30 Graphs and Charts to Boost Your Visual Presentations


VM Houses. Image via BIG + JDS + PLOT=BIG + JDS

VM Houses. Image via BIG + JDS + PLOT = BIG + JDS

Communicating ideas through imagery are central to the design process. In client presentations, site visits, or public exhibitions, we are required to represent important aspects clearly to the receiver, who is often not an architect. Furthermore, producing detailed architectural drawings can allow us to identify and modify certain aspects of the design. 

Diagrams and charts, because of their non-spatial characteristics, are often neglected until the last moments of the design process, however, they can be a useful tool for analysis and organization. Taking the time to think and articulate these elements yield positive results, from understanding and organizing a design process to providing an unexpected change of idea.

In an effort to enhance the graphics and diagrams in architectural representation, check out this series of case studies to help you boost the visual, analytical, organizational power of your work. 

01. Programmatic Representation:

+ Distribution of the program:

Graphs and diagrams can be used to identify different functional parts of a scheme, allowing for a more engaging analysis such as that presented in the Seattle Central Library / OMA + LMN. Furthermore, graphics and diagrams of hybrid schemes allow us to understand the relationship between building uses.


Biblioteca Central de Seattle. Image via OMA + LMN

Biblioteca Central de Seattle. Image via OMA + LMN

Centro Cultural Mariehøj. Image via WE Architecture + Sophus Søbye Architects

Centro Cultural Mariehøj. Image via WE Architecture + Sophus Søbye Architects

Museo de Arte Nelson-Atkins. Image Cortesía de Steven Holl Architects

Museo de Arte Nelson-Atkins. Image Cortesía de Steven Holl Architects

+ Specific activities and uses:

Throughout the design process, specific functions and elements will emerge which merit an individual in-depth study. Using graphs and diagrams in these specific investigations allows us to portray a wealth of information, such as phasing, capacity, and circulation.


Nest We Grow . Image via College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

Nest We Grow . Image via College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

Biblioteca Central de Seattle. Image via OMA + LMN

Biblioteca Central de Seattle. Image via OMA + LMN

Edificio Jardín Hospedero y Nectarífero. Image via HUSOS

Edificio Jardín Hospedero y Nectarífero. Image via HUSOS

Museo de Arte Nelson-Atkins. Image Cortesía de Steven Holl Architects

Museo de Arte Nelson-Atkins. Image Cortesía de Steven Holl Architects

02. Contextual Representation:

+ Implementation / visual:

When establishing links with existing topographies, buildings, and views, diagrams can convey observations which would be more difficult to describe the structured, technical nature of planning/detail drawings.


Casa Rural. Image Cortesía de RCR Arquitectes

Casa Rural. Image Cortesía de RCR Arquitectes

A/D/O. Image via nARCHITECTS

A/D/O. Image via nARCHITECTS

Edificio de Antropología Tozzer. Image Cortesía de Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Edificio de Antropología Tozzer. Image Cortesía de Kennedy & Violich Architecture

+ Solar Orientation / Climate

Using charts can be effective for a solar and climatic study, describing a wealth of precise data in one drawing, such as wind direction, solar angles in summer / winter, maximum precipitation. 


Nest We Grow . Image via College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

Nest We Grow . Image via College of Environmental Design UC Berkeley + Kengo Kuma & Associates

Quito Publishing House. Image via Estudio A0

Quito Publishing House. Image via Estudio A0

Centro Cultural La Gota - Museo del Tabaco . Image via Losada García

Centro Cultural La Gota – Museo del Tabaco . Image via Losada García

03. Spatial Representation:

+ Volumetric Construction:

Keeping a record of the evolution of a project is a common and effective way of understanding what tasks are completed, underway, or outstanding. Using graphs and diagrams to analyze and communicate a project schedule can allow the team to quickly explore and modify the process.


The Interlace. Image © OMA

The Interlace. Image © OMA

Energy Living . Image via M+ Group

Energy Living . Image via M+ Group

The Stealth Building . Image via WORKac

The Stealth Building . Image via WORKac

Mountain Dwellings. Image via BIG & JDS

Mountain Dwellings. Image via BIG & JDS

Mountain Dwellings. Image via BIG & JDS

Mountain Dwellings. Image via BIG & JDS

+ Study pieces:

Studying individual spatial components in a particular way can reveal a clear understanding and identification of constituent elements. Undertaking exclusive studies using graphics and diagrams allows us to imagine, communicate and test alternative design considerations. 


Casa YAS. Image via Estudio Arzubialde

Casa YAS. Image via Estudio Arzubialde

Edificio ONEMI . Image via Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos

Edificio ONEMI . Image via Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos

VM Houses. Image via BIG + JDS + PLOT = BIG + JDS

VM Houses. Image via BIG + JDS + PLOT = BIG + JDS

Casa Scout. Image via BAAG

Casa Scout. Image via BAAG

04. Construction Representation:

+ Structure and Materials

Representing the connection between different material elements through structural and construction graphics can allow us to more effectively organize the system, such as identifying construction phasing and logistics.


Taller de Arquitectura en el desierto. Image via Jorge Losada

Taller de Arquitectura en el desierto. Image via Jorge Losada

NASA Orbit Pavilion. Image © STUDIOKCA Architecture

NASA Orbit Pavilion. Image © STUDIOKCA Architecture

Colegio Alianza Francesa Jean Mermoz. Image via Guillermo Hevia García + Nicolás Urzúa Soler

Colegio Alianza Francesa Jean Mermoz. Image via Guillermo Hevia García + Nicolás Urzúa Soler

+ System operation

Diagrams allow a clear understanding of how systems and assembly will perform, essential for detecting errors and incorporating new elements.


Pabellón Josey de la Fundación Dixon Water. Image via © Lake Flato Architects

Pabellón Josey de la Fundación Dixon Water. Image via © Lake Flato Architects

Edificio Jardín Hospedero y Nectarífero. Image via HUSOS

Edificio Jardín Hospedero y Nectarífero. Image via HUSOS

Casa Meztitla. Image via EDAA

Casa Meztitla. Image via EDAA

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