axonometric
    • Dimetric
    • Isometric
    • Trimetric.

This article will explain the differences between the many kinds of architectural drawings. It will also show the order of these architectural sheets and the typical order of construction drawings.

What makes different types of architectural drawings so essential?

  • Architects create different types of architectural drawings to describe the design of a building. 
  • Architects create different types of architectural drawings to communicate their design concept, illustrate how the building will appear, and determine the necessary dimensions for the construction phase.

It is important to note that an architecture set alone is insufficient to construct a building; it includes sets from various disciplines that work together to make the building a reality.

Floor plans are the first type of architectural drawing, so let’s start there.

Floor plans

The 7 types of Architectural Drawings: Plan
Floor Plan

The architectural floor plan is the heart of a set of drawings. 

A floor plan is a 2D, top-down view of a room or building made by cutting through it horizontally from 4 or 5 feet above the ground. We remove the roof and walls above the cutting plane so the reader can see straight into the rooms.

Floor plans are essential for every building project.

Most of the other types of architectural drawings make references to floor plan drawings. We use floor plans for both client presentations and construction documentation. 

While we can sketch a floor plan for presentations, we always draft floor plans for construction.

Building Elevations

Exterior Elevation Sample
Exterior Elevation

Height drawings of objects are called front and side views. 

It’s the same in architecture; building height drawings are called elevations and section views. An elevation view is a drawing made by looking ahead at one side of a building and tracing it from corner to corner. It is the building’s side height, width, and everything on it.

Like floor plans, it’s best to sketch them while solving a problem and draft them for construction documents.

💡 Design insight: Draw elevations on the same scale as the floor plan.


Section Sample

A section is a view of a vertical cut through the building, from the foundation to the roof. 

Section drawings show elevational details, such as doors and windows, and they help reveal information that doesn’t appear in elevation drawings.

💡 Design insight: We draw the elevation information with a lighter line than the section cuts.

Interior Elevations

Interior Elevation Sample
Interior Elevation

Interior elevations are the same as exterior elevations, but they show the building from the inside. 

An interior elevation drawing is a drawing of a wall inside the building. You can label it with its compass direction (like “North”). You can also give it a more descriptive name, such as “Dining Room South Wall.” 

Interior elevations’ purpose is to show built-in and attached items on the walls and their height dimensions, such as doors, windows, fireplaces, shelving, cabinets, trim, wainscots, and built-in light fixtures.

Reflected Ceiling Plans

Reflected Ceiling Sample
Reflected ceiling

Reflected ceiling plans (RCPs) may be thought of as upside-down floor plans, for they are a plan of the ceiling. 

We make them show the placement and types of light fixtures, ceiling heights, ceiling materials, and anything else on the ceiling plane. RCPs use standard keys, symbols, and others more specific to the ceiling plan. 

💡 Design Insight:
Light fixtures often have tags that refer to their descriptions in the lighting specifications.
Doors and most windows do not appear on an RCP, but their headers do.
Site information is not present on an RCP (unless it happens overhead).

Detail Drawings

The detail drawing is a small part of a building, such as a wall. 

You can do the detail cut either vertically or horizontally. 

The detail drawing symbol has only one arrow that points to where the detail drawing is, and its callout has numbers that show the reader the number of the architecture sheet where they can find the detail.


Perspective Drawing Sample

Perspectives, axonometrics, and isometrics show the building or space in a way that plans, elevations, and sections can’t. 

💡 Design insight: Perspective shots are especially good at showing what the view would be like if you were there.

Paraline Drawings

In paraline drawings, we show the three-dimensional qualities of an object by projecting pictures of it as if we were unfolding them. 

Unlike perspective drawings, the lines of the projection do not meet at a point on the horizon. Instead, they stay in parallel.


Oblique Drawing Sample
Oblique 30

One side of the object (either the plan or elevation) is drawn directly on the picture plane. From this, we draw projected lines at an angle to the picture plane. The length of the projecting lines can vary.


Axonemtrics consist of dimetric, isometric, and trimetric drawings.


Dimetric Drawing Sample

In a dimetric drawing, we rotate the object so that only one corner touches the picture plane.


Isometric Drawing Sample

An isometric drawing is a dimetric drawing in which all the object’s axes are rotated away from the picture plane and kept at 30 degrees of projection. All legs are equally distorted in length and maintain an exact 1:1:1 proportion.


Trimetric Drawing Sample

A trimetric drawing is similar to a dimetric sketch, except that we rotate the object’s plan so that the scales of all three axes are different.

Architectural Symbols

To read different types of architectural drawings effectively, you must understand what each symbol means. This article will teach you how to read the seven types of architectural drawings easily.

How to read different types of architectural drawings?

Architecture Sheet Numbering

The 7 different types of architectural drawings we’ve talked about above make up the architectural set of building construction documents. 

A-0 General

  • A-001 Notes and Symbols

A-1 Architectural Floor Plans

  • A-101 First Floor Plan
  • A-102 Second Floor Plan
  • A-103 First Floor RCB
  • A-104 Second Floor RCB
  • A-105 Roof Plan

A-2 Architectural Elevations

  • A-201 Exterior Elevations
  • A-202 Interior Elevations

A-3 Architectural Elevations

  • A-301 Building Sections
  • A-302 Wall Sections

A-4 Large-Scale Views

  • A-401 Enlarged Plans
  • Stairs and Elevator Plans and Sections

A-5 Architectural Details

  • A-501 Exterior Details
  • A-502 Interior Details

A-6 Schedules and Diagrams

  • A-601 Partition Types
  • A-602 Room Finish Schedules
  • A-603 Door and Windows Schedules

Now, we will discuss the sheet order within the architectural set.

Construction Document Sheet Numbers and Order

To construct a building, one cannot rely solely on the architecture discipline. 

The construction of a structure requires the cooperation of various disciplines. Each discipline has its own set, like the architectural set we discussed above. 

Now, let’s discuss the order of the various sets within the construction documents.

The Order of Construction Documents:
1 Cover Sheet
2 Index Sheet(s)
3 Hazardous Materials
4 Civil
5 Landscape
6 Structural
7 Architectural
8 Interiors
9 Equipment
10 Fire Protection
11 Plumbing
12 Mechanical
13 Electrical
14 Telecommunications
15 Resource

💡 Design Insight: Different offices may have different rules about the order of disciplines in the drawing set. The Uniform Drawing System (UDS) suggests the order below so that the many trades that will use the construction documents don’t get confused. Note that most projects won’t use all the disciplines listed here, and some may need additional ones specific to the project.

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Bahaa Aydi

I'm Bahaa, a Licensed architect specialized in Interior design & Archviz • Sharing my design days with you to help you design better space