Blender and Architecture : a small ray of hope

Read this post on bf-committers :

The part which begins with :

Now to something different. The Department of Architecture in
Innsbruck has shown interest in switching to Blender for their design

is what’s giving me just a little bit of hope.


yes! yes! yes! Great!!! i’m really excited about this!
…gotta move to innsbruck…

I just don’t understand what stops you guy from using Blender for architectural visualization?
There are various usefull scripts (caliper, BMAE) and even Blental (Blender2Mentalray). It’s more than enough. Get QCad, draft floor plan, get it back to Blender via DXF, model and render.
I don’t see any problem. Do you?

Money sir, money.

Someone who just can’t afford the initial expense of Solidworks, AAD and Max and have lots of time and no regard for return on investment may use Blender.

OTOH, someone who aims for efficency and rentability can’t.
The difficulty to input real measuments on the objects we create, the abscence of NURBS, workaround DXF import…

If you read the post carefully you must have understood that even the most collaborative spirit among professionnal agrees.


Can you afford Blender? Can you afford QCad ($25)?
For the first projects you can use Blender and QCad and work around for DXF.
Get paid, save money, buy SketchUp. $500 is nothing if you make money off it. At my place alot of architects use SketchUp for residential projects (especially for one/two story houses).
With this script:
you can enter actual standart or metric units.

And seriously, Blender, MAX, etc. are good for visualization. Not for engineering. And t will never be other way. CAD systems are for serious architectural stuff.

Mind you, that’s not “plain” architectural visualization we’re talking about here. The idea is to allow parametric input, have a working and robust NURBS implementation (NURBS models are used by architects to carve out solid models, for example) and a bunch of other features that architects can use during prototyping.

Let’s not be ignorant specialized topics – architects don’t have time to scout the web for scripts or troubleshoot their Python installation and whatnot. If it doesn’t work within 5 minutes, it’s seen as being worth their time. The people I talked to are prepared to put some serious resources into enabling Blender for architects. What Blender has now is not even close to being enough. It starts with the modelling tools and ends with the renderer and file format support.

For the kind of work that I am doing (millwork and residential furniture making) I can’t afford Blender but I can afford the tandem AAD/Max simply because Blender cost me more to use that what I pay for the others.

It is getting better but it need much more than two good scripts.

You have to understand that I use Blender since 2002, that I wrote a good number of tutorials, that I’ve answered countless questions and that I am passionate about it. If there was a chance that I wouldn’t put my enterprise in danger I’d use it all the time. And I will as soon as it balance with my accountant.

I don’t even get what point you are arguing. The departments of CS, Geometry, Math and Architecture are willing to invest in Blender development. Can’t people just express joy about that? Or would you rather have them spend their money and engineering resources on Maya instead?

well, nothing…

Holy moly o_O
Hats off! Awesome job!

All I am saying is if you can afford good CAD system why do you need Blender in your pipeline?
I can’t afford MAX/VIZ + AutoCAD, I use Blender + QCad.
And I am glad to hear that Blender is growing and smart people investing in it. I just can’t say I am happy, because I need all that right now, and it’s not gonna happen any time soon.

This is good news for Blender.

ShiftingClouds is right - to be used more, the speed needs to be higher - which means fewer programs used and more tools built in. General visualization is fine but messing around with extra scripts and other programs are too much bother. And things that add tools and users is good for Blender and all its users. Grow or die.

This kind of collaboration is a perfect illustration of the power of open source - the community of users working together to add functionality that is needed for specific uses.

And it illustrates how the bounty/sponsor/performer model can be a viable operational model as well. SoC might not have gotten the NURBS upgraded, but this could very well do it.

Believe me, you have my wholehearted support. Bless you good people.:slight_smile: I sincerely hope organizations like yours would multiply and contribute to the speedy development of Blender.

BTW, don’t forget to add SketchUp’s ‘push and pull’ tool in the pipeline, to say the least.:stuck_out_tongue:

push/pull is patented so probably can’t be added…


I have a cad background and I’d love to see progress in this area.
I found blender about 1 year ago and, as many others have stated, I found it to be a bit foreign to use at first but through time using it and reading everything I could find about it I feel it is actually very easy to use once you learn the hot keys. I find myself now trying to use the same blender hot keys when using autocad. I would very much like to have the ability in blender to draw lines, or any other entities for that matter, through numerical input to build objects quickly and to an accurate scale and then be able to manipulate them with the many features that blender has to build 3d models. I know this is possible to a certain extent now in blender but it isn’t very intuitive which I feel is what is needed for blender to become a viable product in the Architectural Field.

Please do develop these features in Blender. I love using blender with all its features that it has right now but if it could become a little more Architecturally friendly I don’t think everyone really understands how much Blender would take off as a Modeling Solution for the Architectural Industry.
Just my thoughts.
Anyone else feel the same way?


One of the main reasons the Department or Architecture is considering it is because right now they are usig Maya — and Maya got bought by Autodesk. There’s uncertainity whether Autodesk will even keep developing it (I think they will) or what the pricing will be (most of the students would rather have less cost with the software, even though student picing is extremely competitive) and that’s something you don’t have with Open Source.

Also while a good CAD system is what the architects end up using for the final work anyway, the experimental branch of the Dept. of Arch. - - wants something more interactive and easier to prototype in. Blender seems perfect for that.


I’d recommend contacting as many architecture, arts, and engineering departments as possible both in europe and in the US with the proposal. Line out the existing technology (ie links to blender, the libraries available, the work done) estimated cost, cost savings, etc. and current examples of work done in Blender, what enhancements are planned/needed and see if they would be interested in contributing as well. Also contact non profit art and architecture institutes.


Hm, something I haven’t yet considered, but will do. I guess the people at the University here have a lot of contacts already, so it should be possible to find even more interested parties.

You obviously have not done architectural viz professionally. Here is the scenario: Client sends me a dwg file containing the drawings of a building. He needs 2 or 3 views in 3 days time. If you were using something like Max, it is simple:

  1. Import the dwg, build the model off the 2d drawings. Send him some previews and make necessary adjustments / changes to design.
  2. Add materials - more previews with maybe some adjustments.
  3. Final render and post pro.
  4. Job done - get paid.
    Now try to do this with Blender:
  5. Spend a day importing dxf
  6. If you were lucky and got the dxf in, you could now proceed to build the model. Pray that there are no adjustments or design changes, since you are now behind schedule! If there are design changes, you pretty f*cked, since you have no way of measuring…
  7. Now you can stop wasting time on the job, since you could not finish it in time.
  8. Client very pissed off, cause he had to go to a presentation empty handed and lost a good project for his business.
  9. He tells all his friends about how you screwed him and you stop receiving more projects from anyone.
  10. Now, you are unemployed…
    Anyway, the reason most people, like myself, want to use Blender, is not because its free. It is because it is open-source. Open-source is about much more than just free software. It is free as in “freedom”.

Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, has since two years Blender in the pc-pool (>200 pc & mac) …