AEC

Architectural Desktop 2005

1 Jun, 2004 By: AIA ,H. Edward Goldberg

Autodesk's updated architectural tools make a strong team.


AFTER READING HIS obituary in a newspaper, Mark Twain said, "The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated." So is the hubbub I've heard about the impending demise of Autodesk Architectural Desktop. Since Autodesk acquired Revit two years ago, many pundits have warned that Architectural Desktop is on its last legs-that it's old technology. I'm here to say that's just not so. I continue to be impressed with the program's strengths and viability (figure 1). For the foreseeable future, Autodesk plans to continue to upgrade and develop this program. Given its large audience (more than 300,000 seats in use), its capabilities, and all the third-party add-ons, you should have confidence standardizing on this platform.



With the advent of drawing management in Architectural Desktop 2004, the program's automated xref system became an equal match to Revit's and ArchiCAD's automated integration schema (figure 2). Architectural Desktop 2005 is a superb, subtle, and productive AEC design and construction documentation solution. Though no program is perfect, this one is an extremely capable 3D CAD program with a widely known and understood interface.

 Figure 1. Designed specifically for architects and built on AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop delivers automated documentation, intelligent architectural objects, and file-based collaboration.
Figure 1. Designed specifically for architects and built on AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop delivers automated documentation, intelligent architectural objects, and file-based collaboration.

Updated yearly, Architectural Desktop 2005 continues to offer new features. Like its predecessors, Architectural Desktop 2005 is based on AutoCAD and so provides the new features and improvements implemented into AutoCAD 2005.

Top Additions

Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2005 is an evolutionary, not a radical, update. Some of the new features are major additions. The new Detail Components, in conjunction with AEC Modify, increases productivity for 2D architectural detailing. Callouts, which automatically coordinate detail numbering between drawings, are one of my favorites. They improve the accuracy of the construction document set.

Here's my list of the best new features:

Details and detail components offer new routines to create construction details (figure 3). For more on this new module, see Michael Dakan's report in Cadalyst 's AEC Tech News #119 ( ) and #120 ( ).

Annotation lets you note detail components, object styles and definitions, object components through materials, and 2D sections and elevations across xrefs.

Figure 3 (left). Architectural Desktop 2005 includes new routines that speed up detail creation. I created this wall and floor details, including notes, in only two minutes using the new Detail Component manager.
Figure 3 (left). Architectural Desktop 2005 includes new routines that speed up detail creation. I created this wall and floor details, including notes, in only two minutes using the new Detail Component manager.

Callouts automatically generate sections, elevations, and detail backgrounds. Callouts automatically code and link sections, elevations, and the like to pages and page numbers.

Drawing management and sheet set coordination integrates many new functions in AutoCAD 2005, including sheet views, one-click publish, sheet index, drag and drop reordering, and cross-linked callouts.

The stair-tower generator automates the design of multifloor stairs, stair landings, and rails (figure 4).

Figure 4. The new automated stair tower and railing generation tool helps with design of multifloor buildings.
Figure 4. The new automated stair tower and railing generation tool helps with design of multifloor buildings.

AEC Modify tools that you access via the right-click menu can be used to edit detail components (figure 5).

Trim, Extend, Merge, Subtract, Obscure, and Crop commands work with hatches, blocks, spaces, areas, AEC polygons, and mass element extrusions. You must see them to appreciate them.

Figure 5. The new AEC Modify tools change details such as hatches, blocks, spaces, areas, AEC polygons, and mass element extrusions.
Figure 5. The new AEC Modify tools change details such as hatches, blocks, spaces, areas, AEC polygons, and mass element extrusions.

The Merge Common Materials option lets you specify at the material level whether or not like materials should merge. For example, you can have a concrete slab clean up with the concrete wall that's on top of the slab instead of having a line between the slab and the wall.

The Sheet Set Manager serves as a single organizational interface to the design data that you must assemble for project teams and clients. By grouping views from various drawings as sheets in a sheet set, you can process and package them as a unit.

DWF (design Web format) and Markup Set Manager help you display nongraphic information as well as design graphics, making design intent clear to anyone who reviews the document. With the click of a button, you can use Autodesk DWF Viewer to view pertinent nongraphical data such as a door's fire rating or a room's square footage.

This version's DWG file is the same as that in AutoCAD 2004, so you shouldn't have any difficulties moving files back and forth between the two versions.

Continuing Tradition

As mentioned earlier, Architectural Desktop 2005 is excellent software and is well worth the upgrade price from any previous version. This version will finally convince architects and designers that it's time to start working in 3D.




AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
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