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ArchiCAD and creativity

Manuel Fuentes
Contributor

Can someone tell me when archicad stopped being a creative design tool for architects and became so engineering?, a lot of mep, a lot of calculation, a lot of bim, and little design, the mesh tool is still as bad as in version 6, there are no simple ways to model a road (like old adds on that came out), they have taken away space for creativity, ease of use, and now it is a software full of complications, I have been using it since version 4.5 and I feel that it has been losing what it was , a software for architects, to design, to create.

20 REPLIES 20
Karl Ottenstein
Moderator

I hear that you're frustrated and am not sure if it is that you are paying for software that does not add new features that you feel would help you, or that the software feels like it is harder to use?

 

Over the years, we have not lost any functionality at all - only gained more.  The Work Environment can be set up to make AC look just like "the old days" if that is what you want? All of the possibility for creativity remains - and has been increased by a huge number of features over the years... and if there are new things that seem complicated, you don't have to use them?  Some would argue that modeling roads isn't an architects job (your example of no improvement since 6) - although most of us do driveways / parking areas etc and on sloping sites it is indeed still an issue of using solid element operations on meshes.

 

Yet, in most modern architecture firms most of the things added to Archicad over the years are essential (well, we can pick out a few that are really there for the big firms...)

 

Is there anything those of us here in the Community - your fellow users - can do or say to make you feel better about AC still being 100% for architects?

One of the forum moderators
AC 27 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.6.6, MacBook Pro M2 Max 12CPU/30GPU cores, 32GB
Manuel Fuentes
Contributor

Not losing functionalities does not mean that they are better today, they remain the same, it is true that it has many notable additions but, for example, I prefer an improvement to the mesh tool (working with points is still something that could be improved), give "form" tool options to walls and slabs (and perhaps delete the form tool as such), to have a section for structure if that's what the engineer works in his software for, I feel that many of the basic design tools themselves have been abandoned and left as is, In pursuit of incorporating others that have a lower percentage of use and restricted even to larger, multinational architecture offices or with more robust systems, we are a small office that does not need these things but does need to improve the "basic" ones. I dont know if i explained myself well, my english is quite bad, sorry for that

The question here is if there is something that you wanted to design that archicad could not do it.

You can have different workflows, different methods, different approaches. The tools are there.It is you who optimize each tool. Dont let the tool define you. You define the tool. 

Botonis Botonakis
Civil Engineer, Enviromental Design MSc., BIM Manager for BS ArhitectsVR
Company or personal website
Archicad 27. Windows 11. Intel Xeon 2699x2,64 GB RAM, Nvidia 3080Ti. 2 Monitors.
Manuel Fuentes
Contributor

I think I have not explained myself well, although it is true that many new features have been incorporated that are excellent, I do not think that all of them are useful for most architecture offices, however we still cannot model a wall that is trapezoidal in elevation (or another shape), without having to cut with roofs or perform solid element operations (filling the model with operators), what they said about the roads and mesh tool, is also perfectible, the same thing happens with slabs (something was done with the columns) That is what I mean, that the focus has been placed on interoperability, leaving aside the basic functions, which by the way, of course, things can be done, but it could be corrected and improved, and the truth is that certain things of the 26 They made my life more complicated than improving it, redundancy of steps, unnecessary things (maybe it's my bug but to remove a texture from a surface when it doesn't exist I have to open the folder to search for an image and from there it lets me delete, they eliminates the "select all" from layers..and so other things ), I insist, everything can be done, but they could dedicate themselves to improving and perfecting the basic tools to make the workflow much easier. Other things, when the bim server option was launched and it was going to be simpler, the truth is that, in a pandemic, we were never able to work with teamwork, unless we paid a large amount of money for the graphisoft server (I insist, we are a small office), we tried in many ways and could not, I even think that archicad could have a subscription as Adobe does and pirated copies would cease to exist.

 

Botonis
Advisor

As I said it is  matter of how you are using the tools.

 

"however we still cannot model a wall that is trapezoidal in elevation (or another shape), without having to cut with roofs or perform solid element operations"

 

I would never use a wall element to create a trapezoid wall......

Botonis Botonakis
Civil Engineer, Enviromental Design MSc., BIM Manager for BS ArhitectsVR
Company or personal website
Archicad 27. Windows 11. Intel Xeon 2699x2,64 GB RAM, Nvidia 3080Ti. 2 Monitors.
Erwin Edel
Rockstar

How would you model the side of a dormer window?

 

Right now I'm placing an empty window (with sloped top), set to projected, in a wall, adjusting it in 3D to match the slope of the roof, setting it to no effects on zones, drafting a polyline to instead act as zone boundary and sometimes covering up messed up 'fit to skin' fills, because projected things in the 2.5 D floor plan don't act how they should.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'll get there eventually with the current toolset, but being able to cut walls easier and having it show up properly in the floorplan cut plane has been a wish for ages and instead we got (among other things) a structural model addon that until now I've not met any structural engineering firm that is able to use the exported file format for something useful.

 

I'm simplifying, but there is certainly an arguement to be made over priorities in developing AC further and which tools are needed for Architects of smaller firms, which I would think make up the majority of the user base.

 

I'm also less than impressed with the tactic of throwing a previously separate tool/addon into your existing subscription, to pad out the release notes (MEP, Eco-designer, etc).

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5
Botonis
Advisor

I don't have a clear picture of what you want to do but for trapezoid walls, i would use  shell with editable trimming body to trim a wall to whatever shape I want to( not roofs).

Or I would use a shell instead of a wall with the contour adjusted accordingly to create any shape, and trim the sides or create holes.

If your walls are closed (forming a zone) I would use again a closed shell trimmed or with holes on the shell to make any kind of shape I want to.

 

Check also this from Joachim which is realted to dormers.

https://www.b-prisma.de/object-shop/product_info.php?products_id=126

Botonis Botonakis
Civil Engineer, Enviromental Design MSc., BIM Manager for BS ArhitectsVR
Company or personal website
Archicad 27. Windows 11. Intel Xeon 2699x2,64 GB RAM, Nvidia 3080Ti. 2 Monitors.
Manuel Fuentes
Contributor

"I would never use a wall element to create a trapezoid wall......"

"i would use  shell with editable trimming body to trim a wall to whatever shape I want to"

but..its a wall!

 

that is the question, why do you have to use another tool to model an existing tool? why use form or shell to model a wall? when those functions can be incorporated in wall tool..because..its a wall... for smaller offices or less complexity projects, a  trapezoidal wall in elevation is very common, (sometimes i use mesh to model retaining...WALLS) , much more than a parametric shape, a roof with triple curves or very complex structures, why have to cut, divide? , use solid element operation, if it could be all in the same tool?...i think theres a lot of tools when they can be part of the basics..someone said..less is more

 

 

My approach is that i decide the role of the element. Graphisoft obviously has to give names to the element for categorization reasons.

 

I have modeled railings with curtain walls, I have modeled light objects with railings,

I have modeled walls with shells, I have modeled pergolas with curtain walls........

 

I decide what to do and this is the reason I do not feel any limitation or frustration.

As a musician (also) I will not blame the instrument if I cannot play nice music.

  

David Sandborn and Marcus Miller playing jazz with toys 

 

Botonis Botonakis
Civil Engineer, Enviromental Design MSc., BIM Manager for BS ArhitectsVR
Company or personal website
Archicad 27. Windows 11. Intel Xeon 2699x2,64 GB RAM, Nvidia 3080Ti. 2 Monitors.

@Botonis wrote:

My approach is that i decide the role of the element. Graphisoft obviously has to give names to the element for categorization reasons.

 


And that is in part what is holding back AC. It suffers from a degree of skeuomorphism where names are applied to multiple similar modelling tools in order to retain an archaic attachment to slabs, ramps, roofs, walls, doors, windows... do you see a pattern there? The categorisation can be derived simply as an attribute and applied to any element whether it is a linear, planar, mass or complex object, you don't need duplicate tools with minor differences. And if you want a prime example of missed opportunity look at the beam and column tools, brilliant as they are, what really differentiates them? One degree from being able to place them at any angle.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

You should place Openings into the Wall and edit them to the desired shape. So, the Openings are acting as cutting bodies to remove the unneeded parts. It will also give you a proper Floor Plan representation, something SEO will not do.

Loving Archicad since 1995 - Find Archicad Tips at x.com/laszlonagy
AMD Ryzen9 5900X CPU, 64 GB RAM 3600 MHz, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), Windows 10 PRO ENG, Ac20-Ac27

But does this also affect the zone boundary?

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

It can also be done with the oft neglegted shell tool (using the detailed construction method with the extruded geometry method and rotating the reference plane) and it gives you the ability to edit the height of both endings of the wall (or vertical element if you wish) independently, exactly as required by the OP.  Of course, minus the ability to add doors and windows natively, but even that can be solved.  If you dont need it to have doors or windows it works perfectly and even shows correctly on plan

No, it does not. I believe the Zone boundary considers the Wall's Reference Line which is unchanged by any Opening placed into the Wall.

Loving Archicad since 1995 - Find Archicad Tips at x.com/laszlonagy
AMD Ryzen9 5900X CPU, 64 GB RAM 3600 MHz, Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), Windows 10 PRO ENG, Ac20-Ac27

@Laszlo Nagy  wrote:

You should place Openings into the Wall and edit them to the desired shape. So, the Openings are acting as cutting bodies to remove the unneeded parts. It will also give you a proper Floor Plan representation, something SEO will not do.


I think this sums up some of the frustration with the wall tool. Your suggestion is just another slow step in AC's evolution. Why do we still need to juggle with openings just to be able to pull the wall face outline profile into shape? We can do it with other planar objects like slabs & roofs, so why not walls. By now this kind of functionality should be built into the core tool to reduce dependence on SEO's etc. Imagine being told you need to use openings to control the outline shape of your slabs.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

I personally use opening tool in slabs to create drops for bathrooms and when the thickness of slab changes through the story that lets me create only one RC slab per story.

AC 27 INT 5003 - AC 26 INT 6019 ( For MEP Purposes )
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with Radeon Graphics 3.20 GHz 16.0 GB

In that context I agree. I was referring to forming the outside perimeter of the slab if AC could only draw rectangular slabs.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

I totally agree with all said about Archicad lacking for creating some complex shapes like trapezoid wall easily without a workaround but AFAIK some other competing programs have the same difficulties and also their workarounds.

AC 27 INT 5003 - AC 26 INT 6019 ( For MEP Purposes )
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with Radeon Graphics 3.20 GHz 16.0 GB

I think there cannot be a tool for everything. It actually ends up stunting creativity like other software i wont mention does. 

 

Meanwhile, the amount of abuse archicad tools can take without resulting in errors or crashes, at least in our experience is nothing short of miracoulous (we are still very far from using archicads full potential but not rookies anymore, time flies).

 

But im not apoligizing Graphisoft. They should really keep on improving the tools, on which there are hundreds upon hundreds of wishes now (personally i think they should make standarizing all tools interfaces a priority), but at least the trapezoid wall can effectively be achieved  with at least four methods with varying degrees of control.

 

 

DGSketcher
Legend

@Manuel Fuentes I think your post is very clear, and having moved to AC about the same time I share your frustration. It isn't that AC has lost tools, it has just become over complicated with messy workflows and irrelevant aspects e.g the structural analysis tools which aren't easily hidden or ignored. The basic CAD tools and presentation are still dragging along like the day they were first released and some of the 3D Tools should have significantly evolved in capability and usability by now. A few years ago I used to tease my competitors about the speed of working in AC, these days I keep quiet because it seems to take so much longer finding settings, correcting presentation issues and finding work arounds to things that aren't working as expected, and that's with 28 years experience.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)
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