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It’s a fair statement to say that what the term architecture means is simply how a building is designed, particularly the creative style used to do so. Storied and famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright have left us with some breathtaking artistic statements that will be admired for many years to come.
It’s also fair to say that architecture is so much more than just an impressive visual statement in the form of a building. Creative design notwithstanding, there are many more facets to architecture than you may think.
Before we go much further, it may be a good idea to get an idea of what architecture truly is. In the macro sense, architecture can be defined as “…the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures.”
From that definition, it’s easy to see that architecture encompasses much more than just how a building looks; it is a general term that covers a wide range of engineering and creative functions.
Let’s take a look at some of the different areas and niches that architecture can touch, and then also discuss how today’s CAD technologies can most effectively turn ideas into reality.
Residential architecture is the niche that most often comes to mind when people think about architecture. It’s a specific set of processes that take into account a wide range of factors, each of which can be different depending on the client. Each of these factors is carefully planned and designed, from the visual impact and functionality of a home’s exterior to how well the rooms on the inside flow and integrate.
The creative end is only one part of it, though. Residential architects also must document their ideas using CAD systems intended explicitly for building design, such as AutoCAD Architecture. Once done, they can then determine cost estimates and work with the general contractor to ensure smooth execution of the project.
A commercial architect follows many of the processes and procedures that a residential architect does, but there are inherent differences.
The visual appeal of a commercial building is vital, but the functionality and flow can be just as (or even more) important. For example, a well-designed shopping center will result in a better experience for customers.
There are many factors that a commercial architect will need to consider that would not necessarily be relevant to a residential architect. Having a firm understanding of the various codes and regulations for safety and building requirements is an absolute necessity.
It would be pretty hard to find a manufactured product that wasn’t produced in a factory or stored at some point in a warehouse.
Industrial architects have experience designing all sorts of manufacturing facilities. Many times, the end design is driven not by the desired style or visual requirements, but by the process flows that will be conducted within the building. An efficient design will provide adequate space for equipment, material storage, and the administrative offices needed to support an optimum production process.
Utility requirements are usually much more significant for these types of buildings, so an industrial architect needs to be well-versed with what is typically required (high voltage requirements, compressed air lines, chilled and potable water, etc.)
Urban and civil architects use their skills and training to design the macro environments where we live.
Dynamic cities and the supporting infrastructure (roads, bridges, mass transportation, etc.) are only one part of how an urban landscape will function. There are social, economic, and political considerations that must be considered to optimize how a community will interact on a daily basis.
Urban development is typically a large-scale project that will require the talents of many urban and civil drafting experts and engineers.
The highly specialized people who design the outdoor environments of residential and commercial properties are considered architects in their own right.
The design and execution of the perfect landscape should not be underestimated. It is much more complicated than just throwing out some grass seed and planting a few trees, shrubs, and flowers. Getting the outside space of a property to be close to perfect is just as much a part of the project as the building itself.
That being said, there are cases where the building may already exist, and the entire scope of the project may be to refresh just the outdoor area.
The creation of functional and visually attractive buildings is one thing, but the design of pleasant interior environments is a niche of architecture all unto itself. It’s important to note that effective interior design is an element that crosses all areas of external architecture.
Office environments can be designed to maximize worker efficiency and morale. Commercial and retail environments that have the right design elements can lead to a better overall customer experience, which may lead to increased sales and foot traffic.
Residential homes will benefit from pleasing color palates, furniture styles and placement, and flooring types that can define the overall mood and atmosphere of any room.
The overall design of any building may be just right for the intended purpose when it is initially constructed. That’s the whole goal of successful architectural design.
Using an architect for the redesigning of an existing space – either internally or externally – is the key to successful remodeling.
A residential home may need the kitchen or living space updated, or may need rooms consolidated or divided as a young family grows over the years. Maybe it’s time to update the exterior with a new deck for the warm summer months, as well.
Commercial buildings may need remodeling when retail tenants change, move out, or grow. Working with a freelance architectural design firm is an excellent idea when making alterations to current designs.
Industrial buildings most certainly go through remodeling as well. Entire areas of plant floor space need to be altered when producing new products, and office areas often must change as well to meet the needs of a business as it evolves.
The design elements of effective architecture are only as good as the medium used to convey those thoughts and processes, both to the contractor and also to the end customer.
There are many CAD packages commercially used in today’s environment, each with its own purposes, strengths, and weaknesses. You may come across several of them during the course of a project.
One point to note is that we are mentioning only a few of the capable software platforms that are effectively used for architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) purposes. There are many others on the market that range widely in product features and price.
3D rendering is an important process that is typically performed at the front-end of a project. The benefits that CAD solutions provide at this stage cannot be overstated.
The client can get a firm grasp of the design intent, much more so than with traditional 2D paper drawings. Some software packages have complete 360° and flythrough capabilities, which can allow viewers to essentially immerse themselves in the internal and external environments. All of this is possible without laying a single brick or, in the case of landscape architecture, planting a single tree or blade of grass.
Creative changes can be made quickly and efficiently, greatly reducing the time from the design phase to the execution phase.
Common CAD packages for 3D rendering include:
Once the design is completed and approved, the next step is the creation of engineering and construction drawings for use by a contractor.
Traditional CAD packages are more appropriate at this point. While it is true that some packages have 3D capability, some will allow 3D models to be translated into 2D drawings. These are the drawings that define the building specifications and dimensions required for the actual building processes.
Many types of drawings are needed before ground can be broken on any project, and the requirements can be different depending on the type of building that is being constructed. For example, all buildings will typically need drawings for the actual floor layout (walls and door openings), electrical systems, and heating systems. Other drawings that may be required are fire suppression systems, IT infrastructure and routing diagrams, and industrial power and plumbing.
You may see these popular CAD software programs used:
As you can see, there is much more to architecture than just designing how a building appears to the eye. Having the right type of architect (and the right type of CAD software support) for your particular project is a must, and finding one who has just the right skill sets can be a daunting challenge given the sheer number of professional architectural firms that may exist within your area.
Premier talent for architecture isn’t limited to traditional brick and mortar firms, however. Experienced freelancers can provide a level of service on par with or exceeding traditional firms, and that’s where Cad Crowd can help.
Our architectural drafting and design services take the guesswork out of hiring freelancers. We can connect you with top-ranked members of the Cad Crowd community, and you can have confidence that you are working with the best pre-vetted and qualified sources.
Tell us about your vision. We’ll connect you with a top-tier architect and provide you with a free quote for your personal project.
Our architectural design experts offer a wide range of services: Freelance 3D modeling, 2D & 3D drafting, building information modeling (BIM), house floor plans, site plans, building layouts, survey drawings, elevations, cross sections, full construction documents, presentation models, working drawings, industrial designs, and 3D renderings for your building projects. Whether you're looking to build a sleek modern bungalow or are planning a mixed retail and residential development, the architects in our global network have the expertise you need.
We also offer interior design for both residential and commercial projects, as well as 3D modeling services for marketing or investor presentation purposes. We pride ourselves in being able to meet all the demands of our clients.
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