In architecture, drawings are done by the scale. This indicates that proportions between the actual size of the object being depicted and the measurements used on the diagram are expressed using conventional fractions. Drawings for architecture are produced at scales that are smaller than the actual size. The typical scale used to make floor plans is 1/50 or 1/100 of the real size. It is common practice to draft site plans at scales of 1/200 or 1/500.

In this article, we will have look at scales in architecture. Scales are not about the architectural drawings, you can face with scales on architectural models. We explained the scale issue in detail, we have tried to give examples on 1:100 scale.

Let’s deal with the issue of scale that makes architecture students confuse and struggle!

Understanding Scales in Architecture

While understanding the scale in architecture, it is must to begin by understanding when the concept of scale emerged in architecture first .Scale in architecture emerged from the human scale with Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” in 1490 and was developed with Le Corbusier’s “Modulor Man” in 1948. It was developed to capture the ideal ratio in buildings by making use of Fibonacci numbers and golden ratios to the human form. In order to describe the relationship between human and space, scale golden ratio and human scale were used in history.

Credit: Proportion and Scale | Their application in Architecture – Bruce Donnally (

Computer-aided design programs such as CAD, which make it easy for us to draw at scale today, allow us to easily change scales in projects in real time.

Now when thinking about scale during the architectural design, in programs like AutoCAD, we can zoom in and out of drawings with just one mouse movement, and we can easily change the scale from the plot settings.

1:100 Scale

Being able to convert dimensions from a drawing to actual size is a skill that architects must possess. For example, if you needed to lay a conduit diagonally under the concrete slab for a new building, you could determine the length necessary by measuring from the plan if the actual dimensions were not shown on the plan from the scale.

The reason why we explain the concept of scale in architecture over 1/100 scale is that 1/100 scale is preferred in floor plans and sections, which are the main architectural drawings. In addition, architectural models and digital project models are preferred at 1/100 scale.

Credit: Resources (

On a drawing, the scale is denoted by the notation 1/100. This can be understood to mean: To get the exact measurement of 1 metre, 1 centimeter (0.01 meter), which was measured with a ruler on the plan, would need to be multiplied by 100.

Credit: How to Use an Architect Scale Ruler | 2020 | MT Copeland

Every scale has a meaning in architectural drawings and models. For example, architectural elements shown at 1/100 scale are not displayed at large scale like 1/5000. The architectural elements that 1/100 scale should include are mostly at the level of the preliminary project.

1/100 scale can be prepared as a preliminary project. In other words, it is a scale in which an architectural project, which is uncertain and whose application details have not been resolved, is spatially resolved, the building system is determined, form problems are developed, and reinforcement is handled. Even if it is a preliminary project, you can give the whole idea of volume and space dimensions in two-dimensional and three-dimensional scales at 1/100 scale.

The situation is different at 1/100 scale when it is used not as a preliminary project but as a final project. In these cases, the 1/100 scale we are talking about is drawn as the preparation of a 1/50 application project. It covers all dimensions and clearly reveals the construction system of the project.

Scale Bars

Scale calculation is generally by reducing or enlarging a drawing or object to a certain extent; It is the expression of the actual size according to the determined scale ratios.

Credit: Free CAD Blocks – Scale Bars (

A scale bar is created because it is not possible to draw an actual location or length on a piece of paper at its true length. It is drawn by scaling appropriately, that is, by reducing it. You can explain this reduction using the scale bar at the end of the presentation boards. Scale bar can be drawn according to your scale ratio such as 1/1250, 1/1000, 1/500 or 1/100.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like