Architectural sections are glimpses into a structure that we can never see in real life. They are some of the most valuable perspectives within architectural plans. A section is an internal view of a structure that cuts through it vertically. Sections are similar to plans. However, where a plan slices through a structure horizontally, a section does the same vertically. Akin to writing, considering the visual language of a section can be insightful. Beyond the basic drawings of staircases, walls, and doors, additional accessories that end up on the page are integral: they help to focus a viewer’s eye and indicate areas of focus. This article will show you ten additional accessories to architectural sections that help to make them beautiful.

A Human Figure 

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Human Figures in a Section of the Phillips Exeter Academy Library_The Manual of Section

The inclusion of a human figure is a simple but unforgettable addition to a section. The inclusion of a human figure allows a structure’s scale to become apparent. Placing human figures throughout a section can also help a viewer understand projected paths of human circulation, acting as a visual guide to explain the thought process behind a structure’s design.

Illustrations of Life 

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Illustrations of Life in a Section of the Slate School_Patriquin Architects

Illustrations of life are contingent on human figures within a section. By creating more detailed illustrations of future life (say, a classroom, like in the section above), sections are able to give emotional colour to the structures they aim to sell. This can be extremely useful when considering architectural bids, where illustrations of life within a section can help the people commissioning the structure to be sold on both a structure and a way of life.

Colour 

 

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Colour in a Section of the Park Towers_LTL Architects.jpg

Colour is another important addition that makes sections more beautiful. Colour can help make a structured pop on a page, creating visual contrasts that help make experiencing architecture more interesting. Colour can also be used to highlight continuous elements in a structure, such as a floor and ceiling plates in this section detail of Park Towers by LTL Architects.

Context of a Structure 

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The Context of a Structure in a Section of the Ford Foundation Headquarters_The Manual of Section

The context of a structure is another beautiful detail to add to a section. This addition allows a viewer to understand how a structure would fit into its surrounding environment – something that is an increasingly important concern for city planners who want to retain the uniqueness of their local urban environments. This section of the Ford foundation’s headquarters in New York is a great example of how the illustration of New York’s iconic urban environment around the headquarters help a viewer understand how the structure fits into its surroundings.

Topographical Context 

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Topographical Context in a Section of the Seaside House_David Deusch

Within the inclusion of external context, topographical context can be very useful to help a viewer understand how a structure sits within its natural environment. In this section of a seaside house by David Deusch, the structure’s design begins to make sense considering its orientation along the hillside and facing towards a lake.

Flora 

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Flora in a Section of the Bosch Verticale_Archdaily

A key part of topographical content, the inclusion of flora – both inside and outside a structure – adds a new layer of texture to a section. The inclusion of flora in sections can also be integral to understanding a structure’s ecological measures, as seen in this detail of the green balconies of the Bosco Verticale in Milan.

Material Detailing 

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Material Detailing in a Section of the United States Pavillion at Exo 1967_The Manual of Section

The inclusion of material details is another beautiful addition to a section. Similar to colour detailing, material detailing allows for a structure to take on more vivid imagery in the mind of a viewer and can emphasize material and colour contrasts that are a vital aspect of interior architecture and design. An example of this idea can be found in the material detailing of the United States Pavilion at Exo ’67 in Montreal, Canada, where the detailing of the patchwork nature of the internal orb helps emphasize its material contrast to the clean lines of the other aspects of the structure’s interior.

Roof Detailing 

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Roof Detailing in a Section of the Rolex Learning Center_Manual of Section

A unique opportunity within a section is the chance for roof detailing. Considering plans do not include roofs in their diagrams, roof detailing in sections is both an interesting and unique addition to the diagram of a structure. In this section of the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland, the detailing of the roof allows for its unique undulating surface to be fully apparent.

Natural and Artificial Lighting

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Lighting in a Section of the Okanagan College Center for Excellence in Sustainability_Archdaily

The inclusion of lighting in a section relates to the visual texturization of a structure. By including the path of light through a structure, a section can help a viewer get a better understanding of how a structure would feel when it was experienced in real life.

Internal Cavity Detailing

Internal Cavity Detailing in a Section of the Norte Dame du Haut_Manual of Section

A section enables us to see new perspectives of a structure by vertically cutting through a structure. One such new perspective is into walls and insulation spaces – something that is not easy to depict through an overhead plan. This section of Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut in France is a great example of this. The detailing of the hollow space of the roof, the unique cutouts on the left-hand side of the structure, and the solidity of the brick wall on the structure’s right-hand side help emphasize the contrast between airiness and density within the structure, helping to create a better visual understanding of the structure.

References

Boeri Studio, 2014. Section. [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/777498/bosco-verticale-stefano-boeri-architetti/564e7cf6e58ece8c420003b2-bosco-verticale-stefano-boeri-architetti-section?next_project=no> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

CEI Architects, n.d. Okanagan College Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation. [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/173726/okanagan-college-centre-of-excellence-in-sustainable-building-technologies-and-renewable-energy-conservation-cei/5015f4a528ba0d1598000373-okanagan-college-centre-of-excellence-in-sustainable-building-technologies-and-renewable-energy-conservation-cei-section-natural-lighting-winter> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Deusch, D., n.d. Architectural Section: Seaside HOuse. [image] Available at: <https://dave-deusch.artstation.com/projects/Vgd1Pg> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Lewis, P., Tsurumaki, M. and Lewis, D., 2016. Ford Foundation Headquarters by Kevin Roche John DinKelso Associates (1968). [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/793424/studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing/57b42b57e58ece7dc10001c4-studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing-photo> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Lewis, P., Tsurumaki, M. and Lewis, D., 2016. Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/793424/studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing/57b42adfe58ece8ae3000193-studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing-photo> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Lewis, P., Tsurumaki, M. and Lewis, D., 2016. Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis I. Kahn (1972). [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/793424/studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing/57b42b71e58ece8ae3000195-studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing-photo> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Lewis, P., Tsurumaki, M. and Lewis, D., 2016. Rolex Learning Center by SANAA (2010). [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/793424/studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing/57b42c33e58ece8ae3000199-studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing-photo> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Lewis, P., Tsurumaki, M. and Lewis, D., 2016. United States Pavillion at Exo ‘67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). [image] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/793424/studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing/57b42b9be58ece7dc10001c5-studying-the-manual-of-section-architectures-most-intriguing-drawing-photo> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

LTL Architects, 2004. Section Perspective of Retail Zone. [image] Available at: <http://ltlarchitects.com/park-tower> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Patriquin Architects, 2017. Slate School, North Haven, CT. [image] Available at: <http://www.patriquinarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/SUSTAINABLE-CLASSROOM-PERGOLA.jpg> [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Author

Aaditya Bhasker he is an undergraduate student of Architecture and Urban-Studies at Haverford College. He hopes to channel his passion for architecture into social justice work surrounding housing reform in India. Outside academia, they also enjoy watching movies, reading, and hiking with their dog in Hong Kong, where they currently lives

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