Architecture Computer Programs

There are a couple of awesome architecture software programs available for you for free. These awesome free architecture design software will help you design awesome building models and awesome 3d architectural designs. So let us check out the awesome free architecture design software. Software that can be of great use to students, amateur or professional architects alike. In this article , we shall be listing down the awesome free architecture software’s along with their features which can be of great help to you in designing awesome building models and awesome 3d architectural designs.

Continue reading to learn about architecture computer programs, best free architecture software, architecture software free, architecture software free download and autocad architecture.

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Architecture Computer Programs

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Each Architectural design software is targeted at different needs, and choosing the best one for you depends on many factors such as cost, compatibility with other programs, and the amount of time you are willing to spend on the drawing process. It depends as well on where on the design process are you – we probably all start sketching on paper, then move to architectural software. We even need Graphic Design Software to Illustrate Our Ideas and Design Process. Although you will only find the most suitable design software by being able to adapt and jump between them, here is a list of basic programs to increase your workflow and help you get from the first draft to the final presentation.

Architectural Design Software List:

1. SketchUp

3D Model: Fabian Dejtiar via SketchUp

We strongly believe that architects should start the conceptual phase in 3D. SketchUp allows the user to quickly and easily make 3D designs. It can be downloaded for free however many of its export features are disabled. Since Google bought its copyrights it has become extremely popular in terms of usability and cost. It is one of the easiest programs to understand but its simplicity also means that it has limited rendering capabilities.

However, it is still a powerful program to convey first ideas and it also offers an enormous component library, particularly for domestic architecture. Every object, surface, and material comes with its own unique texture, which is definitely a plus. Its biggest pro remains to date its user-friendly interface.

2. Revit

Revit

Revit is the all-in-one software for 2D and 3D projects, that produces a total project output including modeling, rendering, and 2D construction documents. Instead of lines and circles, you can use actual walls, roofs, beams, columns, and other building components and also real-world characteristics of the physical building such as windows and doors.

It is compatible with AutoCAD, so it is pretty easy to insert a DWG file and use it as a trace reference to start shaping your model. One of its biggest advantages is that every change you make to the model is updated in all views, including plans and elevations. This reduces coordination and drawing time significantly.

3.  3D Studio Max

3D Studio Max

Although 3DRhino is getting spread at an exponential rate, because of its parametric plugins and smooth modeling features. Yet, 3D Studio Max still the most popular software in the 3D market.  Since those primordial days of computer graphics and 3D Studio (software that was running under DOS), things have changed.

In just the last half-decade 3D Studio Max tools have found their way into far more areas of our work life than anyone would have imagined. It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios.

4. Cedreo

CedreoCedreo is a 3D home design software for home builders, interior designers, and remodeling professionals. A simple and fast solution to help you increase your sales: one hour is all it takes to create a 3D floor plan and realistic 3D renderings. Design home plans on your own. With Cedreo, you can master the entire preliminary home draft stage and save valuable time by starting from previous projects, stored in your account, and ready to personalize for your clients. Used in commercial presentations, the 3D renderings allow your clients to easily picture themselves in their future homes.

Cedreo 3D rendering software is both powerful and easy to use. You can create photorealistic 3D renderings of a home with accurate lighting and surface shading to get lifelike images, in less than 5 minutes. This allows you to create appealing presentations easily to communicate your vision and help your clients visualize their new home faster than ever.

5. Autocad

AutoCAD

Actually, we don’t recommend using Autocad anymore since Revit is rapidly replacing it in the market. Yet, Autocad is the old dominant player in the architecture software industry. It is so well known among students and professionals that it is unlikely to face any compatibility issues while transferring files throughout the design process. It produces purely representational drawings and usually is the stepping stone to 3D modeling software.

If you adjust the user interface to your preferences and start experimenting with layers and line weights, you will get a decent draft with standard drawing conventions and measurable construction details. Another version of AutoCAD that is created especially for architects, is AutoCAD Architecture. It has features that allow architects to do more efficient drafting, creating designs and documents familiar to them. It has the same platform as AutoCADthat makes it easier for experienced architects to understand.

6. V-Ray

V-Ray

V-Ray is simply the best for realistic visualization. It is a plug-in that turns SketchUp and ArchiCAD into a nice rendering. The cleanest textures, darkest darks, and brightest whites amount to the most accurate representation of real-world conditions. If your aim is to put your clients in the spaces you are designing in convincing style, V-Ray is going to be your best option. Its extensive material library and resources provide a variety of options in lights, surfaces, and realistic textures to take your architecture design to the next level.

7. Photoshop

Photoshop

When creating renderings, whether it is a section, elevation or plan, knowing how to use Photoshop is absolutely vital. It is high-quality image-producing software, perfect for final renderings and touch-ups. With its familiar system of layers, you can give your rendering the atmosphere and style you want with very few alterations. It is used for image processing, adding textures, landscape, people, a sky, etc. It is also a great way to fix and edit scans of your work and create vignettes for the final presentation.

8. InDesign

In Design

In Design is basically a layout program suitable for creating from booklets to large presentation sheets. You can arrange objects into presentable forms including text, shapes, and images, and is also good for document creation, such as resumes and portfolios. You can set up font types/sizes, page master pages with page numbers, helping increase productivity and document consistency.

The software also gives you the ability to package your files together and bring them with you so you can work at school or at home without the hassle of making sure you copy each separate file and take it with you.

best architecture software for beginners

Beyond this, design software automates common processes. This allows you to save time. You can get designs to clients quicker and enjoy a more efficient workflow. Still, you won’t experience these benefits if you choose the wrong software. Your choice must suit your needs and be suitable for your work setup.

Each piece of software has something different to offer. With this list, we will choose ten of the best on the current market. Further, we will explain why you should consider each one.

Rhino 3D

Since its creation in 1998, Rhino 3D has become one of the most popular tools for architectural design. Users can enter drawings or physical models into the software. From there, Rhino can create 3D models and provide documentation for the design. You can even scan real-world data into the newer versions of the software.

Beyond that, Rhino offers all of the tools a designer needs to edit designs. Beyond the base models, you can create animations and professional renders. It is also one of the most flexible design packages around. Designers can translate solid objects and surfaces into the software. It even allows you to work with point clouds and polygon meshes. Because of this, the software is usually favoured by those who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning about the complexities of computer aided design (CAD).

There’s more. People with programming expertise can adjust the Rhino workspace. Using RhinoScript, they can create their own plugins. Those who can’t program also have access to a database of pre-built plugins. Further, you can export Rhino designs into the real world using 3D printers or laser cutting. This separates Rhino from other packages that don’t offer a manufacturing aspect.

Revit Architecture

The building information modelling (BIM) concept is key in modern architecture. It relates to the development of sustainable buildings. In a world where environmental awareness is at an all-time high, sustainability is high on the agenda for many clients.

That’s where Revit Architecture comes in. The software focuses on providing the tools for effective BIM. Its key feature is automation. Changes you make to your model get recorded throughout the project. The software coordinates these changes to ensure you create complete projects that consider BIM at every turn. As such, if you make a change in the 3D view, those changes reflect across the plan, elevation and section views. The same goes for changes you make in any other view.

The software offers automation elsewhere. For example, it allows you to create libraries of parametric objects. You can access these objects across all designs to quickly implement common models into your project.

Revit Architecture also allows for greater teamwork. You can schedule separate project elements to ensure they get completed on time. The software also allows you to pull in team members from multiple disciplines into the project. All of this while keeping the core concepts of BIM at the forefront.

SketchUp

Many architects favour SketchUp because of its real-world applications. Google purchased SketchUp in 2006. Though it has since sold the company, Google implemented a lot of useful features. For example, you can pull topographical images from Google Maps into SketchUp. The same goes for satellite images.

The key benefit of SketchUp is its price. You can download SketchUp for free. It may lack some of the features of other software packages. Still, it provides enough to help you create professional models. However, the base package has most of the exporting features turned off. Even so, this offers you flexibility. You can choose the features that suit your project. Thus, you only invest in what you need.

The cost makes it ideal for students and those operating on slim budgets. Many use SketchUp to get to grips with 3D modelling before moving onto other software. Speed is also a key aspect of SketchUp. You can create simple 3D models quickly. With the right features, you can even create complex models ready for presentation.

V-Ray

V-Ray is not a standalone design software. It is actually a plugin. You can use it with ArchiCAD and SketchUp. Its purpose is to create realistic rendering. This allows you to show off your 3D models as they would look in the real world.

This makes V-Ray ideal for those who need to add that extra spark to their designs. The software offers access to stunning textures. Further, its colour palette has few rivals. This means you can use light and shade to your advantage with V-Ray more so than most other design software.

Designers across many industries use V-Ray in their work. Beyond architecture, it has proven ideal for video game design and CGI rendering for film and TV. Coming back to architecture, V-Ray is all about placing clients in a visual space. It helps them see what your designs will look like once they’re built. Further, designers benefit from an extensive resource library to help them take their base designs to another level.

AutoCAD

AutoCAD software has been a fixture of the architecture sector since its release in 1982. The software has come a long way since those early days. This history has bred familiarity. Students and professionals have used AutoCAD for decades. As such, learning how to use it often proves helpful when searching for jobs in engineering or architecture.

Many use AutoCAD as a first step on the way to creating 3D models. It allows you to develop drawings that represent your buildings at the more basic level. Designers will often transfer these drawings to other software packages to work on the more advanced modelling concepts. Because of AutoCAD’s popularity, most other design packages are compatible with its files.

Further, AutoCAD is a useful teaching tool. Users can change preferences and use it to learn the basics about line weights and design layers. Architects can even access an industry-specific version of the software. This allows for more efficient drawing of base models.

Maya

There is some disagreement about how useful Maya is when it comes to architecture. Some argue that it is too general a design software. They note that it doesn’t have many of the tools that more dedicated pieces of software benefit from. However, this lack of constraints is often useful to designers.

Maya proves perfect for exploring concepts that stretch further than what other types of software allow. It offers you more freedom in your work. This fosters innovation in design. Many use Maya to come up with new ideas before transferring their Maya models into other software. It is this freedom that has led to Maya gaining acceptance in the architectural sector. You can even download additional toolsets specific to the industry.

Many who are new to 3D modelling also use Maya as a teaching tool. It allows them to get to grips with the core concepts of creating 3D models without dealing with the constraints of specialised software. Its tutorials prove very useful. Further, Maya has a large community around it. This makes it easier for designers to get help if they start struggling with their work.

ArchiCAD

Many point to ArchiCAD as offering everything a designer would need. It proves useful in creating both 2D and 3D models. Further, you can integrate several other software packages into it. A common favourite is pulling V-Ray into ArchiCAD. This allows designers to create photorealistic models. Even those who don’t integrate V-Ray into ArchiCAD can create realistic models. The new versions of ArchiCAD feature CineRender for creating lifelike models.

ArchiCAD’s main feature is its user-friendly nature. You can learn the basics of the software with minimal effort. This has made it a favourite with students and those just starting out in architecture. It offers a time-effective way to create detailed models. As such, it is great for projects where time is a factor.

Beyond that, the software offers several tools for automating complicated processes. For example, it has an inbuilt library of stair and rail designs. Better yet, you can match these resources to the building you have created. Many architects agree that designing staircases can prove difficult in large projects. ArchiCAD removes much of this difficulty through automation.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper allows architects to use parametric design to improve the efficiency of their workflows. So what does this mean for you? Well, Grasshopper has several tools that help you automate menial tasks. Consider the software’s use of variables. In most design software, you will need to copy and paste basic elements, such as lines, if you wish to use them again. Some software use matrixes to reduce the time this tasks take. Even then, it is often annoying. Grasshopper’s use of variables makes such actions easier. You only need to enter a number into your variable to create the desired number of elements.

Better yet, you can create modules centred on these common tasks. Over time, Grasshopper allows the designer to create a full library of previously used ideas and elements. You can access these modules with the click of a mouse.

Grasshopper also benefits from being an open source software. It has a community around it that constantly develops new plugins. Coupled with that, Grasshopper links closely with Rhino 3D. This integration eliminates the need to understand coding when using Rhino 3D.

Dynamo

Dynamo often comes as a free plugin for use with Revit. However, there is also a standalone version of Dynamo. This means you can choose to use it independently of Revit, though this requires payment of a subscription fee. Much like Grasshopper, Dynamo is an open source software. This means it has a large community around it that constantly builds new features for the studio.

Dynamo is well regarded for having one of the best geometry engines of any design package. This makes working on complex elements easier. Further, the software slots well into the BIM workflow. Dynamo allows you to make quick changes to your designs. Further, it allows you to customize your designs on the fly. This saves a lot of time that you would otherwise spend on editing designs and saving them as separate files.

The software also works with a large number of file types. As such, you can use it as a support tool for a range of other software. One of the most common uses of this is exporting Revit design information into Microsoft Excel files.

Fusion 360

Fusion 360 has gained popularity due to its versatility. The software offers an all-in-one solution. Beyond designing and testing, you can use the software for fabrication. Further, Fusion 360 supports collaborative work environments through its use of the cloud. This allows you to bring together professionals from several sectors to work on projects.

This cloud-based structure has other advantages. You can use Fusion 360 on many devices. For example, you could create a design via a desktop computer and then show it to others away from the office using a smartphone or tablet computer. It’s powerful too. Fusion 360 is one of the few tools that will help you create realistic renders of your designs. This proves useful when making presentations or helping clients visualize your work.

Fusion 360 is also one of the most well-supported design software. You can expect to see updates every two months or so. As such, new features get introduced into the software on an almost constant basis.

Each of the ten pieces of software in this article can help architects realize their visions. Which is best for you depends on your needs. On a general level, students and new designers tend to prefer Maya, SketchUp, and ArchiCAD. These software offer lower prices and more flexibility than many others.

Others prefer more established architectural software. AutoCAD, for example, has been an industry standard for many years. Revit is reaching the same status. Beyond this, software like Grasshopper and Dynamo prove effective for those who want to create more comprehensive design packages.

free 3d architectural design software

Drawings remain the primary means by which architects communicate their ideas to clients, craftsmen or within the design team. The way we create those drawings has evolved over time and is still evolving on a daily basis.

Each Architectural design software is targetted at different needs, and choosing the best one for you depends on many factors such as cost, compatibility with other programs and the amount of time you are willing to spend on the drawing process. Although you will only find the most suitable design software by being able to adapt and jump between them, here is a list of basic programs to increase your workflow and help you get from the first draft to the final presentation.

Architectural Design Software List:

  1. SketchUp
    Design Software
    SketchUp

We strongly believe that architects should start the conceptual phase in 3D. SketchUp allows the user to quickly and easily make 3D designs. It can be downloaded for free however many of its export features are disabled. Since Google bought its copyrights it has become extremely popular in terms of usability and cost. It is one of the easiest programs to understand but its simplicity also means that it has limited rendering capabilities.

However, it is still a powerful program to convey first ideas and it also offers an enormous component library, particularly for domestic architecture. Every object, surface, and material come with its own unique texture, which is definitely a plus. Its biggest pro remains till date its user-friendly interface.

Revit

Revit is the all-in-one software for 2D and 3D projects, that produces a total project output including modeling, rendering, and 2D construction documents. Instead of lines and circles, you can use actual walls, roofs, beams, columns and other building components and also real-world characteristics of the physical building such as windows and doors.

It is compatible with AutoCAD, so it is pretty easy to insert a DWG file and use it as a trace reference to start shaping your model. One of its biggest advantages is that every change you make to the model is updated in all views, including plans and elevations. This reduces coordination and drawing time significantly.

3D Studio Max

Although 3DRhino is getting spread at an exponential rate, because of its parametric plugins and smooth modeling features. Yet, 3D Studio Max still the most popular software in the 3D market. Since those primordial days of computer graphics and 3D Studio (software that was running under DOS), things have changed.

In just the last half decade 3D Studio Max tools have found their way into far more areas of our work life than anyone would have imagined. It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios.

AutoCAD

Actually, we don’t recommend using Autocad anymore since Revit is rapidly replacing it in the market. Yet, Autocad is the old dominant player in the architecture software industry. It is so well known among students and professionals that it is unlikely to face any compatibility issues while transferring files throughout the design process. It produces purely representational drawings and usually is the stepping stone to 3D modeling software.

If you adjust the user interface to your preferences and start experimenting with layers and line weights, you will get a decent draft with standard drawing conventions and measurable construction details. Another version of AutoCAD that is created especially for architects, is AutoCAD Architecture. It has features that allow architects to do a more efficient drafting, creating designs and documents familiar to them. It has the same platform as AutoCAD that makes it easier for experienced architects to understand.

V-Ray

V-Ray is simply the best for realistic visualization. It is a plug-in that turns SketchUp and ArchiCAD into a nice rendering. The cleanest textures, darkest darks and brightest whites amount to the most accurate representation of real-world conditions. If your aim is to put your clients in the spaces you are designing in convincing style, V-Ray is going to be your best option. Its extensive material library and resources provide a variety of options in lights, surfaces, and realistic textures to take your architecture design to the next level.

  1. Photoshop

Photoshop

When creating renderings, whether it is a section, elevation or plan, knowing how to use Photoshop is absolutely vital. It is a high-quality image producing software, perfect for final renderings and touch-ups. With its familiar system of layers, you can give to your rendering the atmosphere and style you want with very few alterations. It is used for image processing, adding textures, landscape, people, a sky, etc. It is also a great way to fix and edit scans of your work and create vignettes for the final presentation.

In Design

In Design is basically a layout program suitable for creating from booklets to large presentation sheets. You can arrange objects into presentable forms including text, shapes, and images and is also good for document creation, such as resumes and portfolios. You can set up font types/sizes, page master pages with page numbers, helping increase productivity and document consistency.

The software also gives you the ability to package your files together and bring them with you so you can work at school or at home without the hassle making sure you copy each separate file and take it with you.

  1. Hand Drawing
    The one thing you should always remember is that drafting and design software is just a tool in the hands of architects to facilitate the workflow and reduce the valuable time of drawing production. Architects draw and sketch. There is no more basic and valuable skill, even in our technologically advanced world than hand sketching.

The initial idea should be clear and concise and easily communicated to colleagues and clients. A simple sketch can say a lot more about your concept that the best and most detailed rendering. After all, pencils don’t require any updates.

best free architecture software

Thanks to free architecture software, you can now seamlessly design complex and intricate architectural designs, whether new to design or a seasoned architect.

You can visualize plans and designs even before they are materialized, and this allows you to quickly test your ideas while still maintaining a proper workflow of your projects. The advantages of using architecture software in architectural design are endless.

For example, by using design software, you make design and information management fast and efficient, helping you increase your output and productivity.

Several cool features come with a good architecture software toolkit. Most of these toolkits are expensive because they make your design work a breeze. Luckily, there are some fantastic free architecture softwares with 3D modeling, CAD, modeling software, and so much more.

Here are the best free architectural design softwares.

1. Blender

Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite. If you’re a lover of 3D, this architecture software will blow your socks off. This design software incorporates the entire 3D pipeline and includes modeling, animation, compositing and motion tracking, rigging, rendering, simulation, video editing, and 2D animation pipeline.

This 2D and 3D design software is user-friendly and works well no matter if you work at a big design firm, a student, or freelancing. You can customize this architectural software however you like to suit your process and floor plan you’re working with.

With this excellent free 2D and 3D architecture software, you also get to enjoy the Cycles Render Engine feature. Cycles is Blender’s built-in powerful unbiased path-tracer engine. This architectural software feature offers you stunning ultra-realistic rendering for a fantastic design.

The benefits you get from this user-friendly feature include:

  • VR rendering support
  • CPU and GPU rendering
  • Real-time viewport preview
  • PBR shaders and HDR lighting support

2. FreeCAD

Using FreeCAD is like having your own 3D parametric modeler. This architecture software is an open-source parametric 3D modeler manufactured to help you design real-life objects no matter their size. Parametric modeling enables you to modify your design easily.

By simply going back into your model history and changing the parameters, you can have your desired model look exactly how you want it. This architecture CAD software also allows you to sketch geometry-constrained 2D shapes.

You can also use these 2D shapes as a base upon which you can build other objects on your floor plans. This open-source parametric 3D modeler contains various components that you can use to adjust dimensions and extract design details from your 3D models. This then helps you create high-quality production-ready drawings sure to impress your clients.

This architectural design CAD software is multiplatform and works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux. FreeCAD is also an extensible software. It can read and write to several open file-formats, including IGES, STL, SVG, STEP, DXF, IFC, DAE, OBJ, and many more. This nature allows you to integrate this design software into your workflow seamlessly.

3. LibreCAD

LibreCAD is an open-source 2D-3D CAD application that works well on Windows, Apple, and Linux. If you are a fan of communities and you love contributing and collaborating with other contributors and developers, you’ll enjoy using this design software.

Developed by an experienced team and supported by an incredible community, you might enjoy the fact that you can easily hack and copy LibreCAD.

This 2D and 3D architecture software began as a project to build CAM capabilities into the then community version of QCad for use with a Mechmate CNC router. Because QCad CE was built around the outdated Qt3 library, it had to be ported to Qt4 before it was enhanced. This led to the formation of CADuntu. However, the name CADuntu didn’t stick for long before the community renamed it LibreCAD.

This open-source architectural design CAD software allows you to make different technical drawings, including interior design schemes, buildings, room plans, mechanical part schematics, and diagrams. The main supported file format with this architectural design software is DXF.

However, LibreCAD also allows you to export files to PDF and SVG.

Thanks to the fantastic master developer on their team, LibreCAD is Qt3-free except in the 1.0.0 series. You’ll find that for LibreCAD 2.2.0 series, Qt5 is mandatory. Some of the features that you’ll enjoy with this architecture software include:

  • Open-source and GPLv2
  • Availability in over 30 languages
  • Cross-platform support for Windows. macOS and Linux

4. SmartDraw

SmartDraw is a design app with a strong focus on making the design process quick and simple for architects, designers, and any other party using the app. It is available as both a cloud solution and a downloadable choice for Windows.

This software offers you dozens of templates to choose from, modify and customize with the help of ready-made symbols. This means that you can make as many architecture design variations as possible and then pick the ones you like.

If you work in a team and like to collaborate and sync your progress with your team members, this architectural design software’s got your back. It supports integration with tools such as Trello and Jira, thereby allowing you to optimize your workflow.

This web-based free version allows you to export your drawings and floor plans in different formats. Therefore, you can print your 2D drawing and other drawings or import them into your other apps. SmartDraw comes with several templates that will make your work easier as you create landscapes, architect plans, office spaces, facilities, house drawings, and more.

5. OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is another open-source solution that allows you to create solid 3D models from your floor plans. This architecture software is available for Windows, Mac, and Unix. The thing that makes this free software stand out from other 3D modeling applications is that it focuses on the CAD aspects of 3D modeling instead of the artistic side.

This software works more as a 3D compiler and not so much as an interactive modeling tool. It renders 3D models based on the description of their properties in the script file. This architecture design aspect gives you complete control over the modeling process.

6. MyVirtualHome

Are you a fan of video games? If you are, you’ll love MyVirtualHome as its creation was inspired by base-building video games. It is a 3D home design app that includes a set of standard blocks and modifications which you can use to plan your architectural design.

This free version software enables users to plan the designs and space of their homes, offices, and any other project. Because of its simplicity, this designs project software is geared towards beginners and those who aren’t proficient in visual design.

This architectural design software doesn’t require technical support as it’s effortless to use. You can easily set up your latitude, longitude, and season thanks to the accurate lighting model provided by this drawing and design tool.

These features allow you to add a realistic lighting effect to your virtual project. You can also choose and deploy standard room blocks, which you can modify by changing color schemes and adding furnishings.

And the best part? You get to take a virtual tour into your creation from a first-person perspective. This will allow you to notice any drawing mishaps in your project and allow you to change your designs.

7. BRL-CAD

This architectural design software is both an oldie and a goldie. Having been around for over 30 years, this software is one of the oldest modeling applications designed for constructive solid geometry design (SGD).

This software is an open-source, cross-platform system that enables you to create, analyze, and edit your 3D models. It also allows you to use them later in other tools and systems without transferring and exporting files.

You can also use this architecture software for interior design purposes. This architecture software includes high-performance ray-tracing for rendering geometric analysis, interactive geometry editing, geometry libraries for application developers, and a system performance analysis benchmark suite.

All these user tools make this software great for all kinds of architects. The Hybrid CSG and B-rep kernel and other innovative methods make this tool excellent for precise 3D geometry.