11 Best Free Architectural Design Software in 2020

11 Best Free Architectural Design Software in 2020

Architectural design software enable users to virtually create spaces of any size and purpose without the help of a construction company. It is possible to draw a 2D drawing or 3D image of a house, apartment, office or playground using special design tools.

These architecture software assist in visualizing how a property will look after construction. This also applies to the remodeling of an apartment or the interior design.

Top 11 Free Architectural Design Software

  1. SketchUp – For 3D designs
  2. AutoCAD – To create representative drafts
  3. Sweet Home 3D – Open-source interior design app
  4. SmartDraw – For building diagrams and schemes
  5. FreeCAD – Modular 3D parametric modeler with BIM tools
  6. FloorPlanner – Easy 2D/3D floor plan drawing
  7. Revit – Multi-disciplinary and collaborative BIM-approach
  8. Blender – For 3D modeling and compositing
  9. TAD: The Architect's Desktop – Open-source interior design app
  10. My Virtual Home – 3D home design planner
  11. actiTIME – Time tracking software with intelligent data

Based on availability criteria and architectural problem setting, here are various 3D architecture software including open-source, floor-planning, general-purpose CAD or BIM (building information modeling) in order to make your choice easier.

1. SketchUp

 
Vast marketplace of extensions
  • Videos creation, professional plugins
  • Layer management, animations and 3D models
  • Lighting effects, textures, customizable palettes
  • Offers exchange repository
  • The free version is basic, web-browser only
  • Recognition of uneven shapes and rendering

This architectural design software freeware operates from schematic design to construction documentation and serves as an intuitive CAD solution for creating and editing 2D and 3D architectural projects, interior models, furniture and landscapes. With the title blocks, users are capable of drawing plans, facades and sections, building details and completing them.

SketchUp provides numerous add-ons and a forum. It isn’t difficult to learn and generates clear 3D pictures. Each object, surface and material has a unique texture. Its straightforward interface will appeal to architects, designers, builders and engineers at any stage of construction design.

sketchup interface free architectural design software

2. AutoCAD

 
Sophisticated architectural tools
  • Drawing documentation and annotation
  • Supports import of Revit grids
  • Styles browser and tool palettes
  • AEC object styles and database
  • Free only for students and teachers
  • Paid toolkits

AutoCAD is extensively used by specialists for effective development, creation of designs and standard documentation. You are unlikely to encounter compatibility problems unless you have used AutoCAD crack. If you start experimenting with layers and line weights, you will receive a decent project with standard drawing conventions and measurable design details.

Another version is AutoCAD Architecture, an integrated toolset adapted to the needs of the architect. The created drawings will demonstrate real behavior, will take shape and structure. This architecture design software free incorporates AEC objects (windows, doors) as design elements and employs them to create realistic and spatially oriented three-dimensional floor plans.

autocad interface free architectural design software

3. Sweet Home 3D

 
Measurements of fixtures
  • Multilingual, open-source, expandable via plugins
  • Print and export PDFs, bitmap, videos, 3D
  • Photorealistic images and videos with light sources
  • Update colors, texture, size, orientation of furniture
  • The scope and development of environments are restricted
  • Certain objects don’t match the current market

Sweet Home 3D is a free construction drawing software for interior design letting users view ready-made 2D floor plans in 3D for context and presentation. It is also the best interior design app that is perfectly suitable for designing interiors and creating home or office plans.

Users have an opportunity to produce photorealistic images and videos based on their plans and incorporate different light sources to simulate their surroundings under certain conditions.

It is possible to receive a furniture catalog, a list of home furniture, a house plan, and a 3D view of the house. Users can import a property plan or start drawing a new one, enjoy drawing walls or edit existing ones, add doors, windows and furniture. Besides, the software enables users to import additional 3D models from other sources and export plans to various widespread formats.

sweet home 3d interface free architectural design software

4. SmartDraw

 
Professional intelligent diagramming
  • Robust architecture design toolset
  • Rich architectural symbol library
  • Quick-start architecture design templates
  • Draw to any scale
  • Open license for Windows only or via a web browser
  • Many graphic images are highly specific

Verdict: In this free architectural drawing software, the emphasis is put on a swift and straightforward structural design process. It supports integration with plenty of well-known tools (Trello, Visio, Jira) for optimizing the workflow, as well as exporting drawings and plans to different formats for printing.

SmartDraw offers dozens of templates that can be modified and customized with thousands of ready-made characters for different design options.

Simple and robust charting lets users draw and print architectural and engineering diagrams at scale. Contractors and architects will find this software useful for creating diagrams, flowcharts, process maps, CAD and floor plans, project diagrams, graphs, organizational and network diagrams, wireframes, and all types of layouts. The creator of the organization structure offers an online floor plan for ease of use, sharing and collaboration.

smartdraw interface free architectural design software

5. FreeCAD

 
Customizable modular architecture
  • Free, cross-platform, open-source
  • Sketcher, robot simulation module, rendering
  • Customizable modular architecture
  • Geometry kernel, parametric model
  • Under development
  • IFC export isn’t fully implemented

FreeCAD is a parametric online 3D modeler of real objects. The tool lets users produce 2D thumbnails for creating 3D objects, and vice versa. It supports specialized file formats (STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, DAE) for export. Parametric modeling makes it easy to modify a component by going back to the model history. Objects, walls, floors, etc. aren’t restricted to stereotypical forms.

FreeCAD offers a modular architecture that enables users to mount functions and workspaces of specific areas in the main application. It provides a workflow similar to information modeling of building BIM, as well as compatibility with IFC (industry base classes).

The integrated Python interpreter, macros and external scripts grant full access to any part of FreeCAD architecture software.

freecad interface free architectural design software

6. FloorPlanner

 
Drag & drop interface
  • 3D, 360°panorama, VR walkthroughs
  • Drawing tool, photorealistic rendering
  • Interactive 2D and 3D floor plan
  • Furniture image library
  • Free version supports only one project
  • Advanced capabilities become accessible after subscription

FloorPlanner grants the ability to create floor plans in 2D and 3D, and then share interactive versions of these plans online. It is supplied with the “automatic finishing” function, which makes it easy to decorate rooms according to the plan. The finished floor plans of the planner look professional and polished, ready for presentation.

This free floor plan design software will assist in quick and hassle-free designing with numerous capabilities. Its applications in Google Chrome and iPad are an excellent addition to the web tool. The drag-and-drop feature in the design view is convenient. Navigating between design features, floors and viewing options is definitely an advantage.

floorplanner interface free architectural design software

7. Revit

 
MEP and engineering disciplines
  • Free for the sphere of education
  • Every modification you make is updated
  • Implementation of parametric modeling
  • Inclusion of MEP and engineering disciplines
  • Desktop application for Windows only
  • Revit v2019 is incompatible with BIM Team

Since Autodesk provides Revit free, it integrates well with the publisher's tools and supports DWG files as a trace reference for model generation.

It is universal architecture design software for 2D and 3D projects that outputs the overall result of the project, including modeling, rendering, and construction documents. Instead of lines and circles, users can incorporate real components and characteristics of a physical building.

The capabilities of BIM modeling intend to combine all disciplines of building design. Architects collaborate with MEP development teams, electricians and mechanics, so using the same tool makes it easier to interact and coordinate. All building components are interdependent, letting planners make changes without having to redraw each component.

revit interface free architectural design software

8. Blender

 
Built-in compositor
  • Free, cross-platform, open-source
  • Geometric modeling as per 3D architectural models
  • Integrated effects, color grading compositor
  • Animation toolset, simulation and compositing
  • Not the easiest to master
  • Unusual selection system

Blender as a free video editing software makes it possible to develop technical skills to create architectural scenes and 3D models.

It supports all stages of the model creation process: modeling, rigging, compositing, rendering, simulation, motion tracking. Besides, it boasts video editing and animation capabilities. With this free architectural design software, users can manage their architectural projects via the layer management system.

Besides, users have an opportunity to add structural elements to the 3D scene by applying the optional Archimesh feature. They will receive the real lighting conditions within this software using the textures of the environment. This flexible tool is easy to configure and may be improved with various free extensions developed by the community.

blender interface free architectural design software

9. TAD: The Architect's Desktop

 
Built 3D draft view
  • Iterative design architecture
  • Integrated architectural language ARDELA
  • Flexible system with add-ons
  • Remarkable object orientation, in-built 3D draft view
  • Source code isn’t open
  • Not intended for design

TAD, The Architect’s Desktop is an architecture software free and building information modeler based on basic architecture research with very small file size. It is notable for extensive query capabilities and the ability to get objectivity from bubble-diagramming stages.

TAD is intended to be used from the earliest conceptual sketches and drawings. This architectural designs software free enables users to explore different configurations of bodies and spaces before starting to refine the design.

This 3D architecture software emphasizes the engineering aspect and neglects the conceptual side of architectural design. TAD is meant to be used by senior architects who outline the concept of a building, rather than designing it down to the details like other BIM software. Details are filled in downstream in other solutions.

tad interface free architectural design software

10. My Virtual Home

 
With real building materials and suppliers
  • Accurate lighting model
  • Interior items, garden accessories
  • Local supplier directory
  • Design element library with a virtual tour
  • Windows only, local adaptation
  • Restricted technical support

My Virtual Home is the best free home design software based on the game. It boasts a set of standard blocks and modifications for planning the space of a home, office or other places. It is a go-to software for those who wish to imagine what a house will look like since it shows the user the actual display of the effect of a certain construction type: walls, doors, bathrooms.

The software offers creative and interactive models of objects, surfaces and materials. Besides, it determines how lighting will look in different parts of the layout. My Virtual Home is more oriented at novices: it isn’t difficult to master and create a complete design within an hour. It is possible to adjust latitude, longitude and time of year to add realistic lighting effects to the virtual environment.

my virtual home interface free architectural design software

11. actiTIME

 
Highly visual Kanban board
  • Customizable workflow
  • Ability to collaborate with the team
  • Infinite number of customers, projects, tasks
  • Tracks an unlimited amount of time
  • Generates insightful reports and charts
  • Paid subscription option
  • Non-specialized software

actiTIME is a user-friendly time tracking solution that works great for both individual architects and studios. It assists in tracking the time spent on various projects and lets users create simple invoices for the clients with a detailed breakdown of the work performed as a contractor.

Reliable reports will help users evaluate how effective is the team, assess the profitability of projects and determine the most time-consuming tasks and actions.

The service is reliable, well integrated into the business process, and helps focus on the business rather than on technology. actiTIME was extremely easy to install and configure according to the needs of the business and proceed straight to production. You will definitely notice positive changes in the workflow.

actitime interface free architectural design software
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