Home » BIM and Building Design » Elevations and Perspective: Representation Methods in Architecture

architecture perspective drawing

Elevations and Perspective: Representation Methods in Architecture

Discover everything about elevations and perspective in architecture: from definition to evaluation challenges. Historical insights and geometric aspects

Both the elevation and perspective serve as graphical expressions through which professionals communicate not only the physical structure of a building but also its distinctive character.

In this article, we will gain a better understanding of what these two representation techniques entail. Furthermore, we will explore how it’s feasible today to swiftly create prospects and perspectives in architecture with minimal effort, thanks to an architectural design software.

Visualization of the prospect created with Edificius

Elevation view created with Edificius

The Anatomy of the Elevation

Elevation Geometry and Graphics.  Geometrically, elevation is obtained by projecting the outlines of an object onto a vertical plane. This representation employs specific graphic conventions, such as lines of equal thickness, except for the ‘ground line,’ which stands out due to its greater thickness. This method provides a clear and detailed view of the external facades of buildings.

Elevation in Architectural History

From Vitruvius to Raphael The concept of the prospect was first theorized by Vitruvius under the term ‘ortographia.’ Subsequently, Leon Battista Alberti emphasized its role in architectural design, while Raphael, in his letter of 1519 to Pope Leo X, established the prospect as a crucial element in architectural representation. The introduction of the free facade in the Modern Movement further transformed the conception of the prospect, granting it greater flexibility and innovation.

Elevation and Senses in Architecture

Beyond Simple Representation In architecture, elevation extends beyond mere graphical representation. It is a detailed diagram, often including measurements and other information, to precisely describe the form of a building. Typically, prospects are created for all main facades, unless the building is symmetrical or regular, in which case a lower number of prospects may suffice for complete understanding.

Elevation in Architecture: from Geometric Definition to the Role of Building Parameter

Elevation isn’t merely an architectural component. It contributes to urban identity. The variety of elevations in cities can outline stories, styles, and eras, having an impact on constructing a diverse and dynamic city, reflecting the plurality of visions and approaches in the world of architecture. The prospect, as a building parameter, plays a crucial role in urban design.

What is Perspective in Architecture?

Perspective is an artistic representation technique of objects in space, used in drawing, sculpture, and painting. Its essence lies in creating a visual illusion on the observer’s retina, resembling as closely as possible the visual experience of real objects. Perspective is based on the scientific principles of optics, aiming to faithfully reproduce the depth and proportions of objects, giving them a three-dimensional dimension on a two-dimensional surface. Throughout the history of art, perspective has undergone evolutions and changes, progressing from a more fragmented representation to more advanced techniques such as central projection in the Renaissance.

How is Perspective Used Today?

Perspective continues to play a significant role in contemporary architecture, although the methods of use may vary. Here are some ways in which perspective is employed in architecture today:

  • Project Visualization
    • Professionals use perspective to create realistic visualizations of their projects. This allows presenting clients and stakeholders with a detailed preview of how the project will appear once completed. Advanced software enables generating three-dimensional models that effectively integrate the surrounding environment, offering an accurate perspective;
  • Environmental Impact Study
    • Perspective is used to assess the visual impact of new structures within an urban or landscape context. This aids professionals in designing and integrating new constructions harmoniously with the surrounding environment;
  • Interior Design
    • Within buildings, perspective is employed to plan and visualize interior spaces. It helps make decisions on interior design, including furniture, lighting, and arrangement of architectural elements;
  • Immersive Experiences
    • With the advancement of technology, perspective is used to create immersive experiences through virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). This enables professionals and clients to virtually explore architectural spaces before they are built;
  • Design Communication
    • Perspective is a crucial tool in design communication. Visual representations effectively transmit design ideas to other team members, clients, and the general public.

Exploring Contemporary Innovations in Architectural Perspectives

1. Technology and Parametric Design

Technology has opened new scenarios in perspective design, and BIM design is at the forefront of this revolution. Professionals, utilizing advanced tools, can now streamline the process of creating perspectives and prospects.

2. Producing Architectural Elevation views with BIM, Rendering, and New Digital Technologies

In the context of Building Information Modeling (BIM), the production of architectural elevations is not solely about graphical representation but a complex expression of integration between design, visualization, and technology. The use of BIM enables architects to create perspectives that are not only accurate and detailed but also aesthetically rich and informative.

Starting from the core of BIM, the 3D modeling, elevations are generated as direct extensions of the informative model. This means that every element of the project, from the structure to MEP systems, is accurately represented, allowing a complete view of the building even before its realization. Adding materials, textures, and architectural details to the BIM model further enriches the perspective, providing an almost real image of the final appearance of the building.

The digital revolution in the field of BIM has led to the integration of advanced rendering tools. Leveraging the computing power of modern GPUs, these tools can produce photorealistic images that showcase light, shadows, reflections, and textures in an incredibly realistic manner. This is particularly useful in presenting projects to clients, helping them visualize the final product in a real context.

New technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are further expanding the visualization possibilities in BIM. Through AR, for instance, digital perspectives can be overlaid on real-site views, offering an immersive and interactive experience. VR, on the other hand, allows virtually exploring the building, providing a spatial understanding that goes well beyond traditional 2D perspectives.

In conclusion, the integration of BIM, advanced rendering, and new digital technologies is radically transforming how we produce and present architectural elevations. This approach not only enhances efficiency and accuracy in the design process but also enriches the visual experience, making project communication more effective and engaging.

3. Sustainability and Green Elevations

The urgent need for environmental sustainability has triggered a revolution in architectural elevations. From green facades that promote biodiversity to design solutions that maximize the use of sunlight, sustainability manifests in multiple facets in contemporary elevations. Today, many elevations are transformed into true urban ecosystems, highlighting how environmental consciousness is shaping architectural design. The fusion of aesthetics and sustainability is redefining the perception of elevations, projecting contemporary architecture towards a future centered on harmony between humans and the environment.

Architectural elevation drawings: How to Create them Quickly

Follow the steps indicated in this video and get all the elevation views you are interested in.