ArchiCAD project-based eBook

When looking at the Graphisoft site, in the list of books, I’m always disappointed by the lack of ArchiCAD specific books. There are a few mentioned, but they are for older versions, usually (down to version 9 still, which is when the whole Publishing workflow was still in the external PlotMaker software). This is not usable today.

The first book in the list, however, was a recent eBook, by Nicola Petkovic: it consist of 4 separate books. And that is what I’ll discuss in this blogpost.

Master Class - Step by step guidebook

You can order them separately or as a bundle, with discount. There is also the option to buy it as a hard-copy.

  • Masterclass 1 (beginners level) - basics, tools (wall, slab, door, window, stair…), Priority-Based Connections, editing, basic floor plans and layout…
  • Appendix 1 for Master Class 1 (Intermediate level) - plan & layout, building materials & PBE, window- and door markers, 3D sections/cutaway, Zone tool in 2D and 3D
  • Appendix 2 for Master Class 2 (Intermediate level) - object, morph, shell and lamp and energy analysis
  • Masterclass 2 (intermediate level) - customisation, DWG, truss, shell, grid, roof maker, curtain wall, morph and landscape.

You can register for this book at: https://sites.google.com/site/shuabook/

Chapters are provided as PDF files, readable online, but to prevent piracy, you can not download or print them. Drawings are provided as PDF (for underlay) and in ArchiCAD PLN format, both for metric and imperial units.

 

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It is self-published and upon registration, you get an invitation for a shared Google Drive folder per book. This implies that you need a gMail address, which is accessible to everybody, if needed.

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The books follow a Project-based approach, based on two existing designs: the 4x4 house by Tadao Ando and the Artek Pavillion by Shigeru Ban. These designs are started from scratch for a first, basic model, prepared for 1:100 representations and further elaborated throughout the project. This is a good concept, as it better reflects how architects would approach such a project. It also implies that you are not simply going through all the tools, but revisit them at different stages of design elaboration.

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Some Comments

While I haven’t been able to read them front to cover (yet), I was planning to revise my own understanding of ArchiCAD and the project-based approach seems worthwhile. The price is fair and although it seems mostly self-published, this probably cuts down on publication and distribution and overhead costs, so you get a lot of value (and the author probably a larger return).

The books are richly illustrated and the pages are quite filled to the limits. This is not a light, in-between text for reading, but requires attention, as it is filled with tips, annotations, screenshots and other valuable information.

Rebuilding existing architectural projects is a valid approach to learning a BIM or CAD software system. You will get a nice end result and are not being distracted by the need to elaborate the full design or project deadlines. If you are more advanced, you could work on your own project, but you might not have the required details at the right time during elaboration.

Finally, maybe this is nit-picking, but for my own classes, which have become video-tutorial based self-paced learning, I am looking to revise my older ArchiCAD 16 tutorials and translate them into ArchiCAD 18. The previous example project was fairly representative, but lacked following characteristics: no sloped roof, no neighbours (so no common wall), no basement and no renovation requirements. This thus leaves out a fair share of necessary subjects.

In this book, there is a sloped roof in the second Masterclass, although more focused on pavilion steel structures. Depending on where you live in the world, the building project might or might not be a good fit for your regional construction habits. And for beginners, that might be still quite limiting. I do remember from my classes how often I need to explain construction details, to be able to properly model them.

All in all, this books are highly recommended, for their project-based approach and for the fact that the choice of ArchiCAD-focused books is still very limited, certainly when comparing with a certain, US-based well-known alternative software.