You are currently viewing Designing Elevations

Designing Elevations

Designing Elevations: Would a chicken or an egg have arrived first if you had to choose? The egg is obviously the greatest choice… Floor Plans, rather than Eggs.


a rough sketch of the house’s layout

Last week, after seeing an elevation study drawing online, someone posed a straightforward question: which comes first, the floor plans or the elevations? Even if the floor plans arrive first, there is still time to discuss how the building’s front will appear. When I draught blueprints, I generally have a notion of how the elevations should appear, but that’s just the beginning.

Designing Elevations

Bob Borson’s How to Draw a House Floor Plan

I begin by imagining how I want the building mass to function. As a result, I consider not just the shapes and forms themselves, but also the space surrounding them and how they will interact. When you glance at the driveway, how do you feel? What kinds of rooms may be found in this view? are the massing of the structure and the vistas I want to produce once someone is inside. The most significant considerations during the first phases of floor layout are programming, room sizes, and closeness.


Outside Elevations in CAD

Take a look at the digital picture above. Isn’t it a little revolting? This is not a design elevation; it is a massing analysis, and it is the first of many phases to come. I’ve seen potato salad that looked better after a day in the sun. Because I’m not a caveman, I’d previously entered my hand-drawn floor design into Revit and walled off the front of the building. I provided guidance on height and pitch requirements. The image above was handed to me.


There is no question that it need extensive development.

Begin sketching out fresh massing concepts on top of a design.

As a result, after a few fast passes, there was a significant shift in size and proportion. Because the dimensions were all off, the first item that needed to be changed was the roof pitch. I began to consider where I would place windows and what type of design I would use on the top level of this roof. Customers desire a contemporary house, yet they reside in a location with more conventional design guidelines. So I attempted to strike a balance by incorporating both ancient and modern aspects into the design of my new house. My idea was to employ asymmetrical hierarchy and a homage to Sir Edwin Lutyens, my favourite Arts and Crafts architect, to bring together seemingly disparate styles and achieve the desired impact.

I know … So far, the most architecturally meaningful thing I can say about this is “asymmetrical hierarchy.” The term “asymmetry” refers to massing that is not symmetrical but maintains balance due to the arrangement of the features. In this scenario, having a hierarchy implies that various sections of the building, such as windows, doors, and so on, will be prioritised within the building massing.

You can get a sense of the room by watching the video above, which shows how it is currently set up. I’ll alternate between the floor layout and the elevations as they improve.


Buildings are shown from many perspectives.

After I’ve used the blockout to figure out the overall geometry of the structure, I’ll fill in all of the entrances and exits. I left out window openings in my first floor drawings because I wanted to observe how the building will appear from the outside before making any final choices. I had a basic notion of where the windows would go, but I didn’t make any final judgments until I saw how the elevation’s massing and proportions worked. Those with keen eyes will observe that the outer elevations of the drawings differed significantly from the plans.

Designing Elevations

Are you sure you know what it is?

drawing preliminary draughts of plans for a building’s exterior

So, here’s an example of an elevation study I conducted. If you want the truth, I have roughly 15 to 20 of these kind of studies. This is what I think of when people tell me I’m wasting time drawing elevations instead of using a computer. Each of these studies took me a few minutes, and no matter how fast you are at AutoCAD, Revit, or anything else, you will never be able to sketch as quickly as I can. It’s one thing if I didn’t understand how the writing process worked, but I don’t. So far, I’ve considered massing, scale, proportion, and even materiality. When it comes time to construct it, I’ll utilise computer-aided design software to ensure that the window sizes are appropriate for the building’s siding.


Plan modifications

It is typical to adjust the configuration of the floors as the exterior walls are built. Did you see the significant shift in approach that I mentioned? It was the mob at the door, if not that. To adjust the size and design of the entryway, I had to relocate the building’s footprint. As a result, I constructed a tiny covered porch over the front entrance. This enabled me to adjust the pitch of my roof and personalise the entry.


exterior elevation sketch

This is the final draught of the strategy I’ve been developing… This is an interior drawing that depicts how we see the home expanding in the future. It is not intended for public viewing. My project team will begin importing this design into Revit to ensure that the size I’ve chosen in the sketch is appropriate for the construction materials we’ll be employing. Now that we have a broad notion of how the home will appear, it should be simple to apply similar concepts to the other sides of the structure.

So, to rephrase the original issue, which comes first, the floor plan or the elevation? The floor plans are always first, but there is a lot of back and forth between the floor plans and the elevations, thus most designers must be adaptable in their design.


Leave a Reply