Paul Geraedts

From clay tablet to 3D visualization: a brief history of drawing architecture

Ever since humans started building things, they have been drawing architecture designs. Some of the earliest drawings found at archeological sites regard building, designing and architecture drawings. Throughout the ages, this art has come a long way and in order to understand the future, it’s good to look at the history of drawing architecture. 

The earliest evidence of drawing architecture

The earliest certain evidence of architectural drawings can be found in archeological findings from the earliest civilizations. It’s certain that the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians started drawing their desired buildings before constructing them. Some of the earliest examples of architectural drawings are ground plans. The statue of Gudea (2200 B.C.) from Mesopotamia (present-day IraQ) is a good example of early drawing architecture. Gudea was a ruler and his statue has a ground plan of a building or temple that he has commissioned or built in his lap.  

The statue of Gudea is the first know architecture plan
Via Smarthistory

Romans and Greeks

In our Western civilization it could be said that the Romans and Greeks have laid the foundations of architecture. For centuries, a majestic building would have significant Greek/Roman influences: ornamented pillars, marble floors and steps in front of it to articulate its purpose or greatness. From these times, many architecture drawings have been kept. As with many things, the Roman drawing architecture finds its origins in Greece. 

Roman innovations

However, the Romans were also great innovators and they quickly adopted new construction techniques, used new materials, and uniquely combined existing techniques with creative design to produce a whole range of new architectural structures such as the basilica, triumphal arch, monumental aqueduct, amphitheatre, granary building, and residential housing block. Many of these designs are timeless and still stand tall and strong today. 

Medieval architecture 

The medieval times are often seen as a dark science-deprived period that didn’t bring many new innovations. However, from an architectural perspective a lot of stuff was happening. Architecture drawing from this period features new features such as rib vaults, gargoyles and flying buttresses to divide the immense weight of cathedral roofs. During this period, architecture innovations made it possible to create higher and bigger cathedrals. One of the best examples of medieval Gothic architecture is the Notre Dame in Paris. 

Early modern to modern drawing architecture

After the Renaissance period (AD 1500) architectural innovations and styles followed each other up rapidly. From revivals of Roman periods (classicism and Neoclassicism) all the way to styles that were never seen before, such as Art Deco and Art Nouveau. The profession of draftsman became much more of an expressive art and as technology continued to develop, buildings became higher and bigger. In the early 20th century complete halls were filled with lines and lines of draftsmen (yes, it was mainly a male profession) as skyscrapers had to be designed in Manhattan, Chicago and other worldwide cities. 

Contemporary: digital, 3D and online

And that brings us to the most recent period of drawing architecture: our contemporary, digital era. Architectural drawings on paper aren’t that common anymore, and three-dimensional drawing programs have officially taken over. That being said: being an architect is still very much a skilled profession. 

Architecture drawings made available online

One of the newest developments in architecture drawing is making your 3D drawing available online, as an interactive, walk-through model. This will enable your client to truly understand your architectural drawings. With Xuver, you can turn your 3D drawing (SketchUp, Revit, ARCHICAD or IFC file) in an interactive 3D drawing within moments. Follow the button below to start using Xuver today. 

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