A 101 Guide on why Architects should use Blender for Architectural Design

Communicate your Design better with Blender

Wed Oct 19, 2022

The use of hand drawings has been a traditional way of visualizing their designs for centuries. With today's technology, architects can create design drawings and visualizations with several cutting-edge tools. 

The architecture industry uses many softwares today, but Blender is a powerhouse. It can create both 2DV representational images and 3D renderings, create models and render photorealistic renderings. And moreover, it is absolutely free as it is open-source. 

Tools and add-ons provided by Blender make the workflow more efficient and seamless. It is suitable for a wide range of professional uses in many industries, such as architecture, construction, visualization, renderings, etc. As a result, Blender is a popular choice among established professionals in the architecture field. Let's explore this further and break it down to understand the benefits of Blender for architecture!

What makes Blender a unique Software?

blender for architects by futurly

© Dimitar Pouchnikov

There are several software available that are designed to meet the specific requirements of architects. Rhino, for instance, has many features suitable for professional designers to create interactive 3D models and Lumion allows it to create quick and easy 3D renders.

It might surprise you to know that Blender also provides several helpful tools for architects to use. It includes everything an architect needs to work, from technical drawings to real-time renderings, as well as texturing, animation, and other tools to create holistic Blender 3D architectural models.

A lot of architects have been using Blender to make their designs for years now. Although it is a great tool for new learners, it is quite complex, which leads to a longer learning curve initially. With practice, this software can become one of your greatest assets to combat the fast-paced world and its unending deadlines.

How is Blender different from any other Software?

From AutoCAD for 2D and 3Ds Max for 3D models, Revit to Lumion; the journey of design drawings has been introduced with many such names over the years.

Each software has a specific purpose, either for 2D or 3D drawings, modeling or rendering. Blender on the other hand, can be used for a wide variety of tasks. It is designed to be an inertly multipurpose tool. Along with drawings, you can also edit videos and create 3D models; consider it as a one-stop-shop for all things design.

Blender also includes UV mapping, texturing, digital drawing, raster graphics editing, rigging, skinning and fluid simulation. Furthermore, it is capable of performing particle simulations, soft body simulations, sculpting, animation, match moving, motion graphics, video editing, and compositing.

Why should Architects and Designers Switch to Blender today?

blender for architects by futurly_UN Studio academy

© UH Studio Design Acedemy

A designer's work goes beyond designing and building models. As an architect, you have to go through a lot of steps. It could be conceptualizing, modeling, applying materials, or drafting tedious technical drawings.
With Blender, it is possible to create everything from simple shapes to complicated geometries seamlessly and easily. Free-form findings and modifiers combine to produce a fast as well as efficient workflow for architectural designs. Its versatility goes beyond saying to accommodate several genres and provide justice to each niche when it comes to creating a detailed design. 

“Blender's tools are a perfect mixture between the freedom to create in Maya with the inherent and very easy-to-use parametricism that can achieve results like Grasshopper while preserving some of the precision that people may be used to from Rhino and Sketchup.” quotes Dimitar Pouchnikov, UH Studio Academy, UK.
The range of tools it offers makes it an ideal tool for architectural drawings, parametric modeling, and 3D modeling. Moreover, its workflow simplifies the process of designing an architectural project.
Blender allows users to import geometry from Rhino, Sketchup, Revit, and other applications, or model directly within the application. This software suite is perfect for architectural design concept modeling, with excellent real-time (Eevee) and raytracing (Cycles) rendering engines.

Blender makes it possible to visualize detailed ideas. And unlike popular belief, learning blender is not as hard as it looks. A few tactile insights on using this software can level up your work.

How is Blender useful to Design Studios and Professionals?

This software is becoming extremely popular among architectural firms and studios. A lot of architectural design involves sketching and refining ideas as you go. It is easier to do this with Blender.
The software can be used to create technical drawings also. Technical drawings are usually created using CAD software, but you can also create them using Blender's FreeStyle feature. The design drawing match the one from AutoCAD or Revit.

Most of the other softwares cannot match Blender's speed and functionality to model for the early stages of the design development process. Dimitar Pouchnikov, UH Studio Academy on using Blender as a tool for his design studio quotes, “I also work on developing designs, or parts of the design if it is a larger project, for example, facades. When working with intricate facade geometry that may be difficult to penalize, I use Blender’s tools to assist as it makes subdividing complex geometry quite easy.”

The role of visualization in conceptualizing ideas cannot be overstated. Blender is a useful tool when it comes to visualizing your designs.

10 Features of Blender that make it Popular

blender 3d architecture -

© Blender 3d Architect

1. Free to use

Blender's biggest advantage is that it is free! It is the only software available that offers so many features for free.

2. User-friendly interface

A Blender toolbox offers a wide range of tools for creating anything from simple to complex objects. Its basic functions are surprisingly easy to understand. These functions are probably all you'll need as a professional architect or a budding designer to the field.

3. Open source software

Blender does not require a login, and you don't have to register any details when you download it. Simply download and launch the software in your operating system to begin using it.

4. Supports Entire Pipeline

A pipeline can be used to create stunning images, architectural models, and printable models, to name a few. Modeling, sculpting, UV Mapping, texturing, lighting, animation, and rendering are just a few of the core functions of the software.

5. Rendering Options

Blender has two powerful rendering options, Eevee and Cycles. The ability to render in the same program without exporting to another program saves a great deal of time.

6. Edit Mode Toolset

Blender offers two modes for working with geometric objects: ObjectMode and EditMode. There is robust mesh editing capability that includes those found in Maya, 3ds Max, and Cinema 4D - loop cuts, slide loops, bridges, pokes, and insets.

7. Modifiers

Using the modifiers in Blender saves a lot of time and creates inherent parametricism. Array, mirror, curve deform, and boolean are some useful modifiers. The use of modifiers and booleans for creating objects allows for a non-destructive workflow.

8. Geometry Nodes

Blender has recently introduced this feature, which has become essential. Geometry nodes can be utilized for scattering, parametric forming, and a variety of other tasks. In the context of architectural design, geonodes, similar to Grasshopper, are useful because they keep Blender's workflow non-destructive.

9. Plugins

Blender has many plugins available, most of which are free, but some are excellent paid ones as well. There is a wide range of community addons available that extend the software's basic functionality. Due to the fact that all addons are GPL open source, their code can be re-used and improved further.

10. Community Support

Among Blender's most underrated features is its community of users who support the program in several helpful ways. In addition to constantly improving the software, they also offer tutorials, lessons, and helpful tips for newcomers. Questions can be posted on blenderartists.org or blender.stackexchange.com.

Make your Blender Work Wonders

There is no doubt that Blender is a great tool for architects. Due to its diverse tools, it is ideal for parametric and 3D design approaches while also to create basic architectural drawings across various stages. With Blender, you can create architectural designs efficiently and effortlessly. A lot more can be done with Blender. It pushes many architects to their creative limits and allows them to think beyond the box. 

Blender for Architects by Dimitar Pouchnikov (Director, UH Studio Academy, United Kingdom) teaches you how to use Blender for architectural design using modifiers to create architectural drawings, quick and procedural models, as well as how to work with subdivision geometry and creases. The course will also cover how to apply materials and render with Blender Cycles. It is designed both for beginners and intermediate users.

You can upskill in the AEC industry and find a community on Futurly+, a premier learning platform focused on designers and architects. At Futurly, we strive to provide the best education to our readers.
Get equipped with the most popular and valuable software to take your career to the next level. Stay on top of your game by upgrading your skills, find out more at https://www.futurly.com/s/store/courses/description/blender-architecture.

Ar. Saili Sawantt

Saili Sawantt
An Architect + Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural writer & brand storyteller where she has collaborated with firms, studios, organizations, luxury brands, events & educational institutions to communicate in the real estate & travel industry. Her recent initiatives include curating an online workshop on communication and networking within the AEC industry. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles while also being an avid reader and traveler.