Architecture is a career that has attracted creative, design-oriented minds for centuries, and in that time the profession has undergone countless changes as it adapts to the technology available to the architects of the day. In an age in which computer technology has revolutionized the ways in which every profession works, this means architects are always on the hunt for the best architecture software to help them get the job done.
Indeed, something that has not changed in architecture is that the end goal is for the architect to be able to design and share their ideas, and eventually to see them come to life out in the world when they are built. This is why, in this article, we will explore how modern architects use computer technology and then take a look at some of the most popular architecture software available to architects working today. Read on to find out more!
Notes on the Best Architecture Software: What Computer Technology Do Architects Use?
What Do Modern Architects Do?
Many people have an archetypal image of an architect as a professional hunched over a large blueprint on a drafting table, designing buildings both cutting-edge and functional to populate the skylines of our cities and towns. While there may be some truth to this, there is a lot more to being an architect in the present-day job market than many people probably know about, and changes in technology have more or less removed the need for that big drafting table.
For example, modern architects can now choose from a wealth of computer programs and different technologies to help them design buildings and work on projects. Nowadays, more often than not, architects use computer technology to create highly detailed, accurate, and easy to understand plans and specifications for the buildings they are working on, which will then help the rest of their team (engineers, designers, etc.) to actualize those plans.
How Do Architects Make Use of Computer Technology in Their Day-to-Day Jobs?
In many ways, computer technology has streamlined many aspects of the work that architects do, creating more opportunities for their unique abilities and ideas to shine through and inform the work of other members of their team. For example, computer technology can be used by architects to run simulations to better understand the complex structures that they design and work on, and to create presentations with which to share their findings.
More specifically, though, computer technology can be used by architects to quickly and accurately create 2-dimensional construction documents and to render detailed 3-dimensional models of their plans. Where these kinds of documents used to require a lot of time and effort to draw out by hand, architects can now render detailed models of entire buildings, or sections of them, to accurately demonstrate the use of lighting, texture, and design in that building.
What Computer Technology Do Architects Use?
As mentioned above, there are a huge variety of tasks that architects can use computer technology to assist with. They can use 3D printers to create prototypes of their designs, or different programs that can run calculations on building specifications or that quickly pull up existing information on things like environmental regulations and zoning rules in areas that they are designing for.
Homing in on the creation and modeling of their designs, however, one of the most commonly used and useful computer technologies available to architects is a technology known as CAD, which is short for Computer-Aided Design. This is a powerful technology, and one which allows architects to avoid (if they wish to) the often-arduous task of designing buildings by hand, as they used to have to do!
What Is Computer-Aided Design (CAD)?
Computer-Aided Design, or CAD, is a revolutionary technology in the field of architecture. Not only does it more or less eliminate the need for hand-drawn designs, but it also provides architects with a suite of additional features that can make their designs more effective and more easily understood and analyzed by other members of their team and by their clients. This allows for a new transparency in their designs that did not exist to this extent. before
Some of the powerful functions of Computer-Aided Design programs include architects being able to create and present different variations and design layers to their work, and to create renderings so realistic that they can demonstrate everything down to the way the lighting interacts with the design elements in individual rooms. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of CAD programs’ functionality for modern architects!
What Other Functions Does CAD Have?
Once a design is built in a CAD program, architects can create animated walk-throughs (or fly-throughs) to help present their designs to clients, providing a new level of immersion and visualization to the design process. Additionally, the architect can edit or add new elements to the design even once it has been built, and the program will update the design automatically, allowing for real-time changes to be made according to the client’s wants and needs.
CAD programs can also help architects to keep track of all of the different layers of design and data that go into creating a functional building plan, but which a client may not necessarily be looking to see on their virtual walk-through. This includes digital models of the building’s underlying structure, ductwork, plumbing, and more. There are a wide variety of CAD programs available to meet the needs of any architect, including the following programs.
SketchUp: Easy-to-Use and Functional
One of the first widely available 3D modeling programs, SketchUp (formerly known as Google SketchUp) puts an emphasis on being user-friendly, while still maintaining an impressive range of design features. The program operates via a patented, easy-to-use “Push and Pull” method, which allows users to easily create 3D shapes and designs out of flat surfaces simply clicking and dragging an item until it looks how you want it to look.
SketchUp’s easy learning curve makes it a great program for architects looking to create quick, effective 3D models of their designs, allowing for the creation of buildings, rooms, and even the population of those rooms with furniture. SketchUp is available in a freeware version (SketchUp Free) but can be upgraded to a premium version (SketchUp Pro) that comes with more of the functions that many architects find useful in their professional lives.
AutoCAD: The Most Recognized CAD Program
AutoCAD, like SketchUp, is a Computer-Aided Design program that allows users to create 2D and 3D models of their designs, with myriad possibilities for what you can develop and present. AutoCAD was created by one of the biggest names in architecture software, AutoDesk, and has since become one of the most recognized and widely-used CAD programs in the industry.
Part of the reason AutoCAD has become a standard in the industry is the wealth of features that make designing and creating models easier and more accurate. These features include automatically centering lines, offering multiple views of 3D models, photorealistic lighting in models, and more. AutoCAD is a perfect choice for architects looking to bring their ideas to life without sacrificing any of their plan’s dimensional specifications or accuracy at all.
Revit: Augmenting Designs with Building Information Management
While Revit is similar to CAD programs like SketchUp and AutoCAD in some respects, it is technically classified as a Building Information Modeling (BIM) program. BIM programs focus more on the creation and management of data around design, construction, and management of buildings, so it can be used by the multi-disciplinary teams that collaborate to design and create buildings.
For architects, then, Revit has the benefit of being a program which can support their plans throughout all the phases involved in the design and construction of a building. Revit was created by AutoDesk, the same company which created AutoCAD, and is often used together alongside programs like AutoCAD to design, create, and actualize architects’ plans and ideas.
Newforma Project Center: Managing and Sharing Designs and Projects
Newforma is a web-based program which allows architects (and the rest of their team on construction projects) to share designs, information, and data with one another in an easy-to-use and accessible interface. It allows team members to review and mark up designs from different locations, and to request approval for updates and changes. This feature is especially helpful for architects working in the age of work-from-home and remote offices!
While this program is not a Computer-Aided Design program per se, many architects find it an invaluable companion to the designs they create in CAD programs, as it allows their team to manage the immense amount of data and specifications that is required for architectural designs and construction projects.
These are just a few examples of some of the best architecture software available to architects today. In a rapidly changing industry, the options and possibilities for professionals are endless and ever-evolving. For help finding the perfect technology solutions for you or your business, and for IT and technology support that you can count on day or night, If you are considering a manager it support provider, we hop you consider Flying Buttress.