Creating our first building with ARCHITEChTURES

Posted 2/16/2024 in Education

Horizontal section tool in ARCHITEChTURES

Here we will carry out, using a practical example, a simulation of how to approach a project with our platform; focusing on creating a new project, importing CAD files using "Upload Site", setting goals, the Housing Program, and drawing buildings with different characteristics. Later, we will explore the options available within the Model and Cost viewing modes.

Form to create a new project in ARCHITEChTURESWe will perform a complete, step-by-step example to serve as a guide applied to a specific case:

Creating a first project using a CAD template.

We will start by creating a new project from the "My Design" dashboard by clicking on the black "Create New Design" button.

Create new designs button in ARCHITEChTURES

A first pop-up will be enabled where we must indicate a name and location of the design. In this case we will name the project "DEMO" and we will locate it in the city of Malaga, Spain.

Form to create a new project in ARCHITEChTURES

Automatically, the project will appear at the top of the panel. To access it, click on the black button that links to the editor.

Design panel in ARCHITEChTURES

Once in the editor, let's start by preparing the project environment, focusing mainly on the input panel.

Input panel in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Upload site

Before loading the CAD file (.DXF or .DWG), we must make sure that it is correctly scaled, in meters, and that the layer structure is adequate and contains the desired visualization; namely: plot layer, building layer, reference layer, basement layer and environment layer.

File loading notification pop-up in ARCHITEChTURES

Clicking the "Load" button will open a pop-up with instructions to follow. Click on the black "Load" button of the pop-up and select the file you want to import into your computer. Once the file has been successfully imported, select the appropriate layer from the drop-down menu. They will be displayed automatically in the central window.

Upload site slider in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES


In this section we will define the reference data for our project by specifying the following metrics: Total apartament units, %4 Bedrooms apartaments, %3 Bedrooms apartaments, %2 Bedrooms apartaments, %1 Bedroom apartaments, % Studios, Plot area, Residential development potential, Commercial development potential, Plot maximum building coverage, Swimming pool area, Communal gardens area, Total project estimate, Total parking spaces and Total storage rooms.

From these data, we will be indicated how far or close our current project is to the marked objectives by means of a color code.

Targets slider in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES

Housing program

When defining the housing program we must review and complete several sections of the input panel.

Net areas

We locate a drop-down for each type of housing, from studio to 4-bedroom units; in each of them we can define whether or not we want design options such as optional clothesline, optional dressing rooms, optional laundry room, optional storage room and outdoor clothesline position. As well as defining the target surfaces for each living space.

Areas slider in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES

Internal minimum dimensions

This section must be completed according to the applicable regulations and the needs of the project, so it must be specified: minimum living room width, kitchen minimum width, master bedroom minimum width, double bedroom minimum width, single bedroom minimum width, master bathroom minimum width, other bathrooms minimum width, entrance minimum width, clear diameter in front of main door, corridor minimum width, laundrys minimum width, minimum dressing room width, minimum laundry room width, storage room minimum width, bedroom access minimum width, terraces access minimum width, solarium´s access minimum width and solarium strip minimum width.

In addition, private stair design options may also be defined in this section indicating: tread length, stair run minimum width, stairwell empty gap minimum width, stair slab minimum thickness, number of risers, number of compensated risers in corners and minimum height clearance.

internal minimun dimensions in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES

internal minimun dimensions in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES

Target program in standard floor

Finally, we must indicate what percentage of each type of housing we would like to be generated in the standard floors. This data will be very useful for the AI when it comes to the layout of the dwellings, but it is not limited to it, it is an indicative value.

Target program slider in the input panel of ARCHITEChTURES

Drawing the first building: plan view

Once we have advanced the configuration we can start inserting the building. This will be done from the plan view, although we can switch to the model view at any time to see the result in 3D.

The procedure to generate a building is very simple. First we must click on the "Building" button, located at the right end of the top menu of the central window.

Root level in plan view

By clicking on it, the menu will change to modify some elementary aspects of the building, such as the width and the position of the axis; this last one is very important, because it will be the element that we draw and from which the building will be generated. The axis position options are: Center, Left and Right.

This time, we are going to keep a left axis position and a 13 m width of the building. With the left mouse click insert the points we want to generate the building and press "ENTER" on our keyboard.

Building tool in ARCHITEChTURES

The building footprint will be displayed from the first click, and in a few seconds, the time it takes the tool to process, we will have the building defined.

Building tool in ARCHITEChTURES

Building tool in ARCHITEChTURES

We can insert as many buildings as we wish, and even modify aspects from one building to another. To insert a building with a different width, it would be enough to modify the corresponding field in the menu before marking the first point of the axis. Also, once a first point has been inserted, we can indicate an exact distance for the axis by typing it on the keyboard.

Building tool in ARCHITEChTURES

In a matter of minutes we can have a project composed of several buildings with different characteristics, which we can continue editing and defining.

On the other hand, we can analyze the project from the "Data Panel", on the right side of the central sale. This will show some data or others depending on the level at which we are in the breadcrumb. They will also be updated simultaneously when we make any change in the building.

Data panel in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Plot area schedule

In this section we obtain the general data on the plot, such as the total buildability of the project, the residential and commercial buildability, the occupancy, a breakdown of built and computable surfaces, etc.

Plot area schedule in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Housing mix in plot

In this section we will obtain the total number of dwellings and a breakdown of them according to the number of bedrooms, indicating the total net, NIA, net exterior, GEA and GEA + BCAF.

housing mix in plot in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Below grade areas and ratios

This section provides a breakdown of below-grade areas as well as a count and the ratios per dwelling of parking spaces and storage rooms. On this occasion they appear empty because we have not yet included any element below ground level.

Below grade areas and ratios in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Estimate summary

As its title indicates, this section provides a summary of the budget in which concepts such as the cost above ground for the urbanization and for each of the buildings, general expenses and industrial profit, etc are broken down. Also included are some ratios that may be of interest, such as the ENCC/Units.

Remember that these data are only a summary of the budget, to go deeper into it we must access the cost view.

Estimate summary in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Typologies in floor X

This section provides data on the surface areas of the different dwellings located on the floor plan, organized by type.

Typologies in floor in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Areas Unit X

Here we will have a breakdown of the usable areas of the dwelling, organized by spaces; as well as a summary of the total areas: total net interior, total net exterior, total net, GEA, building CA factor and GEA + BCAF.

areas unit in the ARCHITEChTURES editor

Editing using the building axis

Once we have created a building, both the building and its requirements can be modified, obtaining the geometric update and its data in seconds. This greatly facilitates the design process and helps in decision making.

In order to edit the building from the plot view it is necessary to have the building axis selected, just click on this axis. If this is not done correctly, the changes in the input panel will not have any impact on the building, because what we are doing is to prepare the configuration for a new building that we want to build with different characteristics than the previous ones.

Editing with the building axis in ARCHITEChTURES

When selecting the axis of the building, the edit menu is enabled in the upper right part of the central window. There we can modify the width of the building and the position of the axis in relation to the building, we can move it parallel indicating a specific distance, lock it to prevent it from being modified and delete it.

On the other hand, from the input panel, we can adjust and modify all the available sliders. Particularly useful is the "General floor plan - design" section, where we can modify the axis position, building typology, core position, setback on facades to fit areas, number of standard floors, etc.

  • Vertical cores:

Vertical cores in ARCHITEChTURES

  • Double loaded corridor:

Double loaded corridor in ARCHITEChTURES

  • Single loaded corridor:

Single loaded corridor in ARCHITEChTURES

Model view

In this tab, besides visualizing the 3D of our project, which is very useful to check the changes made in the plan view, we find:


Here we can locate our project geographically indicating its longitude and latitude, as well as at a specific time of the year indicating month, day and hour.

Location tab in the model view of ARCHITEChTURES

Clipping plane

From the sliders located in this tab we can create vertical and horizontal sections of our projects.

Section tab in the model view of ARCHITEChTURES

Solar path

The solar path works as a visualization layer, being possible to activate or deactivate it, and has its development depending on the location tab. It will be very useful to perform solar studies.

Solar path visualization in ARCHITEChTURES

Solar range

As in the previous case, the solar range works as a visualization layer that we can activate or deactivate; it is very useful for sunshine studies; but unlike the solar path, with the solar range we can simultaneously visualize the solar influence on a specific day of the year.

Solar range visualization in ARCHITEChTURES

Cost view

Here we will work on the economic part of the project. From the beginning we will have some predetermined values, which will have to be modified and adapted to the specific characteristics of the design.


In this section we will select the currency we want to work with in our project.

Currency tab in cost view of ARCHITEChTURES

Subtotal net construction cost

In this section we will establish, at the general level of the project, the percentages to be applied to the Direct construction costs to value quality assurance, occupational health and safety, waste management and other general conditions; thus obtaining the SNCC.

SNCC tab in cost view of ARCHITEChTURES

Estimated net construction cost

In this section we will establish, at the general level of the project, the percentages to be applied to the subtotal net construction cost to value overheads and profit; thus obtaining the ENCC.

ENCC tab in cost view of ARCHITEChTURES

Soft Costs

In this section we will establish, at the general level of the project, the percentages to be applied to the estimated net construction cost to value feasibility studies fees, design and inspection fees, escalation, bond and insurance, permits, licenses & fees, and contingencies.

Soft Costs tab in cost view of ARCHITEChTURES

Budget breakdown by building

To define the value of all the elements that make up our buildings, we will have to review and update all the sliders that make up each chapter of work in the budget.

These could be different depending on the selected building of the project.

Budget breakdown in cost view of ARCHITEChTURES



2. Overview of the plataform

3. Creating our first building with ARCHITEChTURES

4. Deepening the design options

5. Editing modes: Auto and Manual

6. Creation of below-grade parking

7. Cost and Input Window

8. Downloading files: XLS, CAD, BIM