ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS AND DOCUMENTATION IN ARCHICAD (PART 1)

 In BIM, Design, Features, Opinion

 

2D DRAWINGS, DOCUMENTATION.. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR MODEL?

Architectural Drawings are one of the biggest fetiches for Architects all around the world. We love them!

They can express the personality and the thinking of the author, they can be simple and diagrammatic, complex and evocative, colourful and fun, rendered and expressive…
There are as many styles as different Architects exist. And every Architect likes to give his  personal touch to the drawings.

It takes long sleepless nights to learn how to do them and honestly, it can also take a while to get used to them and learn how to read them.

Drawings are not only crucial to define architecture and give technical detailed instructions of how to build specific constructive elements. Drawings and 2D documentation in general are powerful tools to communicate space, ideas and intentions.
The technical drawings are the Architects’ principal weapon, and it’s one of the major skills clients pay for. They are the ultimate form of expression, what differentiates us from the rest, and our way to communicate information with the end client.

 

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Architectural drawings’ famous examples.

 

“THERE ARE AS MANY STYLES AS DIFFERENT ARCHITECTS EXIST”

 

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Plan view of an ARCHICAD file using different graphic styles.

 

These drawings with all the little codes, labels and other stuff, allow clients to build that dreamed house that was suggested in those beautiful hand drawn perspectives or hyper realistic renders…

Many people can give ideas or build a 3D model, but not that many can make good and useful architectural drawings.

This is probably why, one of the biggest concerns of the Architects that I have spoken with about BIM, ARCHICAD or any new tool, are Drawings. Their main weapon.

It was the very first question asked in my former office when we presented ARCHICAD among the team. After seeing all the features of the software and getting some big wows from the youngest part of the audience, one of the senior associates said: “That looks amazing and I can see all the benefits of this workflow. But what about the drawings, they look terrible!.”

I felt sad and disappointed for a moment, mainly because I understood the concern. The Graphisoft person that came in to present it had performed an amazingly quick exercise of efficiency, rapidly building a 3D model of a simple house and getting all kind of documentation like schedules, renderings and diagrams in about 15/20 minutes. But the drawings used the standard pen-sets from the ARCHICAD template, and they didn’t look very good; that was the main crack that collapsed the initial enthusiasm.

Please note that he had already had some experience with other BIM software, and apparently, it had been very difficult to reach a good level of graphics.

This main concern that this Architect had raised a couple of years ago, is nowadays one of the most common fears among the sector.. They don’t want to lose the ability and the freedom to express what they want.
In our professional experience,it has been a few years since we have not drawn in 2D, but let’s just extract 2D drawings from our BIM models.

The usual feedback from clients, colleagues, consultants and collaborators in general regarding our drawings has always been “those drawings look pretty clear and nice!, which software do you use?”

So, if it works for us, why wouldn’t it work for you?

Indeed you will gain the same or even more expressiveness and graphic capacity, just by learning a few techniques. It is a matter of adjusting to a new way with a new set of rules.

 

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Same section with different drawing styles applied. Comes from a 100% 3D model in ARCHICAD with no extra 2D work.

 

“THOSE DRAWINGS LOOK PRETTY NICE AND CLEAR…”

 

When ARCHICAD first was released, back in 1984, the targeted clients were the Architects. 31 years later, the software has evolved together with the Architects’ needs and priorities.

 

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Elevation extracted from the 3D model, imitating Richard Meier’s drawing style.

 

Unlike other software solutions, focused primarily in big infrastructure projects and designed mainly for engineers, Graphisoft has always stayed on the side of the Architects, backing us up.

This little introduction about the company focus, is meant to explain the care and love that this tool has put into the graphical aspect of our profession.

Features like the “pen-sets” and the “model view options” have been included almost since the first versions, to be combined together into the “views” to provide flexibility creating graphic documentation obtained directly from the 3D model. Later on, renovation filters and building materials gave us incredible control of the graphical quality of our documents.

 

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3D is sometimes just a better way to communicate your ideas.

 

FROM 2D DRAWINGS TO 3D DOCUMENTATION WITHIN YOUR FILE

 

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But when it comes to generating Graphic Documentation Architects do not relay in 2D drawings only. 3D Documentation is a powerful way of expressing not only renders and beautiful images, but also technical details and diagrams.

 

Coordination tasks, efficiency and other big trendy words have been included in the ARCHICAD workflow for decades, showing up organically when the Architectural practice was demanding it.

 

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Slice from a big development showing traditional 2D section and 3D section giving depth and better understanding of the space. 

 

As a former Autocad user, we have seen the “flexibility” that the most fierce users claim: multiplying drawings, creating hundreds of layers and duplicating files – what has proved to be the cause of multiple errors and lack of coordination between files and teams.

Unlike that, the Virtual Building Concept, now known as BIM, suggested a different and, in my opinion, more clever solution: One file, one model and different documents to submit that require different sets of rules that can extract the information in the way you want.

 

GRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION OBTAINED DIRECTLY FROM THE 3D MODEL

 

In the latest release of ARCHICAD 20, they have reinvented the wheel by introducing a great new feature that makes even easier the production of old school documentation -giving also the power to innovate on the way the Architects communicate their design and share documentation with others.

In the end everything comes down to communication. A successful project is one where the information gets to the right people in the right way.

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These are some examples of how, using one sample model, just by tweaking some parameters and setting up some visual rules you can play with almost no effort with different styles creating 2D documentation as well as 3D diagrams and renderings.

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We wanted to share with you few images showing the new capabilities of the 3D workflow. With it Architects are able to expand their communication skills and be much clearer when explaining options, details or simply layout plans. They are able to quickly create 3D diagrams that allow clients or contractors to understand better their design and consequently eliminate misunderstandings and save time.

 

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Final render of the house. 

Our aim is to create a series of articles related to the creation of beautiful architectural 2D drawings, 3D views and documents by using comprehensively some of the ARCHICAD main features . Attributes, 2D GDL objects, views… Everything you need to know about expressing  your own drawing style or exploring the new graphic capabilities and thus upgrading your communication skills!

Please don’t hesitate to comment below and give us ideas about the different topics related with this article that you may be interested in exploring.

 

We Hope you liked it and see you in the next post!

 

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