Drawing a section drawing.


This will of course betray the fact that I have had zero training in architectural drawing. I understand what a section is, but I am having trouble actually producing one. Is there any depth to it? I mean, if you cut a building at a certain point do you show any details from walls or whatever that are further back? Or is the point to only show the lines of the things that have been cut by the section?

Wow, sorry, that probably makes no sense but I'm not even sure what terminology to use. Can someone give me a mini lesson or link me to something that might help me understand section drawings better?

Oct 27, 05 10:49 pm
Living in Gin

I usually show certain objects in elevation beyond the section cut if it helps the clarity of the drawing (also depends on whether it's a presentation drawing or for construction documents), but I put such stuff on a very light penweight or even a halftone pen.

Oct 27, 05 11:36 pm

guiggster, one way to understand what to draw would be to look at a bldg spread in record (or or some superior arch mag and compare sections with images and plans. see what's drawn, see what's in the photo ...

Oct 28, 05 12:05 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

try something like Francis Ching, 'Architectural Graphics'

yes, you should draw everything that you can see in elevation beyond the plane of the sectional cut. Usually you distinguish distance by line-weight: whatever is cut through is rendered solid, and whatever is in elevation is drawn lightly. more lineweights will help with making it readable.

Oct 28, 05 1:21 am


you also may want to look at Greg Lynn's Cardiff Bay Opera House. The project had beautiful "presentation" sections and elevations. Not a big fan of the project itself, but the drawings were beautiful. I know the project is in the book, Animate Form. I'm not sure if it is on his site or not, online.

Oct 28, 05 8:40 am

I think Gin said it best - you draw what you want to show.

Sometimes, you are more interested in the shape enclosed by the lines of the section - and you show this by blackening the walls, and not showing anything beyond.

Sometimes you want to show the 'room', then you'd draw in the 'interior elevation' in the background of the section.

Sometimes, you want to show the construction details inside the walls/roof/floor, and so these get the detail work.

So, the answer is "it depends".

Oct 28, 05 9:32 am

Bim software like revit and archicad can extract sections from your model, which can be modify in section views adding more details. This way you can concentrate on your section instead of how to make a section. You're probably using autocad, the number one software architects absolutely love, you'd be better off with the advice given above.

Oct 28, 05 12:34 pm

rock it Paul Rudolph style and do some section perspectives

Oct 28, 05 1:01 pm

cooper unions, "the education of an architect"
first printing.

Oct 28, 05 2:08 pm
Devil Dog

gruen, i like your answer, because that really is the case.

guiggster, are you in school or working? if you're working, i would suggest looking first at a previous set of documents that the office has done. this will give you an idea of what a section is, but also what the office expects in a section drawing.

and there is some cross over between 'construction drawings' and presentation drawings. all drawings are presentation drawings, only the audience changes. speak to your audience.

line weight. if you don't understand this concept, we might need to take a step back.

Oct 28, 05 2:55 pm
Kadam- F

Huhh... Greg Lynn's project!!!... Can he cut a section???

Oct 29, 05 4:28 pm
Per Corell


This thing about acturly work a section is realy a simple math. thing.
You usealy have 3 drawings -top, side and front. if you draw a section as a line on the top view ,just remember that what is x on one plane are z on another plane ,so to transfere the line you drawn ontop the top view, you transfere points knowing that what you measure as x values there are z values on the front view what you measure as y values there are also y values on the front view, then knowint that what you measure as x values on the top plane shuld be read as z values on the side view and transfering all the points you can measure on the known plan(top) to the front view, will point for point draw out your section. ------- all done in an instance in CAD a bit more trouble by manual. But "sections" are all about knowing how to transfere points from one plane to another to end up with the section calculated from strait a line on one plane ,realy it's the basics in CAD.

Oct 29, 05 5:28 pm

i'm also having a problem understanding sections. maybe we should write a letter to our alum architecture department to tell them to implement such courses as Drafting...too much history of architecture courses at that school!

Oct 30, 05 4:43 pm

its what you don't draw that is important...

Oct 30, 05 4:55 pm

I like that our critics ask us to draw sections, then complain about them. How do you draw a section through a dimensionless, wireframe surface?

Oct 30, 05 7:40 pm
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

...and that's exactly why you should draw a section.

Oct 31, 05 3:01 am
Per Corell

Hasselhoff ; by measuring the dimentions as the calculations that yield the section are based on math. calculations. The computer know the dimentions othervise it wouldn't be able to shoe the mesh on the screen, acturly it is very simple calculations a line are what is between two points.
There also are easy calculations even at hand with a computer, that tell you the point where a line crosses a face. Still I will say that if you just understand how every point on a plane in 3D space are defined by it's projections to the two other planes , ---- then you know enough about sections. Enough to figure out the rest yourself.

Oct 31, 05 6:17 am
Living in Gin


Oct 31, 05 7:13 am


I don't know if he can personally cut a section, but it seems that one of his interns has the capability.

Oct 31, 05 8:50 am

Oct 31, 05 10:22 am

for construction documents...I don't show anything in elevation because i want the drawing to be focused on the technical aspects of the building's walls, ceiling, roof, insulation, floor, etc...

for the purpose of explaining the spaces, i draw the elevation and hatch the cut surface as solid...and sometimes even include furniture...

Oct 31, 05 12:27 pm

statement of intent

Oct 31, 05 12:30 pm

sorry. my bad

Oct 31, 05 1:12 pm
the cellardoor whore

you can still see sections in beyrouth, i went up one a few nights ago and there was this mural-esque poster that showed a handsome sniper frm the hey days dripping blood and tears, his head looking downwards. like a pieta without the mother. anyways, a tutor once told me that a section travels. i think its a bit more violent than that, more indiscrete.

Nov 1, 05 4:04 am
the cellardoor whore

indiscreet i meant

Nov 1, 05 4:04 am

the nice what??! you can't just stop half way through!

Jan 19, 17 7:43 am


Jan 19, 17 8:55 am

Show everything that is necessary. If it's not, then it's okay to omit. Like the old say, "less is more".

Jan 19, 17 5:22 pm


Jan 19, 17 6:25 pm

you can slice a building in infinite number of ways but sections are designed.

Jan 20, 17 3:29 pm
Jan 20, 17 9:08 pm

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May 6, 17 7:00 am

Hi, at the beginning of the year as a first grade i had the same question too. I am told that, we achieve the plan by passing horizontally a plane on the building and we get the section by passing vertically a plane on the building. Where to pass the plane depends on our project, the aim is to present unique or repetitive parts not only to give an inside look but to have a better understanding of the structure and structural elements too. 

Drawing by hand we use 2b for where the plane intersects the building, 6h for distant elements. Drawing by Autocad we create a thicker line fot intersection, thinner line for distance. Here is an example of how to do it.

If someone has a better way to think and understanding, please correct me, as i said i am a first grade.

May 6, 17 11:54 pm

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