Representation in graphic form of a building or part of a building, either as a stage in the planned construction of an actual edifice or as an imaginative act in its own right. The development of the form in Western art has reflected not only developments in architectural and graphic techniques but also broader developments in the status and role of the architect.
In the Middle Ages architectural drawings served to visualize a building design and to establish its dimensions; they depicted the whole or part of a building, individual details and the architectural ornament of church furnishings such as choir-stalls or sedilia. The earliest surviving medieval architectural drawing is the monastic plan made c. 820 of St Gall Abbey, which was probably produced as an ‘ideal’ rather than as a working plan (for further discussion and illustration see St Gall Abbey, §2). Romanesque and Early Gothic churches were normally built without preliminary drawings, but a few architectural drawings survive from the 13th century, among them the portfolio of ...