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Archicad VS Revit: Choosing a CAD software

Keep reading for an analysis of 2 CAD softwares by the Editors of GoPillar Academy!

Archicad vs Revit:

  • Architectural features
  • Rendering power
  • 3D visualization

Take a look around the room you are in now. Do you notice the corners? Windows? Electrical outlets? Have you ever stopped to think about how those objects are placed or how they were positioned? Why is the window in the bedroom where you sleep wider than the window in the kitchen?


How did a designer communicate these details to a builder? The answer: CAD software!

The term CAD software refers to a type of software program used by designers to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional models of physical components. Considering the pros and cons of Archicad VS Revit, which one should you choose?

Revit is Autodesk’s 4D building information modeling software. This powerful and intelligent tool uses a model-based process to help plan all aspects of a building project, from design to construction.

While Revit is a fantastic tool for architects, it has many components and a broad toolbox – so broad that it can even serve engineers, builders, project managers, and so on.

Designed to be used as a collaborative tool for professionals across all specialist engineering and construction disciplines, Revit is the complete package to support a construction project through its entire life cycle.

ArchiCAD is a BIM software produced by Graphisoft and designed for the same purposes as Revit. This software offers a suite of tools for building design and engineering. Additionally, it can analyze a project using the engineering and visual design of interiors, exteriors and surrounding spaces of the building.

Architectural features. Conceptual design.

Revit offers a conceptual design environment with great flexibility in the early stages of project design. This flexibility allows you to create conceptual masses and adaptive geometries that can be subsequently integrated into the BIM project environment, where you can manipulate projects into parametric components or sub-components to be used in other models. Projects can be referenced from this environment or modified within the BIM environment itself.

The concept design in ArchiCAD is simple, but has all the features you would need. Push/pull modeling, instant and customizable geometry, as well as the intelligent multiple extrusion tool help make the conceptual design phase quite intuitive.


Visualization in Archicad and Revit

Revit offers a wide range of potential visualizations from which to analyze a project. Wireframe and transparent surface views open the model, while other types of views give the user full control over shading and light.

There is hardly any view that Revit is unable to provide and each of them can be manipulated and controlled to obtain optimal views.

Although ArchiCAD has a suite of visual styles similar to Revit, it lacks Revit’s ability to customize and apply views to specific elements.

Rendering in Revit and Archicad

Revit and ArchiCAD have first-rate rendering capabilities. Both can produce photo realistic images of the exterior and interior of a project and possess an extremely wide tool suite to allow fine tuning of details.

Revit includes Raytracer in the product, but also allows users with Autodesk A360 to render in the cloud. ArchiCAD uses the CineRender function, a tool with capabilities similar to Raytracer.

N.B. Both allow for minimal alterations to light, shadow, texture, brightness, depth, diffusion and retraction – while the processes are different for each program, the results are similar.


Engineering and construction features in Archicad and Revit

Revit and ArchiCAD are both great tools for architectural design, but a construction project doesn’t end there.

Without neglecting the role of aesthetics, a very important consideration is structural integrity in every aspect of the project and compliance with all relevant construction standards.

Revit supports the multidisciplinary coordination of the design process, using intelligent models to provide an in-depth analysis of how each part of the project responds to relevant, and potentially applicable, stressors.

This quality not only simplifies the review and compliance process, but also aids in the creation of supporting documentation. By simulating stresses, structural engineers can get an accurate picture of the reinforcement requirements and thus an optimal reinforcement design.

ArchiCAD has recently equipped itself with an element classification system, perfect for classifying the data of a design project according to country and application standards. While it’s a good tool, it simply mirrors basic Revit functions. Future software updates may fix this aspect, but the current version does not have the flexibility of Revit.

MEP and Construction

The flexibility and specific capabilities of the Revit discipline extend beyond the realm of structural engineering; they include MEP engineering and construction.

Revit offers a wide suite of tools for professionals in mechanics, electricity, plumbing and construction. It includes design tools for HVAC, electrical and plumbing design, all digital products that are capable of creating complex models and layouts and generating supporting documentation.

ArchiCAD can use the MEP Modeler add-on that allows users to create and coordinate mechanical, electrical or hydraulic networks within the design of the building. The add-on is extremely easy to use for those who know ArchiCAD well and integrates perfectly with standard software.

The toolbox offers a wide range of tools for these applications, and the MEP specific object library features a vast number of common shapes with intelligent connection points and routing tools to help build complex MEP systems from scratch.


Archicad and Revit user interface

Revit has a highly customizable user interface, a feature that Autodesk has carefully implemented to support multiple approaches to using the software. Revit has a medium learning curve, but those familiar with other Autodesk products will have an advantage in this area.

The customization capabilities of the user interface offset the learning curve somewhat, as it is easier for users to shape the user interface in their favor.

The ArchiCAD user interface is often one of the first things users appreciate about the software. It is clean, elegant and offers ample screen space for a work environment. ArchiCAD also has a slightly lower learning curve, particularly for designers. Although the ArchiCAD user interface can be customized in several ways, it has slightly less flexibility than Revit.


Revit and ArchiCAD can both import and export IFC files, designed specifically to increase interoperability and workflow in BIM applications. Lastly, both software programs are capable of importing and exporting all common file types relevant to building design; including 3D models, 2D drawings and other types of CAD files.BIM

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