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04 Apr 2016

LEGO Architecture meets BIM – Part 02: Model views


In the previous blog post we showed images of the 3D model we have created of the Villa Savoye from the Lego Architecture series. A 3D model is easy for all parties to understand what the proposed model will look like once ‘built’. However the industry still requires designers to produce ‘traditional’ information including plans, sections and elevations on drawing sheets. 

In order to create drawing outputs we must first create ‘views’ of the model. This post shows some of these views that can be created from the example 3D model.

All of the following views have been extracted directly from the 3D model. No 2D information has been applied to these views. This includes the level information shown in the Elevation and Section views which are generated automatically from the model.

At this stage these are simply views in the authoring tool, in this case Graphisoft ARCHICAD. Authoring tools allow different views to be created based on a variety of settings. Tools vary slightly in terms of views that can be created but all BIM authoring tools can produce plans, sections and elevations.


Plans are a horizontal cut of the model looking vertically down at the information in the model. The model can be cut at any height and typically these are cut for each floor level. Sometimes it is necessary to create multiple views of the same level to display different information.

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Image: Site plan view (click to enlarge)

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Image: Ground floor plan view (click to enlarge)

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Image: First floor plan view (click to enlarge)

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Image: Roof plan view (click to enlarge)


The following are the four primary elevations of the model. Elevations are vertical views of the model, typically taken to show each side of the building.

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Image: Elevation view 1 (click to enlarge)

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Image: Elevation view 2 (click to enlarge)

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Image: Elevation view 3 (click to enlarge)

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Image: Elevation view 4 (click to enlarge)


A section is similar to an Elevation except that it cuts through the model. This allows further internal elevations to be revealed as well as showing more detail about how the model is built.

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Image: Section view A-A (click to enlarge)

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Image: Section view B-B (click to enlarge)

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Image: Section view C-C (click to enlarge)

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Image: Section view D-D (click to enlarge)

3D Views

Whilst traditional views can be created directly from the model, the model itself can be used to create different views. Often model authors focus on creating a model to produce the traditional outputs that are required by those receiving the information (i.e. plans, elevations and sections). However these authors forget that views of the model are often more useful in terms of conveying information. These 3D views can be put directly onto drawing sheets and can help to convey information clearly to others. Obviously these views are not possible with a traditional 2D approach.

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Image: 3D view 1 (click to enlarge)

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Image: 3D view 2 (click to enlarge)

The model can be displayed as a whole, as above, or limited to particular information. In this case the views below show specific selections of Components/Elements.

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Image: 3D view of Site and Ground Floor levels (click to enlarge)

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Image: 3D view of First Floor level (click to enlarge)

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Image: 3D view of Roof level (click to enlarge)

Sliced 3D Views

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Image: 3D view cut horizontally (click to enlarge)

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Image: 3D view cut vertically (click to enlarge)

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Image: 3D view cut horizontally and vertically (click to enlarge)

Note: Graphisoft ARCHICAD can also create Interior Elevations and Details. These have been excluded for this particular project.


Views allow authors to manipulate the model in order to create the final output. This means if any Component/Element is moved in any view the other views in which they appear will automatically be updated. This is a major benefit over a traditional 2D approach which would mean each view being updated individually. This in the past could have also have been carried out by different authors. This traditional approach can lead to errors between each view and introduces risk to the process. This can then have an impact on time and cost when the ‘building’ is constructed from this information.

In this case the errors would be fairly easy to spot but the larger and more complex the project the more costly these errors can become. Using a 3D model to produce consistent views is really the first obvious benefit of a modelling approach.

Rob Jackson, Associate Director, Bond Bryan Digital


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