ARCHICAD 20 Review – ‘architect-tailored to the bone’

The aim of ARCHICAD 20 by GRAPHISOFT® is to enhance architects’ BIM experience and improve the way information can be viewed or shared among project members. The latest version of ARCHICAD® therefore helps architects work more efficiently and ultimately speeds up the design process.

So what improvements make ARCHICAD 20 the perfect tool for the modern architect’s office?

ArchiCAD 20 and BIM Level 2

The industry is acutely aware of the requirements of BIM Level 2. The key to BIM Level 2 is collaboration in the 3D environment, and the latest version of ARCHICAD makes this easy by:

  • Increasing the amount of information that can be included in the Building Model
  • Centrally locating the information for ease of sharing with project members (the latest version of IFC – IFC4)
  • Allowing several different ways of viewing BIM information

ArchiCAD 20 and OPEN BIM

OPEN BIM, using the open buildingSMART Data Model and incorporating both IFC4 and BIM Collaboration Formats, allows project members to collaborate regardless of the software they are using.

IFC4, although available since early 2013, has not yet been implemented in any other software applications. IFC4 provides greater flexibility when coordinating with other building design software, for example, it:

  • enables 4D and 5D model exchanges
  • permits BIM to GIS interoperability
  • provides new coordination workflows (Reference View and Design Transfer View)


Although COBie is designed for non-CAD users and has long-term application, it does not take into account emerging trends within the industry. ARCHICAD incorporates state-of-the-art 3D modelling techniques and better viewing capacity, whilst still ensuring that COBie formatted information is available.

ARCHICAD is, of course, 100% COBie compliant.

ARCHICAD 20 updated element settings

ARCHICAD 20 and non-CAD Formats

With ARCHICAD 20, architects are able to store and maintain more than just building information in the BIM. Non-CAD developed information can be added to the BIM model, and the latest software revision has the ability to import data from spreadsheets into building elements’ properties.

ARCHICAD 20 and Real-Time Editing

The new version of ARCHICAD facilitates real-time editing, making coordination, communication and model checking more efficient.

These properties, along with other element parameters, can be used to override the display of the model and related drawings. For example, building elements can be highlighted based on their fire rating, construction phrase, load-bearing properties etc. These overrides can also be included in exported drawings and IFC files, and viewed in BIMx, the mobile communication tool for iOS and Android.

ARCHICAD 20 and CineRender

The design software incorporates CineRender, which is based on the Cinema 4D R16 engine.

Its improved surface settings:

  • reduce render times
  • create more realistic surfaces

ARCHICAD 20 Workspace Improvements

A Cleaner Workspace

Only those functions most widely used by architects are displayed on ARCHICAD 20’S workspace. Whilst every part of the model, each drawing and schedule can be accessed via tab-based navigation and the Quick Options functions, this interface, which Graphisoft believes is ‘architect-tailored to the bone’, now provides a much clearer (and larger) workspace for increased creativity.

Faster Access to Favourite Elements

Frequently used elements can now be accessed even faster. Based on the architect’s design history, ARCHICAD 20 stores saved element settings as Favourites, which are then displayed as coloured 2D or 3D thumbnail previews. These Favourites can be used to create new elements, or be applied to existing elements at any time.

ArchiCAD 20 3D model

Favourite elements can also be exported to other team members to ensure design consistency.

All this, along with a whole host of new items, such as new door and window styles, graphic previews of any construction element and improved search options, ARCHICAD 20 offers the most complete, but at the same time, user-friendly design suite available to architects.

For more information contact Applecore Designs here or on 0121 447 7747. Or click here for a free ARCHICAD 20 trial.