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Architecture software is project management and computer-aided design (CAD) programme that enables contractors, engineers, and architects to digitally create and refine high-quality architectural designs and manage their projects and job proposals. Architecture software is also known as construction design software and architectural drawing software.
The benefits of architecture software
Architecture software digitalises the architect's workflows and helps them manage designs and construction plans in an organised manner. Key benefits of architecture software are:
- Organised design repository: Long gone are the days when architects had to work on paper-based construction designs. An architecture programme not only allows architects to create and edit their designs electronically, but also organise them. Designs can be easily searched using filters for date, project/client name, project type, designer name, etc.
- Better visualisation: Designs built using an architecture programme offer better clarity into site models and floor plans than paper-based drawings or 2D models, which means clients can better visualise the entire design before construction begins.
- Easy design revisions: Digital designs allow designers to easily change and revise their design an unlimited number of times without having to create a new design from scratch. Architects can also reuse designs from previous projects.
Typical features of architecture software
- 2D drawing: Design and view objects in a two-dimensional space.
- Drafting: Draft digital architectural designs for visualising, communicating, and planning future construction.
- Document management: Create and manage a central, searchable repository to collect, store, and share documents of all types.
- Presentation tools: Share and present architectural design to clients.
- 3D modelling: View a three-dimensional representation of any surface or object.
Considerations when purchasing an architecture programme
- Feature requirements: An architecture programme not only offers basic design features such as 2D and 3D modelling, but can also include advanced tools such as 3D mapping or BIM capabilities. With advanced features, however, the cost rises. Be sure to evaluate your business requirements before purchasing software so you aren't paying for more than what you actually need.
- Compatibility: Some architecture software runs only on certain operating systems (e.g. Windows or Mac). Make sure you have complete knowledge of your in-house IT infrastructure so you know which products will be compatible with your hardware. Vendors can even run the software on your system to make sure it's compatible. Asking for a free trial of the software is also a good way to make sure the system is right for your needs.
Relevant architecture software trends
- Integrating 3D printing technology: Paper-based illustrations and 2D or 3D models are not always the most effective way to present the minute details of a complicated project to clients. Thanks to 3D printing, architects are now able to print physical models of their designs. A 3D-printed model offers a faster way to create ready-to-present models as soon as the digital designs are approved and finalised by the client.
- Replacing physical prototypes with virtual reality: From paper-based construction plans to displaying physical prototypes of a building, architects are always looking for more innovative ways to present their designs to their end clients. Virtual reality can replace the need for physical prototypes, as it offers a more interactive tour of the property to clients. Clients can better understand designs and get a feel of the final site while taking a virtual tour.