Understanding Architectural Drawings

Uses of the Drawings

This section discusses what the drawings were for. We show a survey drawing of an existing building, one of Soane’s own sketch designs and the working drawing sent to the builder in the form of a ‘letter’ for the same building – the Tyringham Gateway 

There is also a full-sized drawing of a detail in Soane’s greatest building – the Bank of England.

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Survey Drawing: Moggerhanger

Survey Drawing: Moggerhanger


This drawing is of an existing building, Moggerhanger Park, which was altered and added to by Soane. A rough plan was made of the building when the assistants visited the site, then all the measurements would be made and noted down on the drawing. (See also drawing Young Architect Measuring the Temple of Jupiter Stator, Rome).

The drawing would often be done again more carefully back in the office. In Soane’s time, measurements were made in feet and inches, whereas today in Europe we use metric measurements. In fact, in Soane’s time there were different sizes of feet and inches in different countries, even in different parts of Italy - you can imagine how confusing that was. Plans, elevations and sections were drawn to a scale, which means reducing something as big as a building to fit on a piece of paper. The drawing would often be made to fit the size of paper it was drawn on and the scale shown at the bottom from which you would measure the size of windows, doors and so on.