Architectural work includes complex drawings and various supporting documentation. This involves a high level of precision and costs a lot of time and money when done manually. The way technology has eased out the work, saved precious time, and reduced costs for all major businesses, it offers magical results for the architecture industry too.
With the use of architecture software, architects no longer need to repeat the whole job for a minor error. There is no fear of losing documents either as the work can be saved in softcopy form and even online on cloud-based software. Architecture software offers different capabilities. While most of these offer all the basic architectural features, some offer high-level functionalities to support the complete architectural project lifecycle.
With the use of architecture software, architects can now visualize the results of their work in 3D and discuss the same with their teams and clients. Thus, the designs can be easily saved, accessed, replicated, and even modified without much hassle as needed. Overall, this saves a lot of time for all the stakeholders involved.
Architectural software has a variety of applications to include 2D drafting, 3D modeling, 2D/3D integration, BIM and team management, architectural rendering, animation, image editing, text/image organization and presentation, and many more. These aid numerous industries to include building design, animation movies, designing games, and many more.
Top 14 Architecture Software
A good and useful architecture software includes all basic tools needed to simplify the work of architects and help architectural teams collaborate effectively. It offers efficiency and speed. The software must be user-friendly, help sustain workflows, and enable creating great presentations. It supports 3D designing, complete documentation, cost estimation, etc. Besides, the software offers customer support through multiple modes to include email, phone, or online.
Let’s see the overview of top architecture software available in the market with the core features of these.
SketchUp from Trimble is a popular 3D modeling and design tool. It offers a wide range of tools and features for architecture, 3D modeling, BIM, and floorplan.
The major architecture software features you can get with SketchUp include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, annotating plans, building modeling, and façade design. Other significant features include presentation tools, choosing the language, custom profiles, and email & online support.
SketchUp architecture software also provides help-guides and blogs to help users. It works well for Windows and Mac machines.
This architecture software offers a free version and paid packages starting from $299 per year per user. It also offers a free trial.
Vectorworks is the ultimate architectural software that enables you to sketch, model, and present. It works well for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
It offers all major architecture software capabilities and features to include 2D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, and annotating plan. Other features of Vectorworks include language selection and custom profiles. It allows phone, email, and online ticket support.
Vectorworks provides good help resources for users to include help guides, blogs, and webinars. It is a paid software with a monthly payment model, and a 30-day free trial is also available.
3. Chief Architect
Another popular software architecture tool that suits all kinds of businesses from the small, medium, to large, is Chief Architect.
Chief Architect software offers numerous software architectural tools and features to include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, building modeling, annotating plan, custom profiles, choosing the language, and custom profiles. This software offers phone, email, and online support.
This software works well for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also offers user help resources to include help guides, video guides, blogs, webinars, and on-site training.
Chief Architect architecture software is available with a monthly payment model starting from USD 199 per month.
Bluebeam is an excellent software architecture tool that supports architects in the complete project lifecycle and ensures paperless workflows.
The core architectural features of Bluebeam include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, panoramic 360 views, annotating plan, façade design, building modeling, choosing the language, and custom profiles.
Bluebeam is cloud-hosted and offers email and online support. This software enables a free trial for up to 30 days and then monthly payment plans.
The architecture software Floorplanner helps create and share interactive floor plans in 2D and 3D online. With Floorplanner, it is possible to create amazing floor plans with ease to enable a clear view of a property.
Floorplanner offers all the core architecture software features to include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, building model, façade design, choosing the language, and custom profiles. It offers email and online support.
Besides, it provides additional floor plan software features to include light rendering, object database, labeling, geospatial analysis, drag-and-drop, and textures variety.
Floorplanner is cloud-based and works well for Windows and web-based devices. To aid users, it provides help-guides and blogs. It has paid plans with a monthly payment model.
AutoCAD, an Autodesk product, has been a widely used architecture software for decades. It is easy to learn and offers numerous toolsets for architects to include architectural renovation, design and documentation, room documentation, and more.
The core architecture software features offered by AutoCAD are 2D drawing and 3D modeling. Recently added features include creating floor plans, sections, elevations, and other building design drawings.
AutoCAD enables architects to create basic level 3D models and then utilize other software for advanced and complex modeling. It offers compatibility with most of the popular design packages available in the market. It has industry-specific versions too for architects. Being an old architectural software, it is easy and has ample learning material available. It thus works great as a learning-level software for architects.
Another great architecture software product from Autodesk is Revit. It is one of the most popular software for BIM and architectural purposes at present. Revit enables complete workflow management for architects from creating smart models to represent buildings and structures virtually to service integration and specifications. It includes all required team collaboration tools too.
Revit offers an immersive design experience. Its core features include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, building information modeling, documentation management, and presentation tools. Architects can leverage the numerous architectural design tools in Revit to include conceptual design tools, analysis with insight, 3D design visualization, architectural modeling, point cloud tools, multistory stairs designing, and cloud rendering.
Revit does offer a free trial for up to 30 days.
ArchiCAD by Graphisoft is a leading BIM software that can be used by architects to design, document, and collaborate on architectural projects. It provides enhanced design workflow processes that result in high performance and productivity.
It is popular for its robust ability to work simultaneously in both 2D and 3D compared to many other architecture software. The core features of ArchiCAD architecture software include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, annotating plan, building modeling, façade design, choosing the language (supports 27 languages), and custom profiles. ArchiCAD enables phone, email, and online support.
ArchiCAD supports a wide range of operating systems and devices to include Windows, Mac, web-based devices, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads.
This architecture software offers learning resources to include guides, blogs, and case studies. It also offers a free trial.
FreeCAD is an open-source architecture software and parametric 3D modeler that enables you to design real-life objects of any size. Parametric modeling allows architects to easily go back and modify the design through model history by changing its parameters.
The core architecture software features offered by FreeCAD include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, panoramic 360 views, annotating plan, façade design, choosing the language, and custom profiles. Apart from this, it offers all major BIM and CAD software features. It offers email and online support.
FreeCAD supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. To aid the users, it offers help guides too. A free trial is available for this software with a free starter plan and paid packages also.
10. Allplan Architecture
The cloud-based architecture software Allplan Architecture offers a complete package of tools to aid architects and designers in all stages of their project from the presentation of the initial draft to producing working drawings and detailed design layouts. It allows construction cost planning tools too.
Allplan architecture software provides numerous core features to include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, project management, task management, portfolio management, billing/invoicing, contract management, BIM modeling, documentation management, manufacturing design data, visualization, and presentation.
This paid architecture software supports six languages. It also enables email, phone, and online ticket support. Besides, it also offers live support and training.
Blender is a free, open-source 3D creation software that offers a wide range of packages for different industries to include animation, 3D rendering, video editing, architecture, fashion design, and 3D modeling.
The core architecture software features offered by Blender include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, parametric modeling, façade design, and language selection.
Blender is cloud-hosted. It also offers help guides, videos, case studies, and on-site training. It works great for freelancers too.
This architecture software package includes email and online support. It also offers a free trial.
12. Home Designer
With this easy-to-use architecture tool, you can create floor plans and home design quicker. Home Designer allows you to visualize a real-estate property in 3D. It also aids in marketing and presentation.
The core features of Home Designer architecture software include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, annotating plan, building modeling, façade design, choosing the language, and custom profiles.
Home Designer supports Windows, Mac, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads. It offers help guides and blogs to support users.
This cloud-based architecture software enables an annual-subscription based payment model.
13. Sweet Home 3D
Sweet Home 3D is a free, open-source interior design software application. It allows architects to draw the plan of a house, arrange the furniture on it, and visualize the results in 3D.
The core features of Sweet Home 3D architecture software include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, scenario-based planning, script-based export, parametric model, panoramic 360 views, annotating plan, building modeling, façade design, choosing the language, and custom profiles. It offers email and online ticket support.
It enables the creation of photorealistic images and videos by customizing lights and controlling sunlight effects according to the geographic location and time of day.
Sweet Home 3D supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. It provides help guides too.
Cedreo is a 3D architectural home design software for architects, engineers, and remodelers. It enables drawing of floor plans, adding furniture, and creation of realistic 3D renderings.
This software offers a vast (7000+) furnishings and materials library, floorplan upload, living area calculation, resizing rooms, dimensioning, automatic addition of roofing, and more.
The core architecture software features of Cedreo include 2D drawing, 3D modeling, panoramic 360 views, façade design, annotating plan, and choosing the language. It offers email and online support.
Cedreo is cloud-hosted and supports Windows and Mac. It offers resources to include help guides, video guides, blogs, webinars, and on-site training.
This software allows a free trial of 14 days and offers paid packages.
Apart from numerous benefits of using architecture software tools, there are a few challenges too. The cost of purchasing and maintaining such software is high, though some of these are available for free, and some offer basic features for free. Besides, users find complex architecture software difficult to learn.
So, before deploying a paid software for your business, you must evaluate if the benefits of this software outweigh the challenges and costs.
The list of top architecture software as above can help you make the decision. Apart from these, you can also check this list of free and open-source architecture software solutions.
To start with, architects and architectural companies can adopt a free architecture software or initiate with the trial version of a popular paid software to know how fruitful it can be for your business.
If you have tried any architecture software, do post a review here!