Part One. Image Search/ Diagramming/ Data Visualization

Chapter 1. Image searching techniques & Diagramming

Session Objectives

Upon completing this session, students will be able to:

  • (CO 1) Understand the importance of visual communication and various current skills and techniques
  • (CO 2) Be introduced to various image searching tips
  • (CO 3) Understand public domain media and Creative Commons media
  • (CO 4) Understand what a diagram is, and the types of diagrammatic representations

 Lecture Contents

(CO1) Understand the importance of visual communication and various current skills and techniques

Visual communication in interiors

Read this article about visual communication in interiors.

Why visual communication is important

Read this article about why visual communication is important.

Types of technology in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry

  • BIM
  • Renderings
  • Animations
  • VR & AR
  • Computational design
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Visual storytelling
  • Environmental Energy analysis
A graph that indicate the current type and use of technological application in AEC industry.
Image credit: Amy Huber & Lisa Waxman

Visual communication tools in the AEC industry

Software and apps for architecture firms: 140+ Software tools architecture firms need in [2020]-Modified by Cho [Excel download] (source: architecturequote website)

Tools of the Trade, a resource page by Bekerman Ronen, gathers information about architectural visualization.

  • Adobe Photoshop – Sketch, photo edit, rendering retouch
  • Adobe Illustrator – illustrate, diagrams
  • Adobe Indesign – presentation, publication
  • Adobe Premiere – animation – create/edit video and audio
  • Adobe After effects – animation – create motion graphics, key-frame based animation
  • Adobe Acrobat DC – communication, presentation
  • Affinity Photo – sketch, photo edit, rendering retouch
  • Affinity Designer – illustrate, diagrams
  • Affinity Publisher – presentation, publication
  • Corel CorelDRAW – drafting, illustrate
  • Corel Painter – digital art
  • AutoCAD + architecture – drafting
  • AutoCAD LT – drafting
  • Revit – BIM, drafting, 3d modeling
  • 3DS MAX  – 3d modeling
  • Sketchbook – Sketch
  • BIM 360 – collaborating work
  • Dynamo studio – parametric design
  • Bluebeam – Drawing review, comments, communications
  • Rhino – 3d modeling
  • Grasshopper – parametric design
  • Sketchup pro – 3d modeling
  • Solidworks – 3d modeling
  • Vectorworks – BIM, 2d drafting, 3d modeling
  • Cinema 4D – 3d modeling
  • Blender – 3d modeling
  • VRAY – post-rendering
  • Enscape – post-rendering, VR
  • Lumion 3D – post-rendering, VR
  • Corona – post-rendering

(CO2) Be introduced to various image searching tips

(CO3) Understand public domain media and Creative Commons media

Public domain media explains the public domain as follows: “A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright permission of the former copyright owner.” Finding something on the internet does not mean it is in the public domain (Blechner, 2021, July 21).

Creative commons media

Creative Commons is a non-profit that helps share + reuse creativity & knowledge via free legal and technological tools. These tools are not alternatives to copyright laws, rather they work alongside them (About the licenses, 2017, November 7).

Royalty-free media

Royalty-free images aren’t necessarily free. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a one-time fee to obtain the rights to use the image. Then you can use it as many times as you like. The “free” in “royalty-free” only means that you do not have to pay royalties to the owner of the image every time you use it. For a comprehensive read on royalty-free images, check out this guide by Amos Struck (Struck, 2020, April 30).

You can find more search engines including images, audio, and video on this link.

(CO4) Understand what a diagram is, and the types of diagrammatic representations

What is a diagram?

“A diagram is a symbolic representation of information using visualization techniques” – Oxford languages

“A simplified drawing showing the appearance, structure, or working of something; a schematic representation” – Wikipedia

“An architecture diagram is a graphical representation of a set of concepts, that is part of the architecture, including their principles, elements, and components” – Dragon 1

A diagram is the spatialization of a selective abstraction and/or reduction of a concept or phenomenon. In other words, a diagram is the architecture of an idea or entity. A diagram can be described as an imaginative process that by virtue of analog and digital construction procedures helps in the transformation of typologies, configurations, and models.

Types of diagrammatic representations

Programmatic representation

Distribution of the program

A diagram that represent programmatic diagram. This image from the author's residential project in 2014
This diagram is an example of a programmatic diagram. The outer dashed line shows the property line of the site and the bord inner dashed line represent the building boundary. Each space programs in rounded rectangles with various colors. The color shows the level of privacy. Lastly, the lines passing the space programs are the potential path of the occupants.

Specific activity and uses

An example of the programmatic representation diagrams, specific activity and uses of space.
This diagram can be an example of the programmatic representation diagram. Each dashed rounded rectangle shows the story of each program of the design. For example diagram number 2 tells there is a gap between two buildings the right side of the building represents the current/modern architecture, the left side of the building represents the architecture in the past, and there is a void space in between. It represents the time between the past and current building which connects the two times.
Contextual representation


A diagram that show the process how the architecture being implemented with impacted by other site conditions.
This 6 diagram can be an example of an implementation/visual diagram that represents the contextual issue in the site. The left top diagram shows the site’s relationship with other related buildings and traffics. The middle image of the top diagram shows the best circulation with the buildings on the site. The right top diagram presents how to connect the buildings with the conditions. The left bottom diagram shows the pedestrian flow and the middle bottom diagram tell the outside garden for the public. The last diagram shows the building is twisted for the dynamic views and bounces back to the existing building.

Site conditions

A site diagram that illustrate the location of building with other site conditions.
This diagram shows the various site condition at once. It presents the location of the site and the surroundings like the major and secondary road, topography, river, potential flood area, green spaces, town, major view to cover, the short history of the site, elevation, ethnicity, language, and other infrastructure information.
Spatial representation

Design concept

A sequential diagram to demonstrate the design concept of the architecture.
These sequential four diagrams show the design concept of this building. The green-colored line shows the nature from the surroundings and the nature in the building will connect.

Spatial relationships

A spatial representation diagram shows the spatial relationships with different color codes.
This diagram and the diagram above are from the same project. This floor plan with green color clearly shows the concept of connecting nature in the space. Additionally, the gray-colored space is for the public lobby extended from the inside out.

Volumetric relationships

One panel image that show the volumetric relationships for the building.
This panel presents two diagrams together with an exterior perspective rendering. The left top four sequential diagrams show the volumetric relationship of the three masses with the original structure that must be remained. The right side diagrams show the two floor plans isometric views. This will help reviewers to better understand the relationships of the spaces.
Construction representation

Structure and materials

A panel image shows an perspective rendering and the structure and the materials of the building.
This panel image shows two images together, one is an interior perspective rendering to show the mood of the space, and the other is an exploded diagram that explains the structure and materials of the building with annotation techniques.

System operation

An interior system diagram to introduce all of the design feature with leaders, texts, and diagrams.
This group of diagrams shows the systems of the space. Generally, architecture and interior spaces contain many systems together, like HVAC systems, signage systems, furniture systems, A/V systems, lighting systems, circulation systems, and more. This diagram represents the interior systems together with leader lines and short descriptions.



About the licenses. Creative Commons. (2017, November 7). Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Amy Huber and Lisa Waxman, IDEC IDEC Exchange 2019 spring, Navigating the changing tides of technology

Bekerman, R. (n.d.). Architectural visualization tools of the trade (2D / 3D). 3D Architectural Visualization & Rendering Blog. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Blechner, A. J. (2021, July 21). Finding public domain & creative commons media: What do public domain & creative commons mean? Harvard Law School Library. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Gailis, G. (2020, September 1). 140+architecture software tools for architects [2020]. ArchitectureQuote. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Professional Design Institute. (2017, March 5). Visual communication in interiors. Professional Design Institute. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Struck, A. (2020, April 30). What are royalty free images? best guide to use royalty free photos! Stock Photo Guides. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from

Why Visual Communication Is Important? (n.d.). [web log]. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from