This paper presents an approach to construct execution views, which are views that describe what the software of a software-intensive system does at runtime and how it does it. The approach represents an architecture reconstruction solution based on a metamodel, a set of viewpoints, and a dynamic analysis technique. The metamodel and viewpoints capture the conventions that can be used to describe the runtime of a system developed by a particular organization. The dynamic analysis technique is used to extract and abstract runtime information from a combination of system logging and runtime measurements in a top-down fashion. The approach was developed and validated constructing execution views for a magnetic resonance imaging scanner developed by Philips Healthcare. Therefore, the approach represents a solution that can be applied at similar large and complex software-intensive systems. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.