On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.
March 2008 Archive

Irregular polygon object 1
Slabs are easy.

Irregular polygon object 2
With the polygon editing palette, irregular slabs are easy.

Irregular polygon object 3
For complex section geometry such as a corrugated sheet, you need an object. But such an object is usually rectangular. There is no polygon editing for object elements. It is difficult to code even pseudo-polygon editing into an object, and still the palette wouldn't be available. More to the point, AC library objects such as corrugated sheets certainly do not have this ability.

Irregular polygon object 4
So place a slab and the object. Make the object extensive enough to cover the whole slab. Put the slab on an SEO operator layer. Perform an Intersection solid operation with the object as target and slab as operator.

Irregular polygon object 5
Then you have this.

Irregular polygon object 6
Then you can edit the slab like a slab.

Irregular polygon object 7
And the intersection is updated.

The finish schedule is an element schedule of zones. You need to read that link if you haven't already.


Location: Doesn't matter.

Zone stamp
This is our main (only) zone stamp. A zone stamp is a special object associated with a zone. If you use zones, the stamp takes the place of 'dumber' room name objects or texts. I always use zones instead of room name objects.

Unlike the room name object, the name and number are not parameters. They are native settings of the zone, and are available at the top of the settings dialog or info box. Further, the font and text size for the room name are settings of the zone.

The rest of the parameters are in the 'Zone Stamp' area of the zone settings dialog.


Zones are information elements. They represent rooms and other definable areas and volumes in the project. You don't need them to build a good model, and you don't need them to create good drawings. They make the project smarter by letting you treat a space as a thing, so you can keep track of information associated with rooms as opposed to their enclosing elements.

Zones' responsibilities can include:

• Displaying the room name and number in the plan
• Reporting room dimensions such as area and volume
• Holding on to descriptive data for use in a room finish schedule
• Automatically naming interior elevations
• Giving locations for a fixture schedule


Location: 08b Windows / Vents (A window)

Triangle Gable Vent
Frame thickness refers to the box around the louvers.

Louver parameters: Thickness, Spacing, Angle. The Louver Pen should be thin.

Exterior casing: Typical moulding options, or custom width and thickness.

Interior casing: Same deal.

Either casing can be turned off. The same Casing Reveal is used for both.

Masonry Cut Depth: Same as a window or door. Sill is drawn with the Masonry Sill Pen, though in most cases you would not see this vent in plan.

Sheet T1

Most of the advice about sections and elevations applies to interior elevations as well. We do interior elevations because the larger scale lets us show more information. Some of this information is already in the model and the scale change reveals it. Some of it is fine modeling that doesn't need to be done until you start the interiors. Some is very fine detail that is done in 2D within IE windows.

In AC11, there is a dedicated interior elevation tool, which works if you keep a close eye on it. You will also probably have some IEs that are made with the elevation tool.


The interior elevation tool is like a compound elevation tool geared towards presenting rooms rather than whole buildings. It creates a group of sub-viewpoints within a header viewpoint. The header viewpoint is a polygon, which is, in turn, generally associated with a room. Each edge of the polygon shows one wall of the room, in its own window. IEs can be made aware of zones such that they fit themselves to the zone height and automatically name the viewpoints after the zone. The polygon can be complex, though that makes the markers tricky, and they can be a single line/wall.

IEs have some frustrating and obvious limitations, extra-frustrating for being so obvious, but I think you can be productive with them. Sometimes. So a lot of this is workarounds, some more successful than others.


Earth and Moon from Mars