Abstract The static linear elastic analysis of spatial shear wall systems subjected to lateral loading is considered. A discrete force method is developed for the solution of such problems. The proposed method enforces compatibility of deformation on the relative vertical displacement between adjacent release positions, which are established at assumed contraflexural points of the connecting beams which link the slab together and also at storey-level intervals along the intersection lines of adjoining noncoplanar walls. The solution of the compatibility conditions provides the redundant shear forces at the assumed contraflexural positions and the stress-resultant solution is completed by statical considerations. The displacement solution corresponding to the stress resultants is then evaluated using the linear elasticity assumption. The basic formulation neglects the torsional resistance of the individual wall elements which is shown to be significant in a typical open section example. An iterative procedure is adopted for the incorporation of wall element torsional stiffness and is shown to be effective. The efficiency and versatility of the discrete method are illustrated by application of the technique to the analysis of two practical, complex wall systems.