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.
October 2010 Archive

Are you interested in unsolicited email management advice?

This isn't a lightly covered topic by any means, but I find a lot of organizational guidance to be perfectionist bordering on, no offense, compulsive. I don't care if my inbox is completely empty, or if I have too many folders or too few. I only care that:

• No important messages get missed

• No less-important messages get to interrupt me. I'm busy.

Throughout this discussion, I am using a narrow definition of 'important', which is roughly: Having some legitimate claim on my near-term attention. And don't get me wrong, where would we be without so-called less-important stuff?


Sheet A1-1
• What Shows. Full height walls. Counters, appliances, and plumbing fixtures. Stairs, decks, driveways, floor finish fills. Stair and deck railings. Most roofs. Overhead elements including beams, ceiling lines, and roof overhangs. Room names, preferably in the form of zone stamps. Dimensions. Centerline markers. Names of cabinetry elements ('Bench'). Floor elevations. Markers for sections, elevations, interior elevations, plan enlargements, wall sections, and details. Door and window tags.

• Wall Cleanup.
Plan layer combinations should have different intersection codes for plan and 3D walls. (E.g., A Wall Ext has '1', A Wall3 has '2'.) This eliminates gaps where visible and invisible walls meet.

Wall cleanup has improved greatly over the years, but can still be tricky for complex intersections. Use a patch if you must.

• Display Order.
(Front, back, etc.) Use display order to to make overlapping elements stack correctly. In order for elements to mask elements behind them, they need a fill with a background pen. If you don't want a fill pattern, use 'Empty Fill'.

Generally, annotations should be all the way in front so they aren't obscured by anything. Walls should in front of everything except annotations. Beyond that, you have to pay attention. Counters in front of floor fills, soffit lines in front of counters, stair railings in front of treads, etc.

• Pens.
More on pens here. Walls are 5-weight (usually 15). Edges (Counters, stairs) are 2-weight. Dashed overhead elements are 2-weight. Appliances, plumbing fixtures, and other such objects are 2-weight. Floor finishes are 150. The background pen of construction elements is 50, and existing construction elements are overridden by pen 91.

A note on composites: Contour, separator, and background pens should set correctly in the composites. Walls in plan should be set to use the composites' pens. Stud wall composites should have the separator lines hidden; that is a composite setting, not a wall setting.

• Floor Finishes. Either: 1) Fills on F Floor Fin2. 2) Slabs with a cover fill on F Floor Fin2. 3) Cover fills on the zones. In practice #1 is most common.

• Dimensions. Here. For small rooms, consider enlarged plans and put the dimensions there.

Marco "Tumblr, Instapaper" Arment tells Dan Benjamin:

One of the reasons many of us...love Apple products is because they think about a lot of the details that a lot of other manufacturers don't, in both hardware and software. And it's those little details that a lot of people think don't matter, or aren't worth the time and money to get right, that add up to a really great experience and goodwill from your users. So that's always been a high priority for me, to try and get all the details right.... Even if somebody has never run into something, I'm still happy it's there, because for the few people who do run into it, it makes them a little bit happier. If you look at a lot of the features of luxury cars, for instance, they're features that most people won't ever use. And they accidentally discover it sometime, they're just a little bit delighted by that.... And if we can do that same thing in software by providing these little delights to users, or by smoothing over a few rough edges that they should never have to see, that adds up to a significantly better product than one made by a firm that doesn't really care about those details.

I find less irritating tools to be less irritating.