ArchiCAD is a software made by Graphisoft and is an architectural Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. ArchiCAD was one of the first BIM software solutions that appeared on the CAD arena and is together with Revit the main building project development software in Norway. This means that you most likely will use one of these programs when you finish your degree and start working in an architectural office.
It is free of charge for students and is compatible with both Windows and Mac. ArchiCAD is trying to simulate the way a real building is constructed with its BIM solution, and can be used from sketch design to detailed design. ArchiCAD has become much better when it comes to flexibility in design over the last few years and is in general a great tool to see your ideas take form and it now lets you design freely without having to compromise on shape, precision and quality.
ArchiCAD is great for both 3D and 2D modeling and as you make changes in your model in either views it will update all your drawings, even in the documentation. All elements are created with different tools such as the wall tool, window tool, roof tool and so on and are all self-aware of what sort of element they are after placing them in your model. Each element knows its exact placement, dimensions and ID, and you can also add product number, cost and other information that is relevant to each of the elements. ArchiCAD has also made it easy to import and share BIM elements and are working on making their software one of the greenest BIM solutions with their built-in Energy Evaluation. ArchiCAD has also made it possible for several users working on the same project at the same time through their Teamwork solution which is great if you work in groups.
ArchiCAD is an advanced program and it takes some time to learn it, but the best way is to just start using it and explore. Additional information can be found on myarchicad.com
Video courtesy of GraphiSOFT
ArchiCAD is available free for students and runs on both Mac and Windows.
You can download ArchiCAD from myarchicad.com. I suggest you download the norwegian localization. If you register with your student email, you do not have to provide proof of student status. When you download, you will receive a 30-day temporary Serial. To get your 1-year serial, you need to login to myarchicad.com and and click on the "Renew license now" button at the top of the screen. Your 1-year license will be sent to you by email.
School access: We have ArchiCAD installed at the Computer lab, but since it is freely available to you, just download it on your laptop.
Learning ArchiCAD: Basics
Learning ArchiCAD requires learning by doing and the best way is to just get started with a project and explore. But first it might be a good idea to visit Archicad on Youtube and run through some of their tutorials. Graphisoft also have their own tutorials that you can download from their website, and the best one to start up with is the ArchiCAD Essentials Tutorial. Follow the instructions on the website on where you have to save the downloaded tutorial and how you can open it in ArchiCAD. This tutorial will take approximately 5-8 hours, but it will prepare you to get started with your own project and is absolutely worth the time you have to spend on it.
Eric Bobrows also has some good tutorials on youtube.
Learning ArchiCAD: Intermediate
To develop a more efficient workflow in ArchiCAD you need to use the software as much as possible for your projects and you will get to know it better and better as you go. And remember, almost anything is possible, just google it and you will have your answer. Like in most software, you will use the software differently from a university based project to a real-life project where for example the BIM info about product number, cost and so on has to be right. But if you want to learn more about BIM, you should go through the tutorial called Experience BIM on the Graphisoft tutorial webpage.
The 3D model you make in ArchiCAD can be rendered in ArchiCAD itself or by converting the file into a 3ds file and open it in the rendering program Artlantis. Artlantis can also be downloaded from myarchicad.com. You can also use Cinema 4D for rendering with its own ArchiCAD plugin.
Learning ArchiCAD: Advanced
To extend your learning even further you can go through some of Graphisofts Advanced Modeling tutorials on ArchiCADs Youtube Channel and if you want to know more about how ArchiCAD collaborates with “Teamwork“ and with other programs you should have a look at ArchiCAD Collaboration Part 1 and 2 on Graphisofts website.
Learning ArchiCAD: Workshop
You can follow up a three days workshop. The workshop is based on a package of tutorials organised by themes. All the tutorials are available for free at Graphisoft.com or in Youtube. Look for click here.under "courses" or
When you are logged into your personal page on myarchicad.com, a list of add-ons should appear available for download.
Links and further studies
- Revit Architecture by Autodesk
- Digital Project: Designer by Gehry Technologies
- AutoCAD Architecture by Autodesk
- Microstation by Bentley
Notes and Appendix
Software develops incredibly fast and not everything on these pages might be updated. If you find any errors, please let us know.
Where can I get ArchiCAD?
A student version is available for free from myarchicad.com