CAD: Archicad, Vectorworks or Powercadd?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by douglas, Oct 9, 2004.

  1. douglas macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2004
    I am an architect currently using Archicad. Great program but complex and cost is high (could buy Vectorworks or Powercadd for the price of my next upgrade). I do some basic 3D work, but mainly use CAD for 2D production. Any advice/recommendations from Cad users of these different programs would be much appreciated.
  2. Baron58 macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2004
    Then it's likely you're not taking the right approach to using ArchiCAD.

    We just implemented 35 seats of ArchiCAD, and evaluated Vectorworks in the process. Vectorworks was not a bad product, but we're doing 100% BIM instead of just 'CAD'. If you want to do things the old way ("drafting"), then Vectorworks is a highly capable program, and we ranked it 4th/5th (tie with our former program: Arris), below Microstation Triforma (3rd) Revit (2nd, but we cringed because it's an AutoDesk product) and ArchiCAD (1st).

    You're expressing the 2D vs. 3D thing in exactly the way that people do who don't understand the concept of BIM. You may think you only do 2D... do you ever draw a wall? Unless you live in an alternate universe, that wall is 3D and parametric in real life, and should be represented architecturally as such (it has thickness, length AND height, and has materials, finishes and other attributes). Model it ONCE, and derive your plans, sections, elevations, interior elevations, presentation materials, details and schedules FROM the model. Start the model in the design development phase, and evolve it all the way through to final CDs. Do not unlink your sections and elevations, ever. Use the ArchiCAD 'patch' feature for additional 2D details in detail windows. Model everything down to 1/2" or 3/4" scale.

    If you hang out on the ArchiTalk forums, you'll find there are two types of people - modelers and unlinkers. The unlinkers will destroy their model at some point and just draw lines. The modelers are like us - do the absolute bare minimum of 2D linework possible, and model everything. In my firm, destroying a model by unlinking your sections and elevations and ruining the 'fix it once, it updates everywhere' abilities of ArchiCAD is tantamount to destroying company property, and may even lead to you 'pursuing career options elsewhere'.

    If you want some ArchiCAD tips, PM me. If you're in the area, you can come visit the office.

    If you had upgraded from AC8 to AC9 before the end of Sept. (as we did), it was significantly discounted. I still don't think you can really get a full package of Vectorworks ($995) for the current 8 --> 9 upgrade price.
  3. douglas thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Thanks very much Baron58 for your detailed advice and info. We are a small firm and much of our work is renovation, infill, interiors. In other words, too much messy as-built info to model before getting to our design work. Don't get me wrong, we are impressed with Archicad but just unable to use it's power profitably. Also, we have trouble finding trained Archicad staff in our area (Vancouver). If you have any advice I would be pleased to hear it. Cheers.
  4. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    i've used both vectorworks and powercadd (plus wildtools!).....and I like both. For 2D work either will do the job just fine, but if you want to do any 3D modeling then you'll want vectorworks because powercadd isn't a 3D modeling program.

    Since you've already used a CAD program for drawing you'll find it easy to switch to either of these programs
  5. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2004

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