AutoCAD vs. ArchiCAD in Architecture

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AutoCAD vs. ArchiCAD in Architecture

Architectural design today has moved from designing by hand to designing with several different software programs that have made the job much easier. Two of the main programs in many architectural firms today are AutoCAD2000 and ArchiCAD 6.5. Both are very productive design tools but each has its own defects in certain areas of the design process.

Design processes today have been reversed from designing from the inside to the outside, to designing from the outside to the inside. Most designing today is based on the actual structural appearance one will perceive from the exterior, rather than the functional use of the interior; although both are taken into consideration. AutoCAD is a design tool that can take many different paths. Due to demand an outside appearance is needed to be created first. AutoCAD is a tool that allows an architect to create an exterior elevation first, before an actual floor plan is even developed. ArchiCAD, however, is very similar to AutoCAD but because of its limitations, some things that should be simple and intuitive are actually quite tedious. ArchiCAD forces its users to work only in a plan view. This makes it very difficult to create a complex elevation. By the time one can finish, all the effort and inspirational thoughts that influenced a project are gone. Anyone in the architectural field today should know that when using any architectural software, trimming slabs to the progression of stairs should be real easy. This would be true only if ArchiCAD would just extend the roof-trimming tool to apply to the trimming of walls to slabs. Better yet, why not enable the manipulation of elevational shapes in elevation or section view? It is qui...

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...ofessional level. The amount of accuracy that AutoCAD produces differs from ArchiCAD by on ten-thousandth of an inch. This may not seem as a tremendous difference, but when involving stretching of existing lines and manipulation of objects, these numbers play an important role. Using AutoCAD an object can be transformed in any direction and it will keep the accuracy without deforming. An object transformed in ArchiCAD is very obvious because the lines become fuzzy and undefined. These deformities can be very distracting to a client’s eye when proposing an idea.

As an owner of both programs, I have discovered that a strong project and presentation consist of drawings done both in AutoCAD and ArchiCAD. Since both programs excel in their own areas, an Architect could use a combination of these programs to reach perfection when submitting an idea to a client.

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