Read an Architectural Plan

At this point, you can then look at the dimensions that the architect has denoted on the architectural plan so that you can read the sizes of the spaces you are looking at. Architects have been using this process to design and show spaces for many years. Next, you can then look at the meaning of the symbols used by going to the symbol index usually located on the cover sheet. That way you have a reference point that will guide you to their meaning. An architect uses this to convey information without crowding the plan view and keeping the architectural content simple and easy to read for the viewer.

An architect has to be able to convey his intent of the design with the use of architectural plans so that everyone knows what he is intending to do. Look at the plan from the big content to the small content and what I mean by this is from large to small and then back out to large once more. An architect does this naturally and consistently all the time on a plan showing his design by denoting the walls usually with a double line, then along these lines he shows the doors, windows, text, arrows leading to text. Then come the detail call outs usually shown as a circle with a number and text enclosed inside of the circle. This all conveys information in an organized manner with proper linking to all areas of the plan that the information is connected to. This could be the elevations, sections, details, etc…

By using these links, you can navigate to all areas of the plans you are reading. By looking at let’s say the first floor plan, you can see a detail call out on one of the walls shown on the floor plan and by looking at what that says, the sheet number and the detail number together will direct you to that area of the plan and see what information is available for that particular wall and what information is necessary for the construction of that wall. Other information is required for that wall such as the kind of stone used, plaster used or other material that is noted for that particular wall will be there for the reader’s information. This could also be done with a bathroom plan, bedroom plan, kitchen or other spaces that require specifics to that room or area. Also, by using these links it ties the whole floor plan and other drawings set together in specific ways to convey the design with the architectural content simple in the layouts shown in the construction documents.

For clarification, please keep in mind that the construction documents comprise the contracts, emails, drawings, designs, sketches, all printed documents, etc… as part of the package. It is all comprehensive and it all becomes a legal document for the implementation of the contract for construction which is what these plans have become. However as I digress still keep in mind that this is a systematic way of reading an architectural plan and if one is able to understand and use this skill, a great amount of pleasure can be derived for time to come. Enjoy!