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Architects: Revit or Archicad?

jakemendonza
Newcomer
HII
Just gauging the popularity and usage of both Revit and ArchiCad in the industry. The school I'm in teaches and forces us to ArchiCad it in some of our works, which is odd considering that a majority of studios in our country uses solely Revit.

Is there something that ArchiCad that Revit does not offer? And the other way around?
75 REPLIES 75

Jose Gemez
Newcomer
My first "bim" software was Allplan (2003)... Then Archicad for many years... then Revit for 4 years aprox... and now I'm back with Archicad... In my opinion is the best tools for Architects... maybe not the best bim tools but if you are a architect without doubt is the best tool... archicad and a good pencil 😉

jl_lt
Enthusiast
hi! would you mind comenting on the different experiences you had using the 3 softwares? What kind of projects did you worked on, what you could do better in each software? What made you come back to ArchiCAD?

Aleks Dzi
Newcomer
Jose wrote:
My first "bim" software was Allplan (2003)... Then Archicad for many years... then Revit for 4 years aprox... and now I'm back with Archicad... In my opinion is the best tools for Architects... maybe not the best bim tools but if you are a architect without doubt is the best tool... archicad and a good pencil 😉
Yes would like to know aswell)

Vallita Costantini
Participant
I would say that Revit is like driving an old car, and Archicad is the Ferrari. I have experience with both software, I've developed complete projects with Revit and Archicad, and I would never go back to Revit, never ever... I would say Archicad is the smart guy of BIM technology.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
So, the other day i got to see a Revit model of a medium sized project in action and even handled it a bit. The project was about 20,000m2 multifamily project, but not that complex and the clients pc is somewhere between medium high and high spectrum, not a workstation nor anything like that but they got 32gb ram (more than my laptop ), and the project was done by a reputed local office.

Lets just say that if i ever needed reassurance that i made the right choice with Archicad this was it. The model handled like the clunky mess i remember from when i took my basic revit courses, but worse because the model was bigger. The level of detail was dismal for a supposedly finished project that cost dozens of thousands of dollars; i could almost imagine the modellers giving up on the model (and life), their faces resting in defeat at their keyboards. Forget about editability.

I was very shocked by this experience. Knowing the office that made the project i expected something much better (i learned later that they do heavy editing in Autocad). I mean, why do they still use this?? Maybe it is an isolated experience and the rest of Revit offices have a very enjoyable process and the output is great, but i seriously doubt it.

Mats_Knutsson
Advocate
We have both though majority AC. IMO AC is an autobahn sportswagon on a wheat field while Revit is a tractor on autobahn...kind of .
AC 24 SWE Full
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jl_lt wrote:
So, the other day i got to see a Revit model of a medium sized project in action and even handled it a bit. The project was about 20,000m2 multifamily project, but not that complex and the clients pc is somewhere between medium high and high spectrum, not a workstation nor anything like that but they got 32gb ram (more than my laptop ), and the project was done by a reputed local office.

Lets just say that if i ever needed reassurance that i made the right choice with Archicad this was it. The model handled like the clunky mess i remember from when i took my basic revit courses, but worse because the model was bigger. The level of detail was dismal for a supposedly finished project that cost dozens of thousands of dollars; i could almost imagine the modellers giving up on the model (and life), their faces resting in defeat at their keyboards. Forget about editability.

I was very shocked by this experience. Knowing the office that made the project i expected something much better (i learned later that they do heavy editing in Autocad). I mean, why do they still use this?? Maybe it is an isolated experience and the rest of Revit offices have a very enjoyable process and the output is great, but i seriously doubt it.


Offices that you see that have Revit and do large projects and (seem to) have no complaints about it or specifically the performance, is usually almost certainly because they have powerful workstations.

I mean,...as a general rule, in architecture you should have high end hardware regardless of whatever software you're running - or at least as high end as your budget and resources can allow.
But in the cases of Revit users, that I've personally observed and experienced, this is simply not a choice if you want to work comfortably.

That software is simply not optimized to run well on anything outside of really high end computers.
And even then it's anything but an enjoyable experience.
A lot of the cause of the issues is the parametric engine they use and the constraints orgy that define a Revit workflow - so much so that their BIM managers will remind people often to disable automatic constraints as much as they can to avoid fatal crashes and slowdown later on.

You've heard of stories of offices where they have licenses of Sketchup and Rhino which are what they use to do the actual design work, and then the documentation is handled by BIM-monkeys on Revit.
It's because you simply can not design or do design on Revit.
All your design issues have to have been worked out fully by the time you get to working on Revit, because of said performance nightmares.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
I´ve heard that (that you dont do design work in revit and that they model twice). I took Revit courses which covered the basics, but never got to do any real design work on it nor got to see it directly being used by experienced users, so even if i never liked revit and my bad opinions on it amounts to my personal experience with using it in those courses (which i loathed) and some minimal work here and there, i always conceded that we, non Revit users, might fall into exagerations and that Revit users might know something that we dont. Not anymore.

Dendarii
Contributor
After working on both Revit and Archicad extensively (high end residential projects) below are my thoughts on the two programs:

Summary - I would never work on Revit by choice; Archicad is much nicer and more productive to work on as a design Architect; it’s such a shame Revit is used so prevalently purely because of the selling power of Autodesk.

Revit positives are that it is easier for beginners/less experienced users as there are far less settings (no layers etc.) so users can begin modelling with little thought to tool settings. 3D live details are standard from all detail callouts. Tagging drawings is easier as tags just work on all elements/surfaces in the views.

Other than that Revit is slow and clunky, very poor 2D drafting, modelling the 3D building is tedious (join lines in 2D to create 3D elements – and hope for no errors). Trying to do design work in Revit is frustrating due to the inability to navigate/visualize in 3D or make adjustments in 3D.

Archicad is much faster/fluid (especially on high end computers) and replaces all design office programs in one integrated interface (ie. autocad, revit, rhino, InDesign, illustrator etc. functionality all in one). The design/coordination process is helped by Archicad (rather than a hindrance in Revit) due to fast 3D modelling and visualization capabilities.

While both programs have some issues for me Archicad’s breadth of abilities is far greater than Revit which is just a construction documentation tool.
Architect

Archicad user since 2001

runxel
Mentor
Dendarii wrote:

Revit positives are that it is easier for beginners/less experienced users as there are far less settings (no layers etc.) so users can begin modelling with little thought to tool settings.
You mean: "It's easier to break the model for novices."

Beginners in Archicad (persons switching from Revit) are often astonished by how easy a BIM program ca be to grok.
If I show them around they always have the same look on their face, a delightful blend of joy and amazement.


What's really great in Archicad is the fact that while there are the standard tools (the wall tool will give you, well, a wall), advanced BIMmers will know how to "abuse" this system for the needs they have.
A railing can be a railing can be a wall can be a fence can be a skewed parapet wall can be a an distributed ornament.
Try that in Revit! There is only take it or leave it, and forget about correct IFC types.

But, in Revit there is also wide abusing going on: The offices I know draw things with dimension lines, since there is no other choice.

Also, the office of a good friend of mine draws everything again in Autocad. I don't even know why they have the Revit model in the first place, because not a single plan leaves the office directly out of Revit. (It's one of the biggest offices in West Germany)
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Mats_Knutsson
Advocate
I would also say AC is easier for beginners. I've trained about 90 ppl internally in AC and 70% of them had Revit background and are mostly relieved with the ease of learning Archicad.
AC 24 SWE Full
HPZbook 32GB i7 7820HQ 2,9 GHz
Quadro M2200 2GB

jl_lt
Enthusiast
runxel wrote:

Also, the office of a good friend of mine draws everything again in Autocad. I don't even know why they have the Revit model in the first place, because not a single plan leaves the office directly out of Revit. (It's one of the biggest offices in West Germany)
This, blows.my.mind

Mjules
Enthusiast
Revit is better than what you describe. It is not without any reason that it is widely used in North America. It is not either because Revit is from AutoDesk that lots of firms use it more than ArchiCAD in both Canada and United States.
qbic-ft wrote:
Revit 2021 is out and the only improvement is Slanted Walls you can adjust the angle of the wall and everything else is still terrible. Maybe in 10 years from now will be like ArchiCAD 22
Martin Luther Jules
AC 10-25 (Full)
Alienware | 64 GB RAM | Windows 10

shrutiniwas
Contributor
I would say Revit is also good, but far more limited. I am not talking about handling structure and MEP disciplines, as Revit covers them better than Archicad. In a way Revit ticks a lot of boxes, almost all. But overall it can be deemed ‘objectively’ rigidly programmed, as more often than not it grabs the hands of designers to impose specific manners in which they must make decisions towards creating anything. This fact somewhat renders Revit as more simplified solution, useful for forcing standardization- thus rendering it somewhat better fit for larger firms aiming standardized practice (prevalent characteristics among North American firms, I am assuming as not fully informed).
I have been an avid user and advocate of Revit, before I gave Archicad a go, as I just wanted to be less biased being an academician. Initial transition took a lot of effort, as some things are pretty simple and dynamic in Revit, e.g., moving walls in a floor plan. But, then when I kept on going, and completed the same project on Archicad which I had done with Revit in a very detailed manner (in Revit, I had also modeled 3D rebars, baseplates etc. for some part of the farmhouse project). I could summarize the whole experience, as liberating. I could visualize where I had to contain myself in order to be reasonably BIM efficient in Revit. Archicad, on the other hand provided better modeling flexibility and more accurate reporting avenues. To list a few of them:
1. Material Priority (in Archicad) over join geometry (in Revit)
2. Property manager (in Archicad) over utilization of shared parameters (in Revit)
3. Autotext and other labels (in Archicad) over tags and keynotes (in Revit). However, material keynote is rather missing from Archicad. I mean there could be workarounds, but selection of material within complex profiles and composite individually through autotext or other labels is still a big challenge (apart from the skin list tag which is not completely what we want, and not even useful for complex profiles properly).
4. Editing elements in 3D is much better in Archicad, while in Revit, graphically editing is only possible for instance properties. However, as mentioned earlier, working in floor plans sometimes is better in Revit based on the temporary dimensions, aligning ability, locking alignments etc. Locking of surface, edge, and location alignments should also be developed into Archicad.
5. Complex profile feature is a really essential thing to be in Architectural and BIM modeling tools. Only instance, I could gather in Revit is stacked walls, which is non-intuitive and very tricky to use. Whereas complex profiles in Archicad are versatile and parametric (however, modifiers for angle parameters and curves should also be developed).
6. Graphic management is way better in Archicad (and more parametric), though some graphic overrides feature are more flexible in Revit (for e.g., manual temporary view specific overrides for manually selected elements, exploded views etc.)
7. Interactive scheduling of Archicad is more intuitive and reporting is more accurate due to material priority feature.
8. Solid Element Operations, and Boolean Operations are completely missing from Revit.

There could be many many more points (like highly parametrized library elements, better and detailed layouting capabilities, more capable 2D drafting and detailing) which make Archicad more suitable for Architects. Still, Archicad could learn a few tricks from Revit as well. But overall, in my opinion, Archicad is a far more suitable tool for architects. It is a very detailed tool, very very detailed- even intimidating (not complaining). Although, I am forced to use Revit as a Professor of construction management (which is unfortunate, as it is prevalent in India and has secured its place in curriculums as a result of smart marketing strategy from Autodesk), but for architectural work and explorations I would never go back to using it again while it retains its current form. But, I always keep revisiting my decision during the version launches, as I hate to be a zealot (but a little zeal never hurts).
Mjules wrote:
Revit is better than what you describe. It is not without any reason that it is widely used in North America. It is not either because Revit is from AutoDesk that lots of firms use it more than ArchiCAD in both Canada and United States.

PR59
Participant
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ArchiCAD 6.5 to 22
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Artlantis 2020 / Twinmotion 20.2

Arty
Participant
shrutiniwas wrote:
I would say Revit is also good, but far more limited. I am not talking about handling structure and MEP disciplines, as Revit covers them better than Archicad. In a way Revit ticks a lot of boxes, almost all. But overall it can be deemed ‘objectively’ rigidly programmed, as more often than not it grabs the hands of designers to impose specific manners in which they must make decisions towards creating anything. This fact somewhat renders Revit as more simplified solution, useful for forcing standardization- thus rendering it somewhat better fit for larger firms aiming standardized practice (prevalent characteristics among North American firms, I am assuming as not fully informed).
I have been an avid user and advocate of Revit, before I gave Archicad a go, as I just wanted to be less biased being an academician. Initial transition took a lot of effort, as some things are pretty simple and dynamic in Revit, e.g., moving walls in a floor plan. But, then when I kept on going, and completed the same project on Archicad which I had done with Revit in a very detailed manner (in Revit, I had also modeled 3D rebars, baseplates etc. for some part of the farmhouse project). I could summarize the whole experience, as liberating. I could visualize where I had to contain myself in order to be reasonably BIM efficient in Revit. Archicad, on the other hand provided better modeling flexibility and more accurate reporting avenues. To list a few of them:
1. Material Priority (in Archicad) over join geometry (in Revit)
2. Property manager (in Archicad) over utilization of shared parameters (in Revit)
3. Autotext and other labels (in Archicad) over tags and keynotes (in Revit). However, material keynote is rather missing from Archicad. I mean there could be workarounds, but selection of material within complex profiles and composite individually through autotext or other labels is still a big challenge (apart from the skin list tag which is not completely what we want, and not even useful for complex profiles properly).
4. Editing elements in 3D is much better in Archicad, while in Revit, graphically editing is only possible for instance properties. However, as mentioned earlier, working in floor plans sometimes is better in Revit based on the temporary dimensions, aligning ability, locking alignments etc. Locking of surface, edge, and location alignments should also be developed into Archicad.
5. Complex profile feature is a really essential thing to be in Architectural and BIM modeling tools. Only instance, I could gather in Revit is stacked walls, which is non-intuitive and very tricky to use. Whereas complex profiles in Archicad are versatile and parametric (however, modifiers for angle parameters and curves should also be developed).
6. Graphic management is way better in Archicad (and more parametric), though some graphic overrides feature are more flexible in Revit (for e.g., manual temporary view specific overrides for manually selected elements, exploded views etc.)
7. Interactive scheduling of Archicad is more intuitive and reporting is more accurate due to material priority feature.
8. Solid Element Operations, and Boolean Operations are completely missing from Revit.

There could be many many more points (like highly parametrized library elements, better and detailed layouting capabilities, more capable 2D drafting and detailing) which make Archicad more suitable for Architects. Still, Archicad could learn a few tricks from Revit as well. But overall, in my opinion, Archicad is a far more suitable tool for architects. It is a very detailed tool, very very detailed- even intimidating (not complaining). Although, I am forced to use Revit as a Professor of construction management (which is unfortunate, as it is prevalent in India and has secured its place in curriculums as a result of smart marketing strategy from Autodesk), but for architectural work and explorations I would never go back to using it again while it retains its current form. But, I always keep revisiting my decision during the version launches, as I hate to be a zealot (but a little zeal never hurts).
Mjules wrote:
Revit is better than what you describe. It is not without any reason that it is widely used in North America. It is not either because Revit is from AutoDesk that lots of firms use it more than ArchiCAD in both Canada and United States.
Never read a better summary in regards to Revit vs ArchiCAD.
Well done sir.
I'm in the same situation as you : teaching Revit / using ArchiCAD for my own projects.
Your description was excellent. (I'm dying for angle and curve modifiers...which AC25 didn't bring, sadly)
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