Top 10: Vancouver Architecture Apps

Architects in Vancouver increasingly incorporate apps to help make their workflow more efficient. What are the top 10 architecture apps in use in Vancouver?  

The great Arthur Erickson once said that memorable buildings “are unique, poetic products of the heart.”

Vancouver’s architects continue to create beautiful, innovative designs that capture the imagination. Increasingly, today’s architectural clients expect more than unique and aesthetically appealing buildings. They want architects to incorporate data-rich models that provide valuable information for facilities management and other downstream uses of architectural work.

Among the wide variety of tech trends currently impacting architecture in British Columbia, a dizzying array of ever-changing apps offers new possibilities for drafting, measuring, drawing — and using data in new and creative ways. What are some of the top mobile applications currently in use by Vancouver architects, and how can you incorporate them into your workflow?

The Top 10 Apps for Architects in Vancouver

For architects working at maximum efficiency, these 10 apps — with most available for both iOS and Android — offer essential functionality and convenience.

  • Plainmeter: This measuring tool provides specifications including perimeter, angles, distance and area. In addition, Plainmeter offers estimates of GPS coordinates.
  • uMake: This app, available only for iOS, bills itself as the first 3D design application for iPad, and developers note that the app allows architects to explore their designs in 3D easily. Rather than using planes as the basis for modelling, uMake incorporates 2D drawings to help architects create 3D objects.
  • Sun Seeker Pro: Solar Compass’ Sun Seeker Pro is a tool for shade and solar path analysis that helps Vancouver architects predict the effect of changing sunlight on their work. The app works well for on-site reviews, offering comprehensive information about the path and position of the sun, including 3D views and a virtual compass.
  • Morpholio Trace: Creators of the Morpholio Trace app note that it combines the convenience of sketching with the precision of CAD applications. The app allows architects to draw on photos to visualize aspects of their projects.
  • Magicplan: The Magicplan app eliminates the need to bring measuring tools along on site visits. Instead, the app offers the ability to scan rooms in just 30 seconds to create floor plans. Alternatively, architects can import existing floor plans into the app or draw with their fingertips.
  • A360: This app by Autodesk provides architects with the ability to view, comment and share designs in mobile settings. Designed specifically for architects, A360 includes viewing capability for 100 file formats including CAD, and the app can view files created in any software.
  • Construction Master Pro: This calculator app from Calculated Industries helps architects solve difficult math problems at job sites. With multiple advanced capabilities, Construction Master Pro includes the same core engines as industry-standard, advanced calculators.
  • iRhino 3D: Available only for iOS, iRhino 3D provides easy display capability of concepts and designs in 3D. The app works in conjunction with Rhino modelling software and includes access to associated files from email attachments, websites or cloud storage services.
  • Autodesk SketchBook: The Autodesk SketchBook app provides architects with easy-to-use, precise drawing capabilities that include access to a range of tools for on-site drafting. Drawing guidelines assist with accurate perspective.
  • BIMx Web Viewer: The BIMx app includes Hypermodel — a technology for integrated viewing of 2D and 3D designs. The app’s developers note that it assists in bridging the gap between the office and construction sites by allowing access to files, along with the ability to adjust specs on the go.

Preparing for the Future of Vancouver Architecture

The well-known landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander — recently honoured by the Cultural Landscape Foundation with an international award in her name — notes that architecture addresses “the environmental, social and ecological challenges we face now” as well as “the challenges we must plan for in the future.”

Vancouver’s architects use the latest technology, including apps that allow them to practice their craft in any setting, to help face those challenges. For 30 years, Compunet has offered industry-leading IT support and services to architectural firms and other businesses in Greater Vancouver.