Architectural elevations are a classic mode of communication for architects, the third in a tripartite along with plans and section drawings. These orthographic projections lay out a structure’s external appearance, usually as a flat depiction of one façade. A typical elevation drawing shows what can be seen from ground level upwards, but is more akin to a diagram than a real-world representation of a building, since it lacks perspective. Generally, three-dimensional qualities are indicated through the variation of line weights and the graphic addition of shadows.
Elevations can reveal a range of information, from dimensions and materials to assemblies and structure. Increasingly, architects are exploring the potential of the elevation as a way to test formal and spatial ideas. The following collection of architectural elevation drawings show the relationship between orthographic projections and built projects. Drawn from across the world, they represent a survey of contemporary designs focused on rethinking traditional façades, enclosures and building envelopes.