How to read architectural plans.
Updated: Feb 9
We are currently coming up with different ideas as to how we can present our drawings to lay people, in an easy-to-read manner, which would be good enough to show at an exhibition.
We have found that 3D plans have usually been less easily read by clients.
Reading plans is one of those skills which is easy when you know how. If, when you look at your architectural plans you find yourself bewildered and not sure how to start, then try this trick which we will share with you:
Find the front door. Once you find the front door, or main entrance, you can then navigate your way along corridors and into each room. This, for most people, will make the plan come alive. Once you have done this for the ground floor, you will have found the foot of the stairs on your virtual journey. So then you can go to the first floor; look for the top of the staircase as this will be your starting point on any floor other than the ground floor.
We are on a bit of a mission at the moment, trying to find better ways of presenting information to clients, and we would be very pleased if you could help us. One of our frustrations is that some clients ask us to present plans in a 3D format, and occasionally we are asked to produce computer-generated models. The reason given is that it will help with the understanding of the space which we are designing, but it is clear that in some cases, clients are seduced by the clever graphics, but still do not really understand, or “feel” the space, so to speak.
Please look at the two simple static architectural plans we have provided below and do the following with your newly learnt skill.
We ask you to have a look at the 2D plan below and use the trick which we have explained above – locate the front door, and then work your way through the plan. Is it easy to get to grips with the layout?
Now identify the location of the kitchen, is this easy to find?
Now repeat the process for the 3D-type presentation. Is it any easier?
This subject is important to us because we are very tempted to produce more sophisticated images like some of our competitors but we are not always sure whether this actually helps with the process of understanding the architect's plans, and this is very important is the client is to make a valued judgement on various schemes which we usually produce.
Kitchen design companies usually produce these 3D perspective drawings included as part of their service, and I know quite a few people who have felt the final installed kitchen does not engender the same sense of space which the graphics seemed to.
Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.