What is the most efficient way to communicate your architectural design ideas to the audience? Present with a physical model? Takes too much time and effort to create. Showcase them the photorealistic 3D renders of the exterior or interior? Good, but not enough. The exterior and interior are stunning, but you can’t quite grasp the flow of the space or the intricate details hidden within. This is where cutaway renderings come in – powerful tools that peel back the layers, offering a glimpse into the architectural masterpiece. Now, we’d like to share three effective cutaway rendering techniques that excel at showcasing technical intricacies spatial layouts.


3 Effective and Efficient Architectural Cutaway Rendering Techniques in Architectural Visualization


Cutaway renderings, or 3D section renderings, are a type of 3D visualization technique that takes a complete building model and strategically removes sections to reveal the inner workings. They bridge the gap between traditional 2D plans and photorealistic exterior views. Meanwhile, they provide a clear and comprehensive understanding of the design in a unique way. But with various cutaway techniques at hand, how do you choose the one that best conveys your architectural vision?


Architecture Cutaway: Vertical Cutaway


A 3D section rendering created by AIMIR CG for a stadium in Italy.

This is a cutaway where the removal of the outer shell is done along a vertical plane. Imagine slicing a building down the middle (or not necessary the middle), revealing its internal layers like a cake. This is the essence of the vertical cutaway. It’s perfect for highlighting features that run vertically throughout the structure, such as:

  • Floor plans and transitions: A vertical cutaway allows viewers to see how different floors connect within the building. Staircases become a focal point, their placement and design contributing to the overall flow of the space.
  • Internal structures and engineering: This technique is particularly useful for showcasing the building’s “bones” – support beams, columns, and other structural elements. By visualizing these internal systems, clients and stakeholders gain a deeper appreciation for the engineering behind the design.
  • Vertical circulation and services: Ever wondered how elevators, ventilation shafts, and plumbing navigate a multi-story building? A vertical cutaway can reveal these essential service elements, ensuring a holistic understanding of the building’s functionality.

Vertical cutaway is ideal for showcasing the vertical flow of a building. Especially when you want to highlight internal structures, and visualizing circulation elements like stairs and elevators.


Architecture Cutaway: Horizontal Cutaway


Horizontal cutaway of a factory. 3D rendered by AIMIR CG.

Now, let’s shift our perspective. Think of slicing through a building horizontally, revealing a specific floor plan. This is the horizontal cutaway, ideal for showcasing features spread across a single level, such as:

  • Room layouts and functionality: A horizontal cutaway provides an unparalleled view of the spatial organization within a floor. It allows viewers to understand the relationship between rooms, the flow of traffic, and the designated use of each space.
  • Furniture placement and interior design: This technique is a dream come true for showcasing interior design concepts. By revealing furniture arrangements, lighting fixtures, and decorative elements within the cutaway section, you can effectively communicate the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space.
  • Machinery and equipment layouts (for factories or industrial spaces): In industrial settings, a horizontal cutaway can be incredibly useful for showcasing the placement of machinery and equipment within a factory floor. This allows for better planning of workflows and ensures efficient use of space.

Horizontal cutaway is perfect for demonstrating the layout of a specific floor. It showcases furniture placement, and reveals the organization of machinery in industrial settings.


3D Floor Plan


3D floor plan for an ocean holiday house in Maldives.

This technique takes the concept of a floor plan a step further by presenting it in a 3D section. Imagine a traditional 2D plan coming to life, with walls having height and depth. This approach combines the information of a floor plan with the visual appeal of a cutaway rendering, offering a clear understanding of the spatial layout:

  • Enhanced understanding of proportions and scale: Unlike a flat 2D plan, a 3D floor plan allows viewers to grasp the actual size and proportions of each room. This is particularly beneficial for visualizing open floor plans or spaces with high ceilings.
  • Improved visualization of connectivity: By showing walls with thickness and openings like doorways, a 3D floor plan provides a clearer understanding of how different rooms connect and flow into each other.
  • Integration with photorealistic elements: This technique can be further enhanced by incorporating photorealistic textures and materials. Imagine a 3D floor plan where the walls display actual tile patterns or the flooring showcases realistic wood textures. This adds a layer of realism and helps clients visualize the finished space.

3D floor plan is best suited for providing a clear understanding of spatial relationships, proportions, and connectivity within a floor plan. It excels when combined with photorealistic textures for a more immersive experience.


Why Choose Cutaway Renderings over Traditional Visualization Methods?


  • Enhanced communication: 3D section renderings bridge the communication gap between architects and non-technical audiences. They offer a clear and concise way to explain complex designs, making them ideal for client presentations, marketing materials, and public outreach campaigns.
  • Improved decision-making: By visualizing the internal layout and technical features, cutaway renderings allow for informed decision-making throughout the design process. So, potential issues with spatial flow, functionality, or engineering can be identified early on, leading to faster and more efficient design iterations.
  • Stronger client engagement: Cutaway rendering captures the imagination and generates excitement around a project. It allow clients to feel immersed in the design before construction even begins, fostering a sense of ownership and collaboration.
  • Marketing and sales advantage: At last, cutaway techniques are incredibly captivating. They grab attention and effectively showcase the unique features and functionality of a design. This makes them invaluable marketing tools, especially for attracting potential clients and investors.




Using cutaway techniques in rendering is not just a fancy way to show off a building’s insides. They are powerful communication tools that bridge the gap between technical plans and a clear, understandable vision. Whether you’re an architect, designer, or client, utilizing 3D section rendering to demonstrate a unique perspective of your project. So, the next time you need to communicate a complex design, consider the power of cutaway renderings to bring your architectural ideas to life.

Need help in 3D rendering? Cutaway rendering is just one of the many ways our team at AIMIR CG can help bring your architectural vision to life. Contact us today to discuss your project and see how we can elevate your designs through stunning visualizations.

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