Elevation Drawings
An architectural elevation is subset of orthographic projection drawings wherein the projection plane is positioned near to, but not intersecting the objects or space of interest. Elevations are useful for describing the exterior composition of a building, and the way in which it sits on a site or in relation to neighboring buildings.
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Elevation Drawings

A special case of parallel projection , and more specifically a type of orthographic projection, an elevation may be understood as a section drawing wherein the cut plane is positioned outside of the object or space under consideration.

Common Types

Building Elevation

This drawing is used to show the exterior facade of a building. Context for the surrounding spaces (trees, buildings) as well as people (silhouettes) are often included to help visualize the space. It is read in conjunction with plans and sections to locate openings and to coordinate other features between the various facades and the interior and exterior. Typical Scale: 1/8"=1' to 3/8"=1'.

Partial or Enlarged Elevation

This drawing is used to show a portion of the elevation in more detail. In practice, this drawing is used extensively in documentation for creating shop drawings and for locating elements for construction. The view is fine enough to allow dimensioning and to make call-outs for construction details.

Partial or enlarged elevations may include context, such as the surrounding elements around a door. However, they may also show the element in isolation. This 'flattening' of elements is necessary for documentation or for creating cut files for elements that are very complex or rotated at angles not perpendicular to the plane of the view.

Interior Elevation

This drawing is used to show the surface treatments and locations for elements on the interior of the building. They can be used for spaces of all scales, from the fixture locations and material patterning of a bathroom, to the balcony height and acoustic paneling locations in a performing arts theater.

Conventions of Line Weight and Type

Line weight , or the visual lightness or darkness and width of a line, are conventionally employed in plan drawings as follows:

As there are no cuts through the building being depicted in a typical elevation, line weights are the primary instrument through which to establish primary, secondary, and tertiary elements, and to convey the depth of the facade and surrounding context.

In an elevation that only uses line work, hatches and line types may also be used to show material texture or pattern. In construction documentation, rather than recreating each texture type accurately with line work, these are often conveyed through standard patterns that correspond with a legend or key that would appear on each drawing.

Where to Cut an Elevation

All elevations are basically sections as well. In some cases, where drawings have a level of complexity, in order to make an elevation facing a certain part of the building, you will have to make a section in another part. In this case, a part of your drawing will be drawn as a section and another part will be drawn as an elevation.