In this Architectural Design using ArchiCAD course, Robert Mann from Archi-Ed teaches methods for using ArchiCAD as a design tool.

This course is for you if:

  • You want to use ArchiCAD as a design tool.
  • You are interested in the process of design and visualisation.
  • You find the standard interface of ArchiCAD too complicated for simple mass-modelling.
  • You are considering whether to use another program like Sketch Up instead of ArchiCAD.

Course Outline 

UPDATE! With the release of ArchiCAD 24 and the new Design Tool features. The course outline below will be modified to harness and explain the new features of ArchiCAD 24 with the design process. 

This course consists of 8 modules:

1. Introduction

Introduction - The possibilities of design in ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD provides a broad platform for simple conceptual massing through to complex building information modelling. In this course, Robert Mann from Archi-Ed teaches methods for using Archicad as a design tool.

Assumed Knowledge - For professionals and students

This course will require a general understanding of architectural design, construction principles, and is suitable for students and professionals in architecture and the built environment who have completed an introductory course in Archicad.

Concept Process

Whilst a powerful stand-alone digital tool, Archicad blends well with other creative processes. In this video we'll discuss workflow solutions that include the use of hand-drawn sketches to generate ideas. 

2. Setup

Template & work environment customisation

Archicad has an extensive set of tools that can distract during the design process. In this video we'll simplify the interface, allowing you to work in an environment free from distraction.

Using an existing template file

An effective template file limits the amount of pre-design setup for each project. In this video we'll customise the template, optimising if for the conceptual design processes.

Using an existing work environment

ArchiCAD's work environment determines your digital interface experience. In this video we'll review which settings will aid your creative process.

Editing toolbars

Toolbars are the fastest way to access ArchiCAD's commands graphically. In this video we'll customise toolbars for a conceptual design methodology.

Model View options

Model view options allow the 3D modelled information to be graphically represented in a variety of ways. In this video we'll review the options, and simplify the representation for conceptual design.

Using a grid in 2D or 3D

Grids can be used in 2D & 3D to help guide you, but can sometimes also get in the way. In this video we'll review how to use them to enhance your digital design interface.

Using snaps

Snap-to functions allow for improved accuracy whilst working fast. In this video we'll review how this function can improve your design efficiency. 

3. Site/Context

Site terrain mesh from spot levels

For fast site mesh modelling where accuracy is not essential, we can create a conceptual site mesh by elevating essential spot levels only. In this video we'll explain how it's done.

3D building height plane

Designing with a strict building height limit can be difficult on sloping sites. In this video we'll use an elevated site mesh to provide graphic design feedback when testing a massed model.

Context massing

Good design should respond to its surrounding context. In this video we'll demonstrate how to model the neighbouring landscape and structures.

4. Concept Sketches

Import scanned sketches

Designing with pen & paper remains invaluable to the design process. In this video we'll import hand-drawn sketches into a worksheet which can then be used as a trace reference.

Trace references

ArchiCAD allows you to trace over imported files like conceptual sketches, and survey plans. In this video we'll explore the features of this function.

5. Concept Massing

Storey settings

ArchiCAD's storey settings create a vertical division of height in the 3D model. In this video we'll use the storey settings to interactively manipulate the height of new and existing modelled elements. 

3D massing with slab & roof tools

Creating a digital massing model with slabs and roofs allow for simple polygonal extrusion that can be edited as the design progresses. In this video we'll use the slab and roof tools to mass a design from a trace-referenced sketch.

3D massing with morph tool

The morph tool provides for organic manipulation and 3D rotation of any extruded prism. In this video we'll experiment with its use where the slab and roof tools are unable to provide the creative organic freedom required.

3D massing with shell tool

The shell tool allows for 3D rotation of an extruded composite, generated from a polyline or arc. In this video we'll use the shell tool to create a curved roof.

Solid element operations and connections

There are multiple ways to connect and manipulate 3D elements in ArchiCAD. In this video we will use the connect and solid element operation functions to merge and crop 3D forms.

6. Design Development

Transitioning from conceptual massing to developed design

When transitioning from a massed model to a developed model, we are often resigned to delete elements and start again. In this video we'll look at how to manage the existing conceptual data effectively.

Adding topographic contours

To accurately model site levels, adding land contours may be required. In this video we'll explore how to do this using splines & polylines.

Composites for walls, slabs and roofs

Utilising detailed composites provides the most accuracy and efficiency when developing an ArchiCAD model. In this video we'll implement and edit them to suit the design and site.

Complex profiles for walls, beams and columns

Complex profiles provide detailed extrusions necessary to accurately model construction systems. In this video we'll explore how these can enhance your project.

Adding doors

Doors can be added into walls in a variety of sizes, types, materials, and methods. In this video we'll explore the methodology of adding and editing doors in ArchiCAD.

Adding windows

Windows, like doors, can be added into walls in a variety of sizes, types, materials, and methods. In this video we'll explore the methodology of adding and editing windows in ArchiCAD.

Adding openings

Openings can cut through any part of the ArchiCAD model. In this video we'll add openings as empty doorways, niches, and voids.

Adding curtain wall systems

Curtain wall systems are useful for creating geometric facades, and adding large format glazing beyond the scope of the window tool. In this video we'll use the curtain wall tool to develop facade design options.

Adding furniture layout objects

Furniture layout objects allow for rapid editable spatial arrangements. In this video we'll use Archicad objects to test the spatial use of interior spaces with the use of standardised furniture layouts.

7. Visualisation

3D Document View

ArchiCAD's 3D documents can be used to generate vector-based 3D views. In this video we'll use 3D documents to create a shadow diagram and dimensioned vectorial sketch drawing.

White Model Render

Cinerender, a simplified Cinema 4D product, is the preferred inbuilt rendering engineer in ArchiCAD for Photorealism. This engine can also be used to create a monochromatic white-model render. In this video we'll use this function for fast conceptual visualisation.

Sun Study Analysis

Sun study animations are useful in assessing the solar penetration, sun paths, and shading requirements within the ArchiCAD model. In this video we'll use a sun study to test the passive solar performance of the sample project.  

8. Conclusion

Wrap Up

Using ArchiCAD as a design tool can increase productivity, and reduce the likelihood for errors in compliance adherence. In this video we'll review the process, benefits, and some ongoing limitations in using Archicad as a design tool.

What's next - Documentation 

Once the design phase is finished, the Archicad Documentation course by Robert Mann from Archi-Ed teaches how to develop presentation and technical documentation plan sets for design approval and construction. 

    To express your interest in enrol in this course and for any other enquiries, please email: or leave a comment in the space below.  

    Once this course commencement comes available, we will contact you and the course page will become open for enrolment. 


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