Plans & Elevations.
This page will teach students about making Plans and Elevations. This is the name given to two-dimensional technical drawings used in the field of Environmental design. Plans and Elevations in Visual Communication Design are made manually and with digital-based methods using the media of vector-based and/ or CAD programs.
For more information on this drawing method and how it will apply to your VCE VCD exam, download the current VCAA ‘Technical Drawing Specifications’.
The purpose of Plans and Elevations
Plans and Elevations are used for a wide set of purposes including to promote, advertise, inform and depict the built environment. Two-dimensional drawings in Environmental design function in many ways and are constructed accordingly. The simpler forms of Plans and Elevations are used to illustrate and depict interiors in broad strokes. These kinds of drawings are known as concept sketches or schematics and are used to pitch an idea to a client or advertise a house or apartment to a prospective buyer. They are necessarily simple to illustrate only the space, flow, function and aspect of a building. Town planning drawings include more details such as dimensions, surrounding buildings, plotted shadow diagrams and set-backs, etc. These will often be presented on a number of sheets, each one depicting a different aspect of the proposed building. Construction drawings are done on large, often A1 sheets, and include a huge amount of detailed information. Several scales are used ranging from 1:200 for site plans to 1:10 for construction process details. These drawings also contain references to additional documentation set by engineers and other specialists.
Students in Visual Communication Design are exposed to a fairly narrow introduction to Plans and Elevations and deal only with the fundamental concepts of depictions of form in two-dimensions, conventions for lines and viewpoints that create Plans and Elevations and dimensioning. As such students are required only to produce schematic or concept Plans and Elevations of the type that would normally be used to pitch ideas simply to a client or to promote them to prospective purchasers.
WHO USES THEM, WHAT ARE THEY FOR?
Making Plans and Elevations.
Multiple Sheet presentation
Scales for environmental design
What is a plan?
Setting out a plan
1.1 Understand purpose and function
1.2 sketch Plan
Drawings for environmental design are made at a range of scales. As noted in the page linked here, the scale chosen depends on;
- the size of the building being depicted
- the function and purpose of the drawing
- the sheet size that will be used for printing
A more detailed examination of scale is shown on my page linked below.
The scale used in a drawing is nominated in the Title Block. To find out how to draw accurately in scale, explore my page on Scale, linked below.
2.1 Visualise Scales
Find 5 objects around you. Find 3 with dimensions smaller than yourself and 2 with dimensions bigger than you.
Grab a ruler or tape measure and measure the height, width and depth of each object. Write these dimensions down in a table.
Convert the dimensions for each object to sizes in millimetres for each of the following scales:
2.2 Use scales
Symbols in Plans and Elevations
Doors and Window symbols
Symbols in plan
Symbols in plan
Symbols in elevation
Furniture and fixtures symbols
Dining tables, chairs, stools, wash basins, sinks, toilets, beds, etc., are shown as simplified geometric line drawings made at the correct scale. When drawing symbols students need to measure objects carefully then divide the dimensions but the scale used. An example of how to draw furniture as a simplified graphic at scale is shown here.
There is a full range of symbols shown in the VCAA Technical Drawing Specifications resource (linked above).
3.1 Door and window symbols
3.2 Furniture and fixture symbols
Labels and dimensions.
Environmental design drawings are labelled PLAN and (direction) ELEVATION. Elevations are named by their orientation. One interesting point to note is that the name of an Elevation refers to the side of the building it is on and the direction one is facing when viewing that side. For example, if North is heading up the page on a Plan then the Elevation on the lower side of the Plan is South elevation yet a viewer would be looking North to see that side of the building. For clarification see the images below.
In addition, many drawings are also known as SECTIONS. A section is a slice across a building. However, sections are not a required part of VCE VCD. When one view is shown on one sheet, for example a floor plan at 1:50 may take up a whole A1 sheet, then the name of the view is written in the title box. When more than one view is shown on a sheet, the names of the views are written below each view.
Type used for labelling is fundamentally the same as used for 3rd Angle Orthogonal. Details for setting out labels are shown here.
Labels as they relate to North
Dimensions are constructed in a similar way to those used for 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing. However, three parallel dimension lines are used to measure three different aspects of a building these are;
- 1st line (closest to the building) external features such as doors and windows
- 2nd line internal walls, wall thicknesses, internal features
- 3rd line external overall dimensions
See illustration at right for explanation of dimensions in architecture.
Circles and arcs
Putting it together
Making a plan using digital media
4.1 Drawing plan
4.3 North point symbol
What is an Elevation?
An Elevation is the name given to a view of a side or vertical face of a building or structure. Elevations are drawn for each side of a building and named according to the orientation of the Plan. Exterior Elevations show the features seen from the outside of the building. They extend from one edge of a face to the other and as such they do not show wall thicknesses. They often show stylised textures to represent wall cladding. Interior Elevations show interior features in a stylised manner. They extend from one edge of an interior wall to the other and do not show wall thicknesses beyond the interior of a room.
Elevations show ground, floor and sometimes ceiling levels. These lines are referenced against heights above sea level as calculated in a land survey from a (TBM) Temporary Bench Mark which is located on the property by the surveyor. The height of this point may also serve as a ‘zero’ height point. Therefore, the dimensions on elevations measure heights.
Elevations are made at different scales according to the function of the drawing. Exterior Elevations are usually shown at the same scale as Plans and joinery detail elevations for kitchen, bathroom or studies are shown at a larger scale (for example, 1:20).
Example exterior elevations
Example interior elevation
Putting it together
Making a plan using digital media
5.1 Joinery details
What is a site plan?
A Site Plan is a drawing that shows how a building will sit within a site. A building should always be designed to maximise the potential of its site. Designing for function and aesthetics includes having an awareness of the site’s aspect, levels and fall of the land and surrounding vegetation, access roads and other features. A site plan is annotated to identify the direction of North, the title boundary (the edges of the property), heights measured above sea level and shown in relation to contour lines and other features of the land.
There is no greater example of a building that was designed in full awareness of a most spectacular site than Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939. Consider my picture of the house above with the Wright's site plan also shown above.
Example site plan
A title block on an environmental drawing is quite an elaborate part of the presentation. As one can see from the image, it contains much information about the project. Students of VCD are not expected to go to those lengths. The example drawings on this page show title boxes that are appropriate for student work. They should include;
- the title of the drawing
- the project title
- the student name
- date drawn
- North point indicator
- scale used
- sheet size
- reference to units used in the dimensions
Dimensions for setting out a title block can be found here on my page on 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing.
6.1 Title block
to the test
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