Understanding Architectural Drawings

Types of Drawings

This section show the different types of architectural drawings there are and what they are for. It shows the main four kinds of drawings: elevation, plan, section and perspective; together with more specialised kinds of drawings: bird’s-eye view and floor plan with laid-out wall elevations.

Some important buildings are shown: The Pantheon in Rome, one of the greatest Roman buildings to survive; Soane’s own country House, Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing and Lady Williams Wynne’s Room, St James’s Square, designed by Robert Adam, whose drawings Soane bought for his collection.

Bird’s-Eye View: Pitzhanger Manor

Bird’s-Eye View: Pitzhanger Manor


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A bird’s-eye view is a very clever kind of drawing, which shows a building as it would look from the air, as a bird flying over the building would see it – hence the name. This drawing is also of Pitzhanger Manor and shows the arch over the entrance from the road, the gardens and an artificial ruin Soane built to the right of the house.

He would pretend that these were real Roman ruins and even made drawings showing how they would have looked when complete.

The whole thing was probably a sort of joke he liked to play on his visitors and friends. Unfortunately, although the house is still there, the ruins were removed after Soane sold the property. In Soane’s time artificial ruins like this one were built in gardens to remind people of those they had seen in Italy.