Visual Discoveries cover and layout

Hello there!

Visual Discoveries: A Collection of Sections, published by Oro Editions, is an image-forward book that is devoted to showcasing notable section drawings of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, geology, product design and anatomy. You’ll definitely find something in this book to inspire you!

Reviews: AIANY & A Daily Dose of Architecture Books

Book Flip Through

About The Book

Visual Discoveries: A Collection of Sections is an image-forward book that is devoted to showcasing notable section drawings throughout history and demonstrating that the section drawing, while having roots in architecture, has spread to many other professions and disciplines.

Architects and designers featured in the book include Paul Rudolph, OMA, Zaha Hadid Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Foster + Partners, Weiss/Manfredi, and Mecanoo. The book also features cross sections created by Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, and Robert Fulton.

I began to collect and build a sizable archive of notable cross section drawings out of personal interest. Through the course of collecting these sections, I have been interested in researching the remarkable stories, lessons learned, and motivations associated with these drawings. This is my first book.

Book layout top: Mecanoo, Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Book layout bottom: US Geological Survey Structure Section Sheet – New York – New Jersey Harlem Quadrangle

0 Publishers approached
3 interested
0 Years of researching & collecting source material
0 Images in the book
0 Days (4 years) to write & finish the book

Selects from the book


I’ve loved Thiebaud’s cake paintings for some time and kept returning to his 3 Cakes painting as a good visual precedent that quickly demonstrates the relevance of the section. Inspired by him, I created this photo that is in the introduction of the book. Giving away huge chunks of cake after the photo shoot was fun!3 cakes cut in half

Cakes by Allen Keith Yee

Top of a Mountain

Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Zaha Hadid Architects is a beautifully embedded structure at the top of a mountain in Italy. I love how this section shows the visitor’s journey, a gradual descent to viewing platforms and areas. Messner Mountain Museum Corones section by Zaha Hadid Architects

Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Zaha Hadid Architects

Most Destructive

Paul Rudolph’s plan for Lower Manhattan would have obliterated huge sections of lower Manhattan. The confidence and audacity to seriously propose something like this is mind boggling.Paul Rudolph Lower Manhattan Expressway

Lower Manhattan Expressway, Paul Rudolph

2 Volcanos

Created in 1807, Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland’s cross section of Chimborazo and Cotopaxi is an amazingly detailed precursor modern data visualization and infographic work.Alexander von Humboldt and AimÉ Bonpland’s cross section of Chimborazo and Cotopaxi

Geographie der Pflanzen nebst einem Naturgemälde der Tropenländer, Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland

Charles Darwin in South America

Imagine taking a 5 year sea voyage which helps you formulate a groundbreaking theory about human life on the planet. Charles Darwin created this ink and watercolor geological section through what is now Chile. Charles Darwin Hand-drawn Section of Portillo Range

Hand-drawn and Water-Coloured Stratigraphical Section Map Eastwards including Portillo Range – Pampas, Charles Darwin

Sex and da Vinci

Even geniuses can swing and miss. Because the Church forbade corpse dissection, da Vinci had to take his best guess in terms of female and male anatomy. The anatomy in this cross section is not accurate. Leonardo da Vinci Coitus section

Sexual Act in Vertical Section, Leonardo da Vinci


I would like to express my deepest gratitude for all the contributors to this book, living and no longer living. The drawings, illustrations and renderings in this book represent inquiry, passion and a lot of hard work. Special thanks to Archigram, Atelier Bow- Wow, Bibliothèque nationale de France, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Cambridge University Library, David Rumsey Map Collection, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Fondazione Renzo Piano – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, Hitomi Terasawa, Iwanami Shoten, John Wardle Architects, NADAAA, Kupferstichkabinett der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Library of Congress, Mecanoo, MVRDV and ADEPT, New-York Historical Society, OMA, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Rika Ito, Sasaki, SCAPE, The New York Public Library, Weiss/Manfredi Architects, Wikipedia, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Zion Natural History Association / Zion National Park Forever Project.

I would like to acknowledge key individuals who were directly involved in the making of this book. Thank you to Gordon Goff of Oro Editions for taking a chance on this first time author. Many thanks to Kirby Anderson. Thank you to Sarah Clyne Sundberg, writer and editor extraordinaire, who helped edit my proposal and the book. Willy Wong understood this project and designed a beautiful book. I love the design. Thank you Bradley Stein for photography. Thank you to Frederick Tang and Gabriel Wick for reading early drafts. Thank you to Rachel Asher, Jennifer Leao and Yumeng Cheng at Pratt Institute for finding funding opportunities for the project.

My family has been a great source of support throughout this journey. Lorraine Dong and Marlon Hom cultivated my love of books. Thank you to Brian Yee, Cindy Lai Yee, Derek Yee, Tyson Yee, Pauline Hom, Irene Kesler, Elan Hom, and Laureen Hom. Support from friends has been invaluable throughout this journey. Thank you to DK Choi, Paul Dien, Mia Doré, Vicky Fang, Yosub Kim, Jordan Hruska, William Oh, Gleb Savich, Alvaro Sierra, Jeremy Tai, Christophe Tedjasukmana, Christopher Tepper, Cyril Tsiboulski, An Vu, and Susan Yee. When I needed to take a break from the project, Josh Arden, Alison Cohen and Alycia Stevenin provided challenging and fun workouts so I could keep going. Thank you to Rihanna and Solange for keeping me company on many long nights. When I Get Home on repeat got me through the final stretch of this book.

Thanks for visiting!

About the Author

Allen Keith Yee is co-founder of cloudred, a Peabody award winning digital design studio located in Brooklyn, New York. Allen graduated with a B.A. in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a M.F.A in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design. He currently lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Allen was born and raised in San Francisco, CA with stints in Seattle and Philadelphia before landing in Brooklyn. You can find him exploring the city and country with his road bike or wandering the Brooklyn streets with his senior pup, Nemo.

Image by Bradley Stein