If you are an architect, you’re probably inseparable from your rendering software – or maybe it’s complicated between the two of you, so you’re constantly off-again, on-again. Whatever the case, there’s a special bond between an architect and his favorite tool.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t multitask, does it?
There are other apps for architects to be explored, a myriad of them that go above and beyond rendering. In no particular order, the following ten tools are some of the best, most useful, and most creative solutions for visual artists that we’ve come across.
Concepts is a gorgeously designed app for “infinite, flexible sketching.” Used by the likes of Disney, Apple, and Nike (the list of famous supporters is long and impressive), this popular tool is powered by the next-generation hybrid vector-raster that ensures 64-bit precision.
In practice, this means a canvas with no borders (but also an option to make it smaller, if that’s what you prefer) and endless re-sketching capabilities. Concepts comes with a beautiful color wheel, a brush kit, effects, and other sketching tools, but keeps most of them locked.
While it can be helpful for things like free sketching, mood boards, doodling, or journaling, Concepts falls short when it comes to more complex artistic projects. Whether you choose to pay for it or not, you’ll find yourself using it to visualize new ideas while on break.
If you’re an ARCHICAD devotee, you probably know about and perhaps already use Graphisoft BIMx. As a complementary tool to your rendering software, BIMx may just be one of the most useful solutions out there. Its main purpose is to facilitate collaboration between design studios and construction workers, which this app does smoothly. It also doubles as a presentation tool.
It’s hard to imagine an architect who wouldn’t love DroneDeploy, especially if you are an avid gamer, too (as most architects are). This app is meant for serious work but is also a drone remote, allowing you to take aerial photos and 360-degree views of buildings and construction sites. You can also use DroneDeploy to create 3D models in real-time and on-site, using real-life visualizations.
Procreate is a two-time winner of the Apple Design Award, and for a good reason. It’s easily one of the best, most thought-through, and feature-rich drawing tools on the market. It comes with a gigantic collection of brushes and colors amplified by an intuitive interface.
In addition to these powerful tools, Procreate wins the category by offering incredible customization options. Whether it comes to expendable brush libraries or authentic painting techniques, the app makes you believe that you’re using actual tools on an actual canvas.
Of course, we cannot but protest against Procreate’s only downside – the complete lack of consideration for users of non-iPads devices. In fact, you can run and enjoy Procreate only if you have an iPadOS 14.4 or higher, which makes this fantastic app for art even more exclusive.
Shapr3D is a 3D CAD modeling application for iPad (again) with a few competitive advantages. According to its many satisfied users, it’s very powerful but easy to use. It has a helpful learning center and responsive support team, so there’s no steep learning curve to slow you down. It also offers the best integration with Rhino, Fusion 360, and other apps.
The market for tools aimed at architects is dominated by elaborate apps that make complex projects possible. RoomScan Pro is no such app. That doesn’t mean that it can’t help you wow your clients. On the contrary, what we meant to say is that RoomScan is delightfully simple.
RoomScan lets you use your smartphone (or any other handheld device) as a scanning device whenever you need to measure, sketch, or render a specific room. It doesn’t stop there. You can also take scans of exteriors and add them to your floor plans to get a more accurate visual.
A lot of architects collaborate with construction professionals on their projects. To make the realities of interdisciplinary project management easier for both sides, the team behind ArchiSnapper has designed a convenient app that facilitates field reporting and real-time collaboration.
If that’s at all possible, ArchiSnapper was made to be even more convenient for inspectors. It comes with several features for taking photos, making notes, generating field reports, and filling out inspection forms on the go without having to switch between different reporting tools.
Finally, here's an app that won’t waste your time with pretentious features you will never use. What you can do with Planimeter is very straightforward – this tool allows you to measure distances and land areas on maps. In your free time, you can use it to track your running or biking miles. Back on the field, you can use it to measure anything from roads and lot sizes to buildings and flat roofs.
Too bad this super-pracial app is for iOS users only.
Sunseeker (the app, not luxury yachts) has to be one of the most interesting tools in an architect’s kit. In addition to its digital compass, it includes a solar tracking feature that is especially useful to visual artists who care enough about making their designs authentic to nature and real life.
Sunseeker is a comprehensive solar tracker – it shows everything from golden hours and sun shadows to solstice and equinox paths. Why would you need this tool for an architecture project? It will help you highlight your designs with natural lighting in different parts of the day and different seasons.
A direct competitor to ArchiSnapper, MagicPlan is supposed to be a constructor’s best friend. The first of its three main capabilities is sketching, which supports freeform sketching and accurate 2D and 3D modeling. Next up is robust reporting. In this respect, MagicPlan lets you generate data-rich field reports on the go, complete with 360-degree images and comprehensive notes. Estimates, the app’s third tool, allows you to automatically calculate project prices on your mobile device.
Day after day, new tools for architects pop up like mushrooms after rain. Did you find your favorite one, or are you still looking? It’s a market too vast to be explored in such a short timeframe. We recommend staying in the loop with the newest industry trends, just in case the perfect app shows up.
And if you do happen to find one, by all means, let us know!