Architects are spending more and more time on their devices each day, it's no wonder considering the rapid creation of mobile applications or 'apps' built to help users conceptualise and ideate their designs. To help you navigate though which design and architectural apps are on our radar, here is a list of our favourite apps for architects or designers. Even if only used occasionally they're sure to make your working life easier and more productive. Prices are in Australian dollars and in-app purchases may apply and some pro models are available.
Graphisoft’s BIMx app (Free iOS and Android)
BIMx (Building Information Model eXplorer) is the ideal app for architects using ARCHICAD to present and share designs with clients and contractors. This app features the ‘BIMx Hyper-model’, a unique technology for navigating the integrated drawing sheet and 3D building model and for displaying building component information. Pro model also available.
Autocad 360 (Free iOS and Android)
Autocad 360 is the official Autocad mobile app for architects which lets you upload, open and edit DWG files anytime, anywhere. This app allows you to view and edit 2D or 3D drawings and, with an AutoCAD 360 subscription, allows files to work seamlessly between a whole range of devices and platforms.
Sketchbook by Autodesk (Free iOS and Android)
This app is perfect for digital sketching and painting where you can capture everything from your smallest doodles to your best architecturial ideas. It promises more fluid pencils and natural painting than ever before. You can also easily organise your artwork in Sketchbook’s gallery.
Shapr3D is a 3D CAD app for the iPad Pro only and is intended to be used with the Aplle Pencil. If you have both floating around your office this is an app worth checking out. The UI / UX is beautifully designed and the snapping engine in combination with the precising of the Apple Pencil makes for a really productive architectural experience. The modelling application can export to STEP, IGES, STL and import STEP, IGES .
Paper by 53 (Free for iPhone and iPad)
One of our favourite architecture apps is Paper by 53, it is one of the best general sketching and jotting apps out there. For taking notes, highlighting details on photos or creating sketches and artwork, Paper is one of the best looking and designed apps. Paper has also designed their own pencil/stylus for use with the app. It’s particularly gorgeous on the iPad.
Morpholio Trace (iOS free)
Trace, is an essential app to any design or creative process, allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images, or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate. Morpholio Trace is ideal for architects, designers, photographers, artists, or anyone image driven. It is the unique sketch utility that allows you to easily develop ideas in layers, communicate via drawing markup, and connect easily with your network.
MyPantone (iOS $14.99, Android $7.51)
For over 50 years Pantone has been the international language of colour. This app now gives you access to the entire Pantone catalogue of over 13,000 colours and makes it easy to create and share colour palettes. Capture and extract colours from photos and snap to the closest Pantone colour.
PadCAD (iOS and Android)
PadCad app is designed for small drafting projects like home additions, site surveys and small remodelling projects. Anyone can produce clean, clear CAD drawings and export them to a professional CAD application if required. It’s the perfect starting point for many architecture drafting projects.
MagicPlan (iOS and Android)
MagicPlan quickly creates professional floor plans and work estimates. The map app measures rooms and draws floor plans just by taking pictures with your phone or tablet’s camera. Simply add objects, annotations, photos and attributes to generate reports or complete estimates. Anyone can create an indoor map in a few minutes.
Concept Idea Calculator (iOS)
The concept app gives architects the tools to visualize their ideas before putting pencil to paper. It’s a structural engineer at your fingertips. It’s a pocket calculator which uses typical span-to-depth ratios for common steel, concrete and wood members, and gives you a quick overview of what dimensions a certain structural idea will require.
iHandy Carpenter (iOs $2.99; Android $2.69)
The lightest, prettiest and most handy carpenter tool kit in the world, right on your Phone! 5 tools in one include a plumb bob, surface level, bubble lever bar, steel protractor and a steel ruler. This app should be in every home.