February 6, 2023


February 6, 2023

Architectural design is the first step to be taken when it is necessary to build or renovate. It entails gathering all the essential information to execute the work, obeying the technical norms of documentation and graphic representation.

Drafting a project requires hiring an architect who has the necessary technical knowledge to develop a proposal that meets the client's needs and makes the best use of the space.

But do you know what an architectural project is?

If you still don't know what an architectural design is or what to do in your first project, let's go through the main processes and steps for the correct development of an architectural project!



An architectural project is the graphic representation of an idea for a space to meet the client's needs. 

This space can have the most diverse uses. We can classify the most common ones as:

  • Residential - houses, apartments, or social interest housing (popular dwellings);
  • Commercial - stores, cafeterias, doctor's offices, etc;
  • Corporate - offices, auditoriums, coworking, etc;
  • Institutional - schools, theaters, museums, etc .;
  • Others - hospitals, clinics, government, etc.

Regardless of the type of project, a single drawing is not enough to represent all the information, so the graphic representation is composed of:

  • Floor plan - graphical representation of the building seen from top to bottom, with a cross-section at the height of 1.50 m;
  • Sections - a vertical cut, usually parallel to the walls, allowing the visualization of the internal compartments of the building;
  • Elevations - represent all the faces (facades) of the building, with an external point of view;
  • Situation plan - represents the location of the land, where it is located;
  • Location plan/situation - illustrates how the project occupies the lot;
  • Details - essential elements of the project with all necessary information for their correct execution.
  • Humanized floor plan -  an illustrative representation of the regular floor plan, but here, the technical information is removed, giving room to textures, colors, shadows, lighting effects, furniture, and other equipment that are all part of that space.

Some elements need to be detailed separately during the project’s development, where they may even have specific technical standards. These are called complementary projects, where we have: electrical, hydro sanitary, lighting, air conditioning, etc.



With an architectural project in hand, it is possible to plan the work, organize each execution stage, and even know how long it will take for its completion.

No less important, we’re also able to obtain an estimate of the cost of the work, which is one of the first questions the client asks: “How much will I spend to build it?”.

We realized that an architectural project has information to answer several customer questions, but how to elaborate on an architectural project? It’s is precisely what we’ll see next.



So far, we’ve seen that an architectural project condenses a significant amount of information, which makes clear the need for a qualified professional for its development, in addition to good planning.

From the initial conversation with the customer to the final project, we have a series of steps that need to be carefully worked out. Any mistakes can compromise quality or even generate losses!

Let's get to know the main stages and what we should do in each one of them to guarantee the success of your project!



The needs program gathers all the necessary information to guide the project’s development and requires paying close attention at this stage.

One of the first steps is to identify the purpose of the space. After all, a residence has very different needs from a store or even a coffee shop. Based on that, we set out the client's needs.

In a meeting with the client, we need to understand their needs, desires, and goals and identify quality standards of interest, available financial resources, and desired deadlines.

A well-structured needs program provides a high-quality project fully aligned with the client's expectations and a minimal number of revisions, saving unnecessary rework later.



The land study accurately describes all the terrain characteristics. We have basic information such as its shape, angles, differences in level, and any other relevant information that needs to be documented.

We also obtain the sun’s orientation, essential information to guarantee the thermal comfort of the work, and better use of natural lighting, helping us define where the openings will be located (doors and windows) or even where a swimming pool will be positioned.

Remember that it is not possible to occupy the entire land with construction. Instead, it is essential to respect the minimum setbacks (front, side, and back), in addition to the occupancy rate, utilization coefficient, and other information that must be checked at the city hall. 



The preliminary study consists of the layout options for the project, making the best possible use of space, all based on the need program previously prepared.

In this stage, several studies are drafted, which can be drawings such as sketches (studies by hand) or 3D perspectives, remembering that they are very schematic drawings, with the minimum information necessary for the client to understand the proposal.

In this stage, the first approvals by the client are carried out, such as construction systems, the general organization of the environments, accesses, and dimensioning of the work. It is a guiding step, making the proposal direction clear to the client.



The preliminary project consists of the final configuration of the proposed construction. Here the most technical aspects of the project are defined, considering all the requirements contained in the needs program.

As it is a more technical step, we already have a more accurate idea of the quantitative situation, allowing the budgeting of the work and starting complementary projects (hydraulic, electrical, lighting, etc.).

The client must approve all projects developed at this stage.



The legal project is an approved project that must be sent to the city hall for authorization of the construction, and each city has specific technical legislation.

According to NBR, in the case of renovations within condominiums (apartments, shops, houses, etc.), the project must pass approval by the condominium despite not requiring submittal to the city hall 16.280 - renovation of buildings.

Along with the legal project and requested documentation, technical responsibility  (RRT) registration will also be required, proving that a technically qualified manager prepared the project.



The executive project is the set of technical documents necessary for the execution of the work, which can be understood as the “instruction manual,” allowing the construction team to execute the project approved by the client.

With the executive project, we have all the information necessary for the execution of the project, such as:

  • materials that will be used;
  • dimensions of the building elements,
  • location of electrical, hydraulic, and lighting points,
  • other various precisely detailed information.

All information here must be clear since any error will directly reflect on the delivery time and budget of the work, implying wasted material and time lost by the team.



Revit is the software developed to meet the needs of the construction sector, considering professionals in architecture, engineering, design, or any other professional who works in civil construction.

Unlike traditional technical design software, such as AutoCAD, Revit is based on the BIM (Building Information Modeling) process, functioning as a platform for the organization and sharing construction information.

At Revit, we can develop architectural, structural, and interior projects and complementary projects such as electrical, hydraulic, and air conditioning, which allows the standardization of information.

Revit offers a series of resources for the elaboration of a project, where we can highlight the main ones:

  • 3D visualization - as we develop a three-dimensional project, we can generate 3D visualizations very quickly;
  • 2D technical views - even when working with 3D modeling, we can generate orthogonal (2D) technical drawings in a fast and straightforward way;
  • Templates - are template files that come pre-configured, where we even have templates aimed at specific disciplines such as structural, electrical, hydraulic, etc.;
  • Structural elements - in the tool panel, we have resources for the modeling and simulation of features such as beams, columns, slabs, trusses, reinforcement, etc.;
  • Architectural elements - tools such as walls, doors, windows, ceilings, roofs, and several others are available for use;
  • Quick reviews - changes made in any view of the project are reflected in all others since we have a 3D model;
  • Automatic sections - from the 3D model, we can generate as many sections as needed in a fast and straightforward way;
  • Quantitative - the number of materials and other elements of the project are quickly grouped in spreadsheets that are updated automatically when the project is changed;
  • Parametric families are elements present in your project, such as doors, windows, furniture, appliances, etc.

Revit offers several tools for creating these families, though this can take valuable time.

But don't worry, at Blocks, you will find hundreds of parameterized families ready for use, as well as the launch of a new collection of families every week!


The architectural project isn’t just a drawing but a document that gathers all the technical information necessary to execute quality work reflecting all the client's needs.

Therefore, it must be prepared by a qualified professional. It must meet the needs program, technical legislation, and current regulations and offer the client all security and peace of mind with the work. 

Now that you know what an architectural project is and the correct execution process, how about having access to a vast family library for Revit

And best of all: ‘There’s a new collection every week!

Be part of the Blocks Family!

The author of the article

Luis André
Master of architecture, product designer and professor. Sharing professional content from leading architectural software for 10 years.
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