Construct Walls (ArchiCAD Insights Tutorial)

31 Aug, 2007 By: Greg Kmethy

How to create composite walls with varying skin heights with ArchiCAD.

In architectural practice it's common to have composite wall structures. In some cases, the various skins of a composite wall don't extend to the same height but instead start and end at various heights. This "ArchiCAD Insights" column is about how to create these kinds of structures in ArchiCAD 10 and later releases using complex profiles.

For more information about these topics, see Composite Structures and Place a Wall/Column/Beam with a Complex Profile in ArchiCAD Help.

In this example, we wish to achieve the results shown in the illustration below.

The results we want to see in our final drawing.

The studs and the interior wall boards rest on the top of the slab, while the sheathing, air space, and brick veneer extend down to rest on top of the foundation. One way we could do this is to place a composite structure on top of the foundation, place the slab, and then cut the intersection portion of the slab out of the composite wall structure. But there's another way that doesn't require solid element operations, and it gives a better sectional representation of the composite structure. Here's how to do it:

1. Open the Profile Manager Window with the Design / Complex Profiles / Profile Manager menu command.

Start the Profile Manager.

2. Click the New button to start creating a new profile. The Profile Editor Window opens and is available for walls.
3. A good thing to do, if you have a standard foundation detail in a separate drawing, is to open that drawing and copy-paste the wall structure into the Profile Editor window.

Copy the wall structure into the Profile Editor.

4. Modify the various skins of the Composite Wall using fills. You should use the fills you wish to see when creating a section of the wall later. Create the fills that represent the sheathing, air space, and brick veneer so they reach down as much as needed in the standard detail. For example, if the slab is 200-mm thick, the bottom of the fills should be 200-mm lower than the bottom of the studs.

Add fills.

Note: Watch where you place the fills in relation to the Global Origin shown in the Profile Editor window. Elements placed at the origin will be at the height specified for the wall base when you place the wall. In this example, we want the veneer skins to extend lower than the wall base. 5. Place hotspots at each point of the profile you wish to be able to snap to when manipulating or working with the complex wall later in 3D.

Place hotspots.

6. Turn on the Vertical Stretch design layer.
7. Move the two stretch lines (the dashed lines at the top and bottom of the Profile Editor window) to the positions that define the portion of the wall you want to stretch vertically in the model. In this example, we want the portion extending below the Global Origin to remain fixed and the structure above the Global Origin to be stretchable, to accommodate various wall heights.

Move the stretch layer lines.

8. Turn on the Opening Reference design layer. The two opening reference lines (the vertical red lines in the Profile Editor window) are placed at the inner and outer surfaces of the complex wall.

The Opening Reference design layer.

9. Click the Store Profile button in the Profile Manager to save your changes.

Save changes.

10. In the dialog box that appears, specify a name for the new complex profile.
11. In the floor plan, place a complex wall using the profile you just created. Also, create the foundation and the slab. At this point, you don't know exactly where the left edge of the slab should be located.

Place the complex wall and create a foundation and slab.

12. Select all these elements and go to the 3D window.

Go to the 3D view.

13. Select the complex wall in the 3D window. You can see the 3D hotspots that appear where we placed hotspots in the Profile Editor window. We can use these hotspots to correctly position the edge of the slab.

Use the hotspots to position the slab.

14. Modify the height of the complex wall. As you can see, the lower 200-mm portion of the complex wall is not resized, only the stretchable portion above the wall base level.

Change the height.

15. Return to the floor plan and draw a section line across the complex wall. Open the section to see how the complex wall looks in section.

View the wall in section.

Add a Bit More to Your Wall
You can draw additional elements of the complex wall in the Profile Editor to enhance the section of the complex wall. You may draw a fill for the metal tie or other elements to be shown in the section of the complex wall. However, you shouldn't overpopulate the Profile Editor window with these auxiliary elements, because they might affect the model size if they get overly complex. Use common sense to detail the Profile element only to the degree you model other parts of your building design.

About the Author: Greg Kmethy

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