Project Basics Architectural Desktop (Solutions from Synergis Tutorial)

28 Feb, 2007 By: Bill Knittle

Learn how the Project Browser and Navigator work.

The Drawing Management System or Architectural Desktop Projects is a powerful set of tools that manage a project's framework, model information and deliverables. The system comprises two tools: the Project Browser and the Project Navigator.

Project Browser
You can access the Project Browser from several locations: the File menu, a button on the Navigation toolbar, a button on the Project Navigator or automatically when launching the Architectural Desktop via the Options /AEC Project Defaults tab.

Project Browser is used to create, locate, move and load a project. It has three distinct components, including

Project Header, which indicates currently active project;
Project Selector, an embedded browser for creating, moving and locating projects; and
Project Bulletin Board, an embedded Internet Explorer view.

You use the Project Browser to create, locate, move and load a project.

To break this dialog box down, the Project Header shows your project's image and project name and description.

The Project Selector's navigation toolbar is fairly self-explanatory. The only one that might be new to you is the Project Bulletin Board link, which links to the project's home page such as your company's Web site.

Project Navigator
After you select a project in the Project browser, the Project Navigator opens. If you can't see it, you can access it from several locations: the Window menu, a button on the Navigation toolbar and by typing Ctrl-5 at the Command prompt.

Project Navigator is a floating tool palette used for interfacing all project-related drawing files. It includes toolsets for creating, opening, organizing and externally referencing model and sheet drawing files. These two types of files were established by the U.S. National CAD Standard and are clearly delineated by the Project Navigator and are defined as:

Model File. A drawing file that contains all the live building data drawn at full scale (1:1) where all the day-to-day work is performed.
Sheet File. A drawing file that is used only for printing. It typically consists of a title block and external references of the various model files.

Be sure not to confuse these two types of files with model and paper space.

The Project Navigator is logically organized into four distinct tabs to handle the myriad project data and drawing files in various stages of the project workflow. The tabs are arranged in a specific order for your intended workflow. The four tabs include:

1. Project Tab. Create and manage the Project framework (data, levels and divisions).
2. Constructs Tab. Create, open and manage the model files (Constructs and Elements) containing the live building model data. All modeling occurs here.
3. Views Tab. Create, open and manage the model files (views) that reference the building data model files (constructs and elements). All annotation occurs here.
4. Sheets Tab. Create, open and manage the sheet set and sheet files (sheets) that reference the model files (views). All printing is done here.

Architectural Desktop's Project Navigator.

The Project Tab includes specifications of your project. For example, it includes the project properties under the Modify Project button that covers the name, number, description, details and all pathing requirements of the various project components. You'll also find levels, horizontal slices vertically through the building model usually distinguishing physical floors, grades and mezzanines and divisions, vertical slices through the building model usually distinguishing a wing, an annex or an addition. They can also conform to phases of construction as well as design options.

In the Project tab, you'll find project properties (left) and levels and divisions of your project.

The Constructs Tab is a model file. It contains a unique piece of the building model (a puzzle piece to the whole) that occurs in a particular division on a particular level.

Constructs shows unique puzzle pieces of the whole.

Spanning Construct is a unique construct that spans multiple levels curtain wall.

Element is also a model file, however it contains a discrete piece of the building model that has no physical location in the model. It's very similar to AutoCAD blocks in that it's a repetitious object. When there's a change to the parent element all instances of that element change throughout the building model.

Element attached to a Construct and replicated multiple times.

The Views Tab, another Model file, is a working report of the building. A view externally references all the constructs and their nested elements (puts the puzzle pieces together) to create a certain view of the building model. Views can be distinguished by type .

There are three types of views:
1. General View. A multipurpose view of the model (plans and isometric).
2. Section/Elevation View. A specialized view for sections and elevations.
3. Detail View. A specialized view for details.

Model Space View is a model space viewport around the view's referenced data that has its own name and scale. It is a hybrid of an AutoCAD viewport and named View. A model space view is created in model space instead of paper space. Because of its scale parameter, it is an ideal location for annotation.

Model space view.

The Sheets Tab shows components and is a named and ordered collection of sheets that share a variety of common properties. Sheet sets resemble a set of bound construction sheets that are the basic deliverable on a typical building project. Sheet sets are designed to efficiently publish a printed or electronic set of documents.

Subset. A named collection of sheets in a sheet set. Subsets help to organize sheets into logical groupings based on discipline or stage.

Sheet. A plot-only report of the building model in which views and their nested constructs and elements are referenced externally into a paper space layout containing a titleblock within the plotting layout extents.

Sheet View. The transition of a model space view to the sheet file after it has been placed on the paper space layout. It cuts the AutoCAD viewport and is integral to the automatic coordination of AEC Callouts (such as titlemarks).

The paper space layout of a sheet file and several sheet views.

About the Author: Bill Knittle

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