How to Lay Out an Architectural Drawing

Written by brandon maxwell
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How to Lay Out an Architectural Drawing
Architectural elevation drawing (drawings image by Chad McDermott from

The primary tool that architects use to convey their design intent is the drawing. There are many different types of drawings used to relate various information and data concerning the design and construction of all building types. Regardless of the style of design, size of the building or process of drawing, there are certain standards and rules of thumb that are used for correct drawing layout. By following these guidelines, you will ensure that your design intent is accurately and adequately conveyed to the building trades that will perform the work.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose the content, scale, and detail level you want for the drawing. Architectural drawings range in scale from a campus plan to a window detail, so you must decide what you are trying to show in the drawing. The floor plan is the most recognisable of architectural drawings, so this example will describe the process to lay out this type of drawing. The same basic process, however, will work with most architectural drawing types.

  2. 2

    Draw the floor plan. Walls, doors, windows, furniture, cabinetry and equipment are normally shown in this type of drawing.

  3. 3

    Choose your sheet size. This will determine how much of the overall plan you can fit on one sheet. For smaller projects, the entire floor plan may fit on one sheet, but on larger projects you will have to break up the plan into parts that will fit on one sheet. Overlay the plan on the sheet to determine whether it will fit. If it does not, break the plan up into logical parts.

  4. 4

    Place each part of the plan on a sheet. Label each part as "Part A", "Part B", etc. This will help identify where on the plan the current view is focused. Add a view title, scale bar and any notes or dimensions that help explain the drawing and convey design intent.

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