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Architecture software and its role in modeling and visualizing real time project

Architecture Software Options; Here’s All You Need to Know

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Today’s state of architecture software is the tipping point of an iceberg that is the result for years of amassed collaboration between the architecture and design community and software engineers.

Architecture software become an indispensable part of the design process in architecture and there is almost no construction project in any scale that can be imagined without a try and error phase within a modeling architecture software of some sort.

It all started roughly around 30 years ago when architecture software options, like a free room planning software for instance, would only allow for hand-sketched construction documents to be redrawn and stored within a computer database.

So back in its starting days, architecture software platforms were merely conversion tools that would create editable (not very easily though!) and more durable formats that could be copied and stored electronically.

But as things further rolled out, a decade later, architecture software turned into a tool to model a building rather than just keeping its construction records on a disk. For example, models in a free room planning software were only a geometric volume of the building’s constructed version at first;

but they gradually evolved into their current state where the entire building process can be modeled. Which means you can exactly model how a building is pre-evaluated for feasibility, built up from scratch and then erects over the land it nails.

“How does this help?” you ask? It can put the construction on a much safer track over its course and help project managers steer clear of ambiguities, which are pretty common in construction if you ask a seasoned contractor, along the way.

This is where BIM (Building Information Modeling) framework walks on the stage. We will soon get to a number of architecture software platforms like Revit where such comprehensive modeling has reached to perfection.

Let’s see if there have been any other big breaks along the debut of BIM which was a huge step-up in the architecture software world.

So far architecture software was all about storing files within a more practical format and modeling projects as close to reality as possible. But something else was missing.

Any thoughts what it was? And maybe still is?

Before architecture software’s debut to the architects, they used to find their path in any design process by brushing all their mind’s strokes over sketching books.

Through our contemporary memory, architects in the 60s and 70s used this method the most. Mixing up watercolor, ink, plaster, and coal all the same to picture their design’s dramatic vision.

Architecture software had to dish this out too. It had to create an environment where for example the design process to create a free room planning software could be emulated and stored on a computer.

Tools like Google SketchUp were efforts to make this happen. There are other tools with the same purpose in mind which we will get to shortly.

Let’s get you started with all mainstream architecture software options out there that are specifically made for either Drafting, Modeling, or Design-oriented needs that we talked about.

Revit Architecture Software

Autodesk Revit

The name Revit is short for “Revise it”; which means you can start modeling any building in as much detail as you like while being able to fully revise every element along the way and having the relevant pieces adjusted automatically.

This architecture software practically allows us to make changes up to the most fundamental scope possible through your project.

It’s a much more than a geometric simulation environment in that it comprises architectural rendering tools, an extensive repository of 3D building components, and the framework for any BIM-oriented project.

So rather than just a building, you can model the construction process, like a free room planning software, with all its time and cost requirements.

Revit is one of the best architecture software platforms that is also licensed and shipped for free to students.


SketchUp Architecture Software

Developed by Google, SketchUp is a very easy modeling and rendering architecture software tool. All the features and options for sketching, design, and modeling are intuitively placed so finding your way around the menus and keyboard shortcuts are pretty straightforward. That’s what gives Sketchup the edge.

It is one of the most common architecture software tools for architects to draw conceptual sketches of their design ideas like a free room planning software and easily turn them into precise 3D CAD models.

Each part of your model can be assigned with a texture or material. So, all you need to do is define and adjust lighting sources about your model and 3D renders of your project will be ready in no time.

SketchUp’s free online design software also has an extensive number of add-ons, plug-ins, and a huge online community to get all your inquiries at any given time.

For example, a remarkable number of plug-ins like PlusSpec and OpenStudio apply BIM (Building Information Modeling) framework to your project so you can create images with different specific visual qualities.

Some critics report slow running performance and sluggish handling of large-scale models and SketchUp’s lack of geometric precision for curvilinear objects and shapes as a big downside.

Graphisoft BIMx

Again, the name hints what this architecture software is mainly about. BIMx is a way to view and edit ArchiCAD 3D model files on the go, but in an interactive and simple way.

Unlike ArchiCAD’s complicated user interface, BIMx offers an easy way to view 3D representations and 2D documentation of your model by smoothly navigating about your project in walk-throughs or fly-bys. This free online design software also lets you make measurements and assess construction details, all of which can adhere to BIM or the Building Information Modelling framework.

BIMx’s interactive architecture software and its unique visualization of your project help you present technical details of your work, like a free room planning software to your client, without having to walk her through all your modeling’s technical doodads.

While we’re at it, you can check our 3D services where we use the latest technologies and tools to implement 3D modeling, visualization, and evaluation of your projects.

Autodesk AutoCAD

Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture Software

Autodesk AutoCAD is the primary architecture software to draft 2D construction documents including floor plans, sections, and elevations. But that’s not all AutoCAD has been doing since its debut in the early 80s!

AutoCAD has been a well-established and comprehensive free online design software for crafting universal 2D and 3D documents. Its output files are well-integrated into other members of the Autodesk bundle like 3Ds Max and Maya where free room planning software outputs for instance, can be used as corner stones for animation-making.

AutoCAD’s particular precision in drafting 2D documents and its inclusive repertoire of architectural components like structural and finishing elements, make it the number one choice of a lot of architecture firms around the world.

The other trick up this architecture software’s sleeve is production of realistic visualizations of your 3D CAD model. That’s right! Unlike the general misconception, AutoCAD is not just about tedious construction 2D free room planning software outputs.

Although AutoCAD’s native platform doesn’t offer any in-house BIM oriented modeling, it does provide calculations of a part or the whole of your project’s surfaces and their composed material.

AutoCAD is available to students for free under a three-year license program so that’s why it’s on top of our architecture software list.

Autodesk 3D Studio Max (3DS Max)

3Ds Max Architecture Software

3DS Max is primarily a mainstream architecture software for 3D modeling, rendering, and visualization and can yield a wide range of 3D services like mechanical and construction modeling and 3D walk-through and fly-through representations of a building. It is widely known as a great way for creating life-like real renderings of your space.

Autodesk 3D Studio Max can be a great free room planning software that perfectly tends to all your modeling and visualizing needs.

Rhinoceros by McNeel Associates

Rhinoceros Architecture Software

Rhinoceros is a NURBS-based modeling architecture software that facilitates the creation of curved forms. It responds to industrial engineers, jewel designers, architects, and a score of other fields.

It has a vibrant supporting community and a great number of plug-ins to implement complicated forms that cannot be made otherwise or at least with much more overhead effort and calculation.

It was not initially developed as an architecture software specifically for architects but they have found their niche within Rhino’s extensive tools and an ocean of plug-in where they can natively render and visualize their model in a life-like fashion.

For instance, like a free room planning software, sophisticated parametric models can be made out in Grasshopper and then visualized with the V-Ray, which is a rendering architecture software over Rhino.


You’re right; all the different sophisticated architecture software options on the market might be overwhelming at first. But you can easily find your way by knowing what YOU are looking for yourself first.

You’ve got to know whether it’s Drafting, Modeling, or Designing that you want to use an architecture software for.

Then you will be able to choose wisely among the options we outlined here that best suits your need.

Check out how we choose among a vast number of architecture software options to fulfill our costumer’s need here at OutsourcePlan.

Mitchel Sardy
Author: Mitchel Sardy
I am a Computer Engineer and an architecture enthusiast, graduated on both majors up to the master's degree from the University of Washington; I'm an advisor to early-stage architecture startups all around the globe; the ones using computer-based solutions to design in architecture.

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