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Download High Resolution World City Maps for CAD

12:00 - 12 April, 2017

Mapacad is a website that offers downloads of .dwgs of dozens of cities. With 200 metropolises in their database, the founders have shared a set of their most-downloaded cities.  

The files contain closed polyline layers for buildings, streets, highways, city limits, and geographical data--all ready for use in CAD programs like Autocad, Rhino, BricsCad and SketchUp. 

Is "Post-Digital Drawing" the Next Stage in the Hand vs Computer Debate?

16:00 - 1 April, 2017
Is "Post-Digital Drawing" the Next Stage in the Hand vs Computer Debate?, <a href=‘http://www.archdaily.com/801629/garage-house-fala-atelier/58538399e58ece1f960000f8-garage-house-fala-atelier-collage'>Garage House / Fala Atelier</a>. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier
Garage House / Fala Atelier. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier

Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them. 

During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.

Stoves, Sinks, and Refrigerators: Downloadable CAD Blocks for Kitchen Designs

08:00 - 30 March, 2017
Stoves, Sinks, and Refrigerators: Downloadable CAD Blocks for Kitchen Designs, Courtesy of Teka
Courtesy of Teka

In order to support the design work of our readers, the company Teka has shared with us a series of .DWG files of its various kitchen products. The files include both 2D and 3D drawings and can be downloaded directly from this article.

Download the objects below, which have been separated into the following categories: drop-in sinks, built-in sinks, undermount sinks, built-in ovens, faucets, stoves, extractor hoods, and refrigerators.

10 Essential Freehand Drawing Exercises for Architects

08:00 - 22 March, 2017
Courtesy of DOM Publishers
Courtesy of DOM Publishers

The following excerpt was originally published in Natascha Meuser's Construction and Design Manual: Architecture Drawings (DOM Publishers). With our industry's technological advances, "the designing architect is not simultaneously the drawing architect." Meuser's manual aims to help architects develop and hone their technical drawing skills as the "practical basis and form of communication for architects, artists, and engineers." Read on for ten freehand drawing exercises that tackle issues ranging from proportion and order to perspective and space. 

What is beauty? A few years ago, a group of international researchers sought to unravel the mysteries of human beauty. They used state-of-the-art, totally impartial computer technology and a huge dataset to establish once and for all why particular faces are perceived as beautiful, and whether beauty exists independently of ethnic, social and cultural background; in other words, whether it can be calculated mathematically. The scientists input countless photos of faces from all over the world, each described by survey respondents as particularly beautiful, into a powerful computer. The resulting information, they believed, could be used to generate a face that would be recognized by any human being as possessing absolute beauty. But what the computer eventually spat out was a picture of an ordinary face, neither beautiful nor ugly, devoid of both life and character. It left most viewers cold. The accumulated data had created not superhuman beauty, but a statistically correct average.

Save Time With This Efficient Method For Managing Revit Templates

09:30 - 24 February, 2017
Save Time With This Efficient Method For Managing Revit Templates

This article was originally published by ArchSmarter as "The Best Strategy for a Super Effective Revit Template."

The best thing about Revit templates is how much time they can save you. The worst thing about Revit templates is how much time they take to create.

It’s a bit of a catch-22. In order to save time, you need to spend time. It’s not easy to find that time when you have billable projects to work on and deadlines to meet. Believe me, I know.

And once you do finish the template, how often do you review it and keep it updated? What if you have a project that’s a new building-type? Does your template still work for that kind of building? What if you need to follow an owner’s BIM standard? Can you modify your template to fit their requirements?

Sinks, Toilets, Shower Heads and Faucets: Downloadable Bathroom CAD Blocks

08:00 - 24 February, 2017
Sinks, Toilets, Shower Heads and Faucets: Downloadable Bathroom CAD Blocks , Courtesy of Porcelanosa Grupo
Courtesy of Porcelanosa Grupo

In order to support the design work of our readers, the company Porcelanosa Grupo has shared with us a series of .DWG files of its various bathroom products. The files include both 2D and 3D drawings and can be downloaded directly from this article.

Download the objects below, which have been separated into the following categories: Shower Heads, Toilets, Sinks, Faucets and Tubs.

16 CAD Files of Skylights and Light Tubes Available for Your Next Project

10:30 - 15 January, 2017
16 CAD Files of Skylights and Light Tubes Available for Your Next Project , GGL single standard install into natural slate © Velux
GGL single standard install into natural slate © Velux

In the spirit of supporting our readers’ design work, the company Velux has shared a series of .DWG files with us of their different roofing windows models. The files can be downloaded directly from this article and include great amounts of detail and information.

Check the files below, separated into 'Pitched Roofs', 'Flat Roofs' and 'Light Tube'.

MIT Develops Multi-Material Design System Slated to Become “Photoshop of 3D Printing”

14:00 - 7 January, 2017

Following last year’s introduction of MultiFab, a multi-material 3D printer, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has pioneered a system for designing multi-material objects. The new interface, Foundry, is meant to be accessible to non-programmers, whereas multi-material 3D printing technology has historically been prohibitive both with respect to cost and user-friendliness.

60 Free Cad Blocks and Drawings

12:00 - 27 December, 2016

The key to quick, efficient CAD modeling is to have a solid library of CAD blocks - pre-prepared sets of common objects and details that you can simply drop into your drawing as and when they are required. Fortunately, there are many ways you can build up your own CAD blocks library without having to create all of your own objects from scratch. One of them is to purchase sets of blocks from websites like boss888.net, which has a wide array of CAD objects available for download - and is even offering a selection of their catalog for free.

50 AutoCAD Commands You Should Know

08:00 - 22 November, 2016

After spending countless hours in front of AutoCAD working on a project, you’re bound to have your own set of favorite commands to standardize a few steps. We also bet that you don’t have them all memorized or often forget them. To help you remember, we've made a list of 50 commands that can help you speed up your work game, discover new shortcuts, or come in use as a handy tool for when you forget what the command you need is called.

The following listing was developed and corroborated by our team for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 versions of AutoCAD in English. We also prepared a series of GIFs to visualize some of the trickier ones.

When you’ve finished reading, we would love to know what your favorite commands are (including those that we didn’t include). We will use your input to help us update the article!

15 CAD Blocks and Files for Playground Equipment

08:00 - 16 November, 2016
15 CAD Blocks and Files for Playground Equipment, Courtesy of UrbanPlay
Courtesy of UrbanPlay

With the aim of supporting the design work of our readers, the company UrbanPlay has shared with us a series of files in .DWG format for different models of children's games, playgrounds, and equipment for public space. Files can be downloaded directly in this article and include 2D and 3D files.

See all 15 below.

Courtesy of UrbanPlay Courtesy of UrbanPlay Courtesy of UrbanPlay Courtesy of UrbanPlay +25

Detailed, Colorful Elevation Drawings of Historic Brazillian Buildings Illustrated in CAD

06:00 - 12 October, 2016
Detailed, Colorful Elevation Drawings of Historic Brazillian Buildings Illustrated in CAD, Luz Station, São Paulo. Image © Zema Vieira
Luz Station, São Paulo. Image © Zema Vieira

While using technical drawings, Zema Vieira makes architectural illustrations by using only AutoCAD without any further techniques. Her body of work became a project called “Fachada Frontal” or "Front Facade." In it, the artist depicts buildings from cities around the world, with a particular focus on Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Check out below the illustrations made by the artist.

New Autodesk System Streamlines 3D Printing of Large, Complex Objects

08:00 - 20 June, 2016

A team of engineers at Autodesk have been pushing the limitations of conventional 3D printing -- not by redesigning the machines themselves, but by creating a network to harness their collective power. Autodesk's "Project Escher" is a new printing system that utilizes the power of several 3D printers at once to fabricate complex parts in unison, reports FastCoDesign. The new system can increase production speed by up to 90%. 

Architecture Software Tutorials: Which Are The Best Out There?

10:30 - 18 May, 2015
Architecture Software Tutorials: Which Are The Best Out There?, © Faberr Ink via Shutterstock
© Faberr Ink via Shutterstock

In contemporary architecture practice, proficiency in an ever-widening array of architecture software is becoming increasingly important. For almost every job in the field, it is no longer enough to bring a skilled mind and a pencil; different jobs may require different levels of expertise and different types of software, but one thing that seems universally accepted is that some level of involvement with software is now a requirement.

While software has opened a huge range of capabilities for architects, it also presents a challenge: universities have taken wildly different approaches to the teaching of software, with some offering classes and access to experts while others prefer to teach design theory and expect students to pick up software skills in their own time. New architecture graduates therefore already face a divide in skills - and that's not to mention the many, many architects who went to school before AutoCAD was even an industry standard, and have spent the past decades keeping up with new tools.

The internet has therefore been a huge democratizing effect in this regard, offering tutorials, often for free, to anyone with a connection - as long as you know where to look. That's why ArchDaily wants your help to create a directory of the internet's best architecture tutorial websites. Find out how to help (and see our own short list to get you started) after the break.

The Computer vs The Hand In Architectural Drawing: ArchDaily Readers Respond

10:30 - 5 May, 2015
The Computer vs The Hand In Architectural Drawing: ArchDaily Readers Respond, Designs for Truro Cathedral, 1878 Artist: William Burges. Image Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Designs for Truro Cathedral, 1878 Artist: William Burges. Image Courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In the architecture world, there are a handful of persistent debates that arise time and time again: the challenges of being a woman in the field of architecture is one of them, for example; the problems of a culture of long hours and hard work is another. But one of the most enduring arguments in architecture - especially in the academic sphere - is the battle between hand drawing and computer aided design. Both schools have their famous proponents: Michael Graves, for example, was known as a huge talent with a pencil and paper, and came to the defense of drawing in articles for the New York Times, among others. Patrik Schumacher, on the other hand, is famous for his commitment to the capabilities of the computer.

To advance this heated conversation, two weeks ago we reached out to our readers to provide their thoughts on this topic in an attempt to get a broad cross-section of opinions from architects from all walks of life. Read some of the best responses after the break.

Which Architectural Software Should You Be Using?

10:30 - 4 May, 2015
Which Architectural Software Should You Be Using?, Use the flowchart to find out which software is your perfect fit (click to enlarge). Image Courtesy of ArchSmarter
Use the flowchart to find out which software is your perfect fit (click to enlarge). Image Courtesy of ArchSmarter

One of the biggest decisions to make when setting out alone - either as an independent architect or starting your own firm - is which software to use. It can be tempting to simply choose an industry leader, but you may end up paying over the odds for a product which doesn't suit your style. In this post, originally published on ArchSmarter as "Which architectural software is right for me?" Michael Kilkelly works through the factors that should influence your decision, whether you're making it for the first time or reviewing a choice you made long ago. 

Which CAD or BIM software should you use? Well, that depends. What functionality to you need? What are your priorities with regard to cost, comparability, interoperability? Are you using a Mac or a PC?

Architects And Coding: Why You Should Treat Your Software Like Your Smartphone

10:30 - 25 April, 2015

In 2014 renowned Dutch politician Neelie Kroes, then a commissioner for the European Union, stated that coding should be taught in elementary school in the Netherlands, arguing that “Coding is the reading and writing of the future” and that if the Dutch didn’t incorporate it into their education system it would fall behind school systems in other countries. The reactions to both Kroes’ statement and Michael Kilkelly's article "5 Reasons Architects Should Learn To Code" were quite similar. Those already capable of writing code agreed; many who have never even seen, let alone written any script responded negatively. Many reactions to Micheal Kilkelly's article covered the same ideas: “There's no time!” “Coding is not designing!” Or just plain, “No!”

What Is The Role Of Hand Drawing In Today's Architecture?

09:00 - 20 April, 2015
What Is The Role Of Hand Drawing In Today's Architecture?, Competitions such as the RIBA Journal's "Eye Line" contest celebrate the importance of drawing. Image © Tom Noonan
Competitions such as the RIBA Journal's "Eye Line" contest celebrate the importance of drawing. Image © Tom Noonan

Update: We have now published our follow-up article of readers' responses - see it here.