Over the last few years, a large number of new tools for architects have come to market allowing the field to make significant strides forward. But what programs do you really need to craft the next Taj Mahal or Chrysler Building? In addition to your preferred drafting platform, these four programs will set you up for success and even put you on the cutting edge of the field.
Put It In Print
3D printing is all the rage right now, and for architects, it offers a faster, easier replacement for many traditional modeling approaches – and clients love engaging with the samples. Software reviews can help you choose the right option for your architecture group, as can studying up on the software details and program updates.
If that still leaves you at a dead end, though, Bercy Chen Studio recommends the Ultimaker 2 Extended as an easy to use printer option. The printer, which pairs with Ultimaker Cura software, also has an active online community that can provide support if you need troubleshooting support.
While drafting software may be your go-to design tool, rendering software is what brings all the details together to create something presentable – and even magical.
So upgrade from you AutoCAD renderings and make the leap to Lumion 8, an accessible rendering program with an extensive library of supplementary objects and materials. Lumion’s software is also compatible with many modern VR programs, offering you new ways to present your designs to clients.
Bring Design To Life
Speaking of VR, no modern architecture firm can compete unless they have access to VR equipment. In particular, the affordable Oculus Go headset allows clients to explore your architectural models as though they had already been built. And even better, this particular headset works alongside standard smartphones for a plug and play experience with minimal fuss for you or your clients.
Engineers are masters of lifecycle analysis, focusing on costs, energy use, and materials sourcing, but architects don’t always have the tools to tackle that particular problem. Industry-oriented tools like Trace 700, however, are designed to help architects work through the what-if problems of construction, make material and design alterations, and still come away with a safe, usable design. When done manually, this can be a time-consuming task. Done digitally with this Windows-based platform, however, architects have access to quick answers, an edit-ready library of materials and load information, and an array of modeling templates.
Architecture today is undergoing a revolution, and you can see it any time you step foot in a design studio. Rather than a stuffy, slow-moving space resembling the old days of hand drafting, today’s architects use tools that wouldn’t be out of place in a community maker space. The Fabrical Lab, or Fab Lab, at Columbia’s School of Architecture, for example, is packed with supplies for traditional casting and modeling, as well as 3D printing and milling, laser cutters, and virtual reality equipment. It’s multidisciplinary, combining math and physics with the creative arts. And most importantly, it’s a field that refuses to be stuck in the past. Your firm needs to move forward with the field as a whole.