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CAD Packages for Architectural Landscape Design

written by: Suvo • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 8/12/2011

The objective of this architect CAD software review is to provide insight about a few good architectural CAD packages out of the hugely crowded civil CAD market.

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    The cost of architectural CAD landscape design software may vary from free to several thousand dollars. However, I can say from my six years of CAD experience that professional users look for more than just the cost while purchasing such a package. They look for technical features and technical support equally, if not more, than the cost. On the basis of these three factors, the following packages stand out from the crowd.

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    1. ArchiCAD

    800px-ArchiCAD-12-NHS-3D 

    Image Source: Wiki

    • Features:

    - Virtual building: It allows the architects to create a 3D virtual building and all the necessary drawings and documentations (like BOM, etc.) are generated automatically from that.

    - Renovation: The latest version of the application makes the partial or total “renovation" projects easier by adding the renovation status in all its BIM elements.

    - Teamwork Technology: It allows the whole team to work on different aspects of the same project.

    • Suitable for:

    - Large projects.

    • Drawbacks:

    - This is not one of the easiest software package to operate; it requires training.

    • Cost:

    - Around $6000-$9000.

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    2. Revit

    Revit 8 screen shot Image Source: wiki

    • Features:

    - Construction modeling tool: Modeling tool to capture the design intent and generate various drawings and documents of the project later on.

    - Point cloud tool: It allows getting the laser scan results of the old buildings to BIM. By this process, renovation projects become easier.

    - Conceptual energy analysis tool: This cloud based tool helps architects estimate the energy consumption by the building they are designing.

    - Citrix Ready: This tool helps collaborating remotely located team members working on the same projects.

    • Suitable for:

    - Large projects.

    • Drawbacks:

    - This is also not one of the easiest software applications to operate; requires training.

    • Cost:

    - Around $6000-$9000.

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    3. Chief Architect

    color-elevation chief architect Image Source: Chief Architect

    • Features:

    - Design tools: Roof tools, BOM tools, auto dimensioning tool, framing tool, kitchen & bath design tool, electrical and HVAC tool.

    - 3D modeling tools: 3D modeling, rendering, and 3D virtual tour recording.

    - CAD tools: Generating the drawings and layouts, allows import of AutoCAD drawings, can convert CAD object to architectural object.

    - Terrain and landscaping tool: It can import GPS or terrain data and produce 2D or 3D model of the terrain; it also allows setting north pointer to define seasonal settings.

    • Suitable for:

    - Large sized projects where a single person is working dedicatedly on single tasks.

    • Drawbacks:

    - Not suitable for collaborating multiple team members on a same project.

    - No resellers outside USA.

    • Cost:

    - Around $3000-$3500.

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    4. Home Designer Pro

    home designer pro-cover-house-render Image source: Home Designer

    • Features:

    - Automatic 3D model creation: It can generate 3D model of the building from accurately sealed floor plans.

    - Home wizard: This tool allows user to use the existing building style templates or create new ones.

    - Design tools: It has automatic roof generation, foundation, and other advanced tools.

    - Automated building tools: This tool allows you to create a building design by accepting default standard best practices.

    - Quick start guide: This guide will guide the user to get step-by-step help for any type of building project.

    - Design tools: Roof tools, BOM tools, auto dimensioning tool, framing tool, kitchen & bath design tool, electrical and HVAC tool.

    - 3D modeling tools: 3D modeling, rendering and 3D virtual tour recording.

    - CAD tools: Generating the drawings and layouts, allows import of AutoCAD drawings, can convert CAD object to architectural object.

    - Terrain and landscaping tool: It can import GPS or terrain data and produce 2D or 3D model of the terrain; it also allows setting north pointer to define seasonal settings.

    • Suitable for:

    - Mid-sized projects where single person working dedicatedly on single tasks and user is not an architect.

    - DIY home enthusiast.

    • Drawbacks:

    - It can open only limited numbers of drawing sheets.

    - Not suitable for collaborating multiple team members on a same project.

    - No resellers outside USA.

    • Cost:

    - Around $900-$1200.

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    5. IntelliCAD

    • Features:

    - DWG compatibility: It is compatible with Autodesk DWG files without any data loss. Not only DWG, it is compatible with all the Autodesk API and commands.

    - Drawing productivity: This tool is capable of creating 2D and 3D models efficiently. Due to IntelliCAD ActiveX, the drawings and model can be integrated with other office documents.

    - Affordability: It is a commercial grade CAD program with a very affordable price.

    - Open Source: Source code is available for modification.

    • Suitable for:

    - Users familiar with AUTOCAD.

    • Drawbacks:

    - Lack of support.

    - Advanced features like collaboration tools, scanning tools are missing.

    • Cost:

    - Around $120-$600.

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    These are the few examples of Architect CAD landscape design software quite popular among a range of architectural users. Depending upon the size and nature of project, if you don't find what you need among these, you can find some other applications suitable for you.

References

  • Author's experience and expertise