How to Draw Architectural Plans

Written by darrin koltow
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How to Draw Architectural Plans
Architectural plans are a set of two-dimensional views that illustrate and define all the components of a structure that people will occupy. (house blueprint and house model studio isolated image by dinostock from

Architectural plans are a set of two-dimensional views that illustrate and define all the components of a structure that people will occupy. One of the most recognisable views is the floorplan, which is the top view of a structure. This view is ideal for experimenting with different layouts for a space, such as arranging furniture for a bedroom, or fixtures for a bathroom or kitchen. Other views in architectural plans are those providing the dimension that's missing in the top view: height. Those new to architecture can create a full set of architectural views with the aid of free software-based design tools.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Free computer-aided design (CAD) program

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  1. 1

    Open up one of the free computer-aided design (CAD) programs listed in this article's resources section.

  2. 2

    Click the program's tool for creating the box primitive. This tool will be located under a menu heading of "Create," "Draw," "Add" or a similar name.

  3. 3

    Click and drag in the program's "perspective" window to make the box any size you wish. The box will represent the main structure of a house, a common example of architecture. After creating plans for this structure, you can use this article’s steps to create plans for more complex structures--any structure that you can create a 3-D model for in your CAD program. Such structures include bridges, stadiums, and classical architecture like Gothic cathedrals.

  4. 4

    Click your program's tool for changing the opacity (transparency) level of objects. This tool may be contained in a menu item called "object properties," under the "Edit" or similar menu, or as a function called "x-ray." It's also available under the "View" (or related) menu as the "wireframe" display mode.

  5. 5

    Apply the wireframe or transparency tool to the house box, to make the house's walls transparent.

  6. 6

    Create another box inside the house box. The new box will represent a room inside the house.

  7. 7

    Click your program's tool that displays the "top" orthographic view, which is used for displaying and drawing floor plans. Make a printout of this view.

  8. 8

    Use your program's measuring tools for measuring precisely each edge of both boxes in top view. These tools may take a number of forms, including menu items related to "measuring tape" (e.g., "ruler," "yardstick"). Or the measurements may already be displayed. If you find no measuring tool at first glance through your program's toolbox, search the program's help file for "ruler," "drawing aids," or "precision."

  9. 9

    Create dimension lines: For each of the line segments of the house and its room, draw a line parallel to and the same length as the line segment. Position the new segment apart from the original one, but close enough to visually associate the second segment with the first.

    A visual aid for drawing the dimension lines is available in the resource section.

  10. 10

    Draw arrows terminating both ends of each dimension line, and erase a portion of the line at its centre. In the gap you just erased, write the measurement (from step 8) of the line segment that the dimension line is measuring.

  11. 11

    Label the completed top view as "top view," then repeat steps 7 through 10 for both "front" and "left" orthographic views.

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