The Role Of Perspective In Architecture

published On Mar 15 2017

In this technology driven age that we exist in, it is but natural to question the role of perspective drawing in the architectural profession. All architects transportate back and forth between three-dimensional virtual reality and actual physical reality, several times, in the time span of a single work day. The architectural studio and workspace is slowly seeing a tip towards virtual modeling over physical modeling. With constant innovation and re- innovation, the virtual modeling industry is solidifying its grasp on the architectural modeling market, every second of every day. Such a scenario calls for stocktaking and re- evaluating the importance of perspective in the architectural profession today. Let us now take a closer look at the scope of the role played by a perspective drawing in the profession in present day and age.


Conceptualizing is the foremost process in designing a space. For most architects, conceptualizing means a rather quick paced brainstorming session, which manifested into physical concepts in the form of quick, rough perspective sketches. Architects mostly choose perspective as a tool for conceptualization over 3- D modeling, rough perspectives are quick and easier to make than most models produced via modeling softwares. Not only this, conceptualization level perspective sketches are low maintenance. They require a basic medium like ink and paper; meanwhile, a laptop, table, software, socket and much more forms the basic requirement of a 3-D model. Not only this, conceptualization is supposed to be an extremely creative process for the architect, it is when the architect’s creativity is at its peak and most architects still believe sketching to be a more natural and organic way of harnessing their creative thoughts. Thus perspective is a more preferred tool for conceptualization even today.

File:Napkin Sketch.jpg

Image credit: Wikimedia commons/ Audrey.m.mckee


The visualizing process in architecture, especially in the office studios, appears to be dominated by technology, more often than not. The final end product models, shown to clients are mostly virtual three-dimensional model renders. This somewhat gives rise to the illusion of perspective as a tool of visualization to have become extinct. What most nondesigners and architects do not know is that, architecture is a team sport. An individual is mostly never single-handedly responsible for the complete execution of a project. In bigger scale projects many teams come together to execute a whole project. Now here comes the main use of perspective drawings, communication. How does the design communicate with the virtual modeling team on what has to be modeled? The answer is quick perspective sketches. It is via these sketches that the final renders are produced, which are often posted on websites and showcased to clients. Also, many architects feel that directly sitting down on a software and developing concepts into visuals often leads to repetition of previous ideas and elements due to the monotony of the software program. Thus, perspective is an essential tool used in the visualization process for both communication and design.


Image credit: Flickr/Stephanie Richard


Perspectives are still an extremely crucial part of all architectural presentations, client, public or otherwise. The reason is fairly simple, why is a cow on every Britannia cheese packaging? The answer is authenticity. Just like a cow provides a proof of the authenticity of a cheese brand, similarly, perspective drawings act as a proof of the authenticity of an architecture studio. It proves that the architect is a good old team leader and falls among the likes of men like Brunelleschi, who along with being master builders were also master artists and visionaries. It proves that even though the architect stands from the future it takes from the past and moves forward. Who wouldn’t put their trust in an architect like that? Thus, making perspective an important part of sales and marketing for any architecture firm.

Image credit: Flickr/Allan T Adams


Even though a set of working drawings is supposed to be the bible for any construction site, often contractors, especially on smaller projects, are not experienced enough and need to further be explained the tasks to be performed on site. Perspective sketches, come extremely handy in such particular instances. It is so because they give the contractor a clear understanding of depth and ratio and scale. A realistic perspective of the space is often a must, to explain to the contractor or labourer. Manier times on the site, the architect has to sketch out a perspective of a certain detail for a vendor or to explain to a mason. Thus in such cases, it is a must for an architect to have a steady foundation in perspective drawing to establish his authority. Thus, making perspective an important tool for clear communication both on site and off site.

It is clear from all the above that even in the current times, perspective drawing has its own functionality and use. Perspectives are an irreplaceable and frequently used tool for communication by all architects. They use it to communicate with clients, draftsmen, contractors and more. Even in this world of high-speed softwares and technology, perspective drawing still stands strong. It is a craft that has not become redundant in over many centuries and is here to stay for much more.

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