On Land

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At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. 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.
Template Archive

I've added an 'Alternates' folder to zTemplate folder, in 1 Design. It should have been there before, sorry.

It gives me an opportunity to discuss alternate handling, or at least to give you one case study. Vassos, although it's under construction, has occasional lapses into design development. The clients were interested in seeing alternatives for one part of an elevation. We offered two, which forked into three.

I saved a copy of the project for each alternate, with a descriptive name, in that Alternates folder. I developed the model for each alternate. We wanted to present a perspective and an elevation for each choice. Since the alternates are in separate files, and all the alternates are separate from the main PLN, it's easy to simply use the views you already have. You can't mess anything up.

To present the choices, I created a new subset in the main layout book. There's no reason to create separate 'books for each. Within the new folder, there are two layouts for each alternate. I hooked the new layouts to the 11x17 Master. Then I imported the perspective and elevation views from each PLN.

Once the decision had been made about which version to use, it was time to begin treating that scheme as the real project. I renamed the main PLN, which had been untouched, with a date, and moved it to the '6 Old Files' folder. I saved-as the anointed alternate with the original name of the main PLN, at the top of the project folder. This means the layout book never knows anything happened. If you change the name of the project, you will need to re-link your views.

In the end, we have three alternate PLNs set aside, the pre-alternate version of the project intact, and the layout book not disrupted. And a compact record of the alternates' presentation. Pretty good.

In this case I was fortunate that, since the project was 'done', there was no other work going on anywhere. Presenting alternates in the DD phase is trickier, especially if the design decision is slow in coming. If you need to keep the main project moving while the alternates are being developed, it is better to merge the chosen alternate elements back into the main project.

This isn't a new layer so much as a fork of the old A Roof layer.

In AC9, as everyone knows, model polygons can have a cover fill. This means generally much less drawing, and more showing of those model elements in plan. It also gives the opportunity to 'stack' model elements in plan using Display Order (Send forward/back.)

In AC8.1 and earlier, you might have placed a counter slab on a A Cabs3, and a fill on A Cabs2, now you can have just the slab on A Cabs2. This promotes unity.

This ability, of course, extends to roof elements. It is possible, with some work, to show a roof plan built from actual roofs. This technique will have its own post.

Where we used to have one layer for roofs, because they were all 3D-only, now we have two, so we can choose to show roofs in plan, or not. We maintain the pattern of other 2D/3D layer pairs: Deck2/Deck3, Cabs2/Cabs3, Stair2/Stair3, etc.

The layer +Z Room Name is no longer with us. Dust to dust. Polvo a polvo. Room name objects in plan should go on the layer +Z Zones. This is the layer for zones of rooms. If you use zones, the stamp becomes the room name. If you don't, you can still use that layer for the object.

In passing, I will encourage you again to use zones.

Room names in section still go on +A Arch Note Reg Scale.

Update for AC10: This story has been deleted from the templates. The new schedules in 10 can be placed as drawings, so the Schedules story isn't needed.

No, it's not every day we have a new story. It's also our first non-building story. I believe strongly in the building analogy of the AC project file, so I don't generally approve of stories for non-building purposes.

Here we don't have choice. This story is for Interactive Schedule elements, which can't be placed in any other window. You could handle this issue with layers, but you'd need an additional note layer. The pseudo-story down in the ground bothers me less.

Some schedules

You can also use it for this energy calculation method, which requires that the fills be in plan.

And anything else you think of that has to be in a plan window.

In framing plans, it's often helpful to show the walls on stories below with dashed lines. Especially roof framing. Well how do you do that.


I've added a new layer combination to the templates, 'Stretch House'. It's intended to help when marquee-stretching the whole project. It simply shows and unlocks everything building related, while hiding the section markers and everything site-related. I hope you find it useful, or can at least ignore it.

Another thrilling episode of Template Update.

• I put autotexts in the Project Title detail window. Instead of defaulting to 'Somebody Residence', it says {CLIENT} {PROJECTNAME}*. Similar for the address.

• I changed the weights of the white pens (10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 91) to 0.0 mm. This shouldn't have any negative side effects. The idea behind white pens is they disappear completely, and if the weight isn't zero the can show up against backgrounds. So the practical change is that invisible things become even less visible. That's probably OK?

* As usual, curly brackets mean angle brackets, since Movable Type treats everything in angle brackets as tags.

F Trim2 is for trim elements you want to show in plan. Two applications off the top of my head:

• Pilasters. This gives the option of turning off the pilasters in structure plans, etc.

• Panel Walls. Where you have pilasters, you often have paneling, and if you show the pilaster without the panel you get a gap.

Alright that's only one application. One and a half maybe.

I've made a couple of changes in the templates which affect how columns are layered. These changes are important, especially if you are in the habit of placing architectural columns on the S Column layer.

1. S Column no longer shows in architectural (A1) plans. With this change in mind, I also want to clarify the difference between architectural and structural columns.

2. There's a new layer, S Col Steel, for columns in the basement that need to show in the foundation plan.

If you come to me and ask why your columns are missing, I'll know you didn't read this.


Since there's such a thing in our little world as a "layout", referring to guide lines as "layout" lines isn't right.

Wall section stuff.

Added layer, F Clg Fin3.

Added LCs, 3. Working Wall Section and A3 Wall Section. Ceiling layer shows in these two, and Working SE (not A2), and Working Model Complete.

A Flue is for modeling chimney flues. It shows in plan and section. In section, the layer should be wireframe to show the flue void. In general use, elements on the A Flue layer will be subtracted from each part of the Fireplace/Chimney. The templates have a new layer combination, 'View Flues', which shows the flues solid inside the wireframe chimney.

A Chimney3 is for chimney parts that should not show in plan. Formerly we used A Wall Hi for this purpose. Putting these elements on their own layer allows you to show an axonometric of just the chimney. The templates have a new layer combination, 'View Chimney', which shows the chimney solid by itself. You can use a marquee to create a cutaway axon to show the flues.