Architecture Drawing Projections

Architecture Drawing Projections




Architecture Drawing Projections are a means of representing three dimensional buildings, structures, detailed components, and other architecture related information onto two dimensional surfaces. They are used by architecture students and professionals alike to communicate designs and ideas to tutors, peers, clients, and contractors.

There are different types of projections like orthographic and perspective, each with unique attributes that are used to create different visual effects.

Having the knowledge and understanding of how and when to use these is an essential skill in the field of architecture. You need to be able to pick the right architecture drawing projections to express your ideas effectively.

Knowing the various drawing projections can also come in handy when using 3D modelling software that can have special views in which you can export your model.

Ultimately, the best architecture drawing projection to present your design will depend on the specific needs of your project. And you may have to experiment with different types and see what works best for your particular scenario.

You may also find yourself using a combination of architecture drawing projections at various stages of your design project to convey your design thinking.

Thus, being aware of the different types of drawing projections will equip you with a variety of options to relay your designs to your target audience.

So, in order to help you out this post will be looking at the various types of architecture drawing projections with the help of some illustrations.

Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!



In the graphical sense, projection is the technique used to represent a three-dimensional object onto a flat two-dimensional plane or surface with the help of projection lines or rays. The projection lines or rays are imaginary lines between the 3D object, the 2D image plane and the observer’s eye.

There are two main types of projection – Parallel and Perspective.

The following flow chart will help you picture the different projection classifications.

Architecture Drawing Projections

Parallel Projection

Parallel Projection

Parallel projection is a type of projection where the projection lines are parallel to one another. This means that the image that will be projected onto the 2D plane will be a true and accurate representation of the 3D object with no distortion.

This type of projection may appear to look less realistic but is really useful for exact measurements.

Parallel projection can be further classified into Orthographic and Oblique projections.

Orthographic projection

Orthographic projection is when the projection lines coming from the 3D object are orthogonal or in other words perpendicular to the 2D image plane.

This type of projection is most commonly used in architecture and particularly useful for creating technical drawings where clear and accurate representations of the building are required.

There are two types of Orthographic Projections – Multiview and Axonometric.

Multiview projection

Orthographic Multiview Projection

Multiview projection is a type of orthographic projection that produces six images called primary views of the 3D object that is being projected. These primary views are produced using either first angle or third angle projection schemes.

With first angle projection the views produced can be named – Front, Top and Right, while the third angle projection views can be named – Back, Bottom and Left.

In architectural drawing terms, the six primary views produced will include two plans and four elevations.

These types of projections are used in architectural drawings to communicate the design of a building. They can depict the external as well as internal parts of a building. They can also be used to show all the details and dimensions for the assembly and manufacturing of a complex 3D object – like an architectural detail.

As shown in the illustration, floor plans and sections can also fall under this type of architecture drawing projection. The main standout difference is the placement of the 2D image plane.

So, instead of being placed at a certain distance away from one of the surfaces of the 3D object, the 2D image plane is placed in a way that it slices through the 3D building or object. If the 2D image plane cuts horizontally through the 3D building or object it is considered a floor plan drawing and if it cuts vertically, it is a section drawing.

Axonometric projection 

Axonometric Projection

Axonometric projection is the other type of orthographic projection.

Here the projection lines are parallel to each other, and the 3D object is rotated around one or more of its axes. This enables it to show multiple sides of the 3D object in one single view which often creates more dynamic and visually appealing images.

There is some distortion in the resulting projection but you can still get a good sense of the object’s three dimensionality.

There are three main types of axonometric drawing projections:

Isometric projection has the three coordinate axes (x,y,z) of the 3D object projected at an angle of 120° to each other. The three axes are also projected at the same scale which is the full scale of the object, making it appear more symmetrical.

When drawn the vertical lines remain the same and the horizontal lines are drawn at an angle of 30° to the horizontal plane. This creates a to scale and proportionate representation of the 3D object.

It is the most used axonometric projection in architecture as it is quite easy to understand and create. You can find isometric grid papers to use as guides that will help you draw this type of projection.

Most architectural design and 3D modelling software will also have the option to display your projects in isometric view.

Dimetric projection has two of the 3D object’s coordinate axes projected at the same scale, while the third axis is projected at a different scale. This creates a skewed appearance.

In terms of the angles, two of the 3D object’s axes make equal angles with each other and the third angle can be larger or smaller than the other two.

This projection is used less often than isometric projection but it can create a more exaggerated look. It can be employed to depict more complex and irregular forms.

Trimetric projection is the third type of axonometric projection. Here the three axes of the 3D object are projected at different angles to each other and all three axes use different scales.

This is not used very often in architecture but it does have the potential to create quite a distorted drawing effect due to its non uniform representation of the 3D object. It can be used to create visual impact as certain features or aspects of a building can be emphasised.

Oblique projection

Oblique Projection

Oblique projection is when the projection lines coming from the 3D object intersect the 2D image plane at an oblique angle. The projection lines are parallel to one another but not perpendicular to the picture plane.

One surface of the 3D object remains true to size and has an angle of 90° between the two axes.

It is used in technical drawings and shows the overall shape and dimensions of an object. The result often appears distorted but is still quite visually informative. Oblique projections can be used to show the relationships between different parts of an object. They are mainly used for conceptual and illustrative purposes.

There are three types of oblique projections:

Cavalier projection is when one axis is horizontal (x), one axis is vertical (y) and the third axis (z) is drawn at an angle of 30°, 45° or 60° from the horizontal. All axes have dimensions that are drawn at actual scale.

It has a distorted appearance and lacks realism, which is why it is not commonly used for realistic representations. However it can be used to illustrate assembly drawings and show how elements of a design may come together.

Cabinet projection is also drawn similarly to cavalier projection. But the difference is in how the dimensions of the axes are drawn. The dimensions of the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) axes are drawn at full actual scale while the third axis (z) is drawn at half scale.

This creates a less distorted depiction of the 3D object when compared to the cavalier projection and makes the drawings more balanced and easier to comprehend. It can be used for similar applications to cavalier projections.

Military projection is also known as ‘Plan Oblique’ or ‘Planometric drawing’. It combines elements of orthogonal (orthographic) projection and oblique projection to create a hybrid representation of a 3D object.

The object is projected onto the picture plane at a 45° angle, similar to cavalier or cabinet projection. It includes an additional orthographic projection of the top view (or plan) directly above the oblique projection, depicted without distortion using accurate dimensions and orthogonal lines.

This projection can be used in technical drawing and architectural illustrations, particularly when showcasing complex or distinctive architectural elements.

Perspective Projection

Perspective Projection 1

Perspective Projection is where the rays converge to one or more vanishing points. There is a sense of depth and distance that is created in the image, with objects further away from the observer appearing smaller.

Perspective projections are often used to create more realistic and immersive images. These are great for architectural renderings for imagining how the building could look within its context. They help the viewer experience and understand the design of the building better.

There are various types of perspective projections depending on the number of vanishing points.

One point perspective
In one-point perspective, all parallel lines converge at a single vanishing point on the horizon. It can be used to show the interior of a room, street views and even the overall shape of a 3D object.

Two point perspective
In a two-point perspective, there are two vanishing points on the horizon. It can be used to show building exteriors, urban scenes and landscapes that show a building in context, as well as internal arrangements.

Three point perspective
In three-point perspective, there are three vanishing points on the horizon. This type of perspective is often used to create complex scenes, such as a cityscape. It can be drawn from either a bird’s eye view or a worm’s eye view.

Curvilinear perspectives
The images produced from four point perspective onwards begin to have more of a curved look to them. Curvilinear perspective also known as ‘fisheye perspective’ or ‘barrel distortion’ is used to achieve visually striking and dramatic representations of 3D objects and spaces. They are great to experiment with as they produce unconventional results.

Perspective Projection

Multi-point perspectives
There are also multipoint perspectives, also known as ‘many-point perspectives’ or ‘complex perspectives’. For this type of drawing all of the multiple vanishing points lie on the horizon line. Applications include urban environments, interiors and outdoor landscapes with complex geometries and irregular features.

Helpful Links


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Drawings for Architects: Construction and Design Manual

Architectural Graphics by Francis D. K. Ching

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In conclusion, understanding architecture drawing projections is essential for architects, designers, and anyone involved in the construction industry. These projections allow us to communicate our ideas effectively and visualise the final outcome. Architecture drawing projections serve as a common language that bridges the gap between our imagination and the physical reality of a building.

We hope this post helps you get to know the various different architecture drawing projections better.

Thank you for reading! 🙂



Your Comments


What is your favourite architecture drawing projection? Let us know in the comments below.

Also, feel free to share any tips you may have for drawing these projections.

Thank you!


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Written by Valanne Fernandes, a Part 1 Architecture graduate. Valanne is a content creator with First In Architecture, spending her time researching, writing and designing inspiring new content for the website.

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1 Comment

  1. Am very interested in planning
    Elevations ,Sections to the perspective views
    Thanks for the lessons


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