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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #12 (November 20, 2006)

Creating Walls with Complex Profiles in Archicad 10

Jim Mahoney
Director of Technology, Integrated CADD Services

Archicad 10 allows you to make complex shapes for Walls, Columns, and Beams. In this exercise, we will create a foundation wall consisting of the stem wall and footing, including the keyway.

Using the Profile Manager

If you create a few typical wall, column, and beam profiles in your Archicad startup template, this one time operation allows you to use these items in all of your projects.

1. In the Design menu, select Complex Profiles and then Profile Manager… from the sub-menu.

2. The Profile Manager dialog will come up along with an empty Profile Editor window.

3. Draw the desired profile using Archicad's Fill Tool. The line types and pens you use will be used for the profile when you draw it using the Wall Tool.

4. Use a different fill for the footing and the stem wall. Archicad will remove the line between the two fills if they are the same. In this case, I used a fill called "Concrete Structural" and a copy of that fill called "Concrete Structural 2."

5. Note the position of the wall fills relative to Archicad's User Origin. The walls' origin in plan will be where the User Origin of the profile is set. You cannot relocate the User Origin in this window. I simply dragged the fill to align the face of the stem wall with the User Origin (circled in red).

6. Profiles have essentially five layers for your use.

  • The Construction Layer is where the profile is drawn using the Fill Tool.
  • The Drafting Layer is for temporary items and guidelines that will not be part of the profile.
  • The Horizontal Stretch range is the portion of the wall that will change in height when you edit the wall height and deviate from the default height.

  • The Vertical Stretch range is the portion of the wall that will change in width when you edit the wall width and deviate from the default width.

  • The Opening Reference is the portion of the wall that will accept openings and sets the angle the openings will be set to. For this wall, I placed the opening reference line on the face of the stem wall, running from the top of the footing to the top of the wall. Windows will be inserted only on this portion of the wall. The image below has the Construction Layer turned off so you can see the Opening Reference Lines.

7. The finished version below shows the Horizontal and Vertical Stretch ranges set as desired. The stem wall will only change in height and a change in width will change the width of the stem wall. The footing will maintain a 6" overhang.

8. Next, the two fills used to create the profile are selected to change the Material. In this case, I wanted to change all surfaces. So I clicked on the radio button for Uniform Side Materials and chose "Surface Concrete Medium" for all sides. You can also right-click on any face to edit that face independently of the rest of the wall.

9. Next, I selected just the footing fill and unchecked the Core Component checkbox. Now when I dimension this wall using rough dimensions, only the 12" wide stem wall and not the footing will be dimensioned.

10. Use the Use With filter in the Profile Manager dialog to specify whether this profile should be applied for walls, columns, or beams.

11. Save the profile using the Store Profile button.

Using a Complex Wall Profile

1. Open the Wall Tool and select the Complex Wall Geometry option.

2. In the STRUCTURE portion of the parameter list, select Profile and from the popup, select the desired profile.

3. There are settings on the parameter list to use Lines and Pens from the Structure's Settings. It pays to do this once when you are making your profile and simply grab these settings from your profile.

4. The Material for the end of a complex wall is set in the Model portion of the Wall Tool dialog. The rest of the materials are created when you make your profile.

5. When you have completed setting up the Wall Tool, use the OK Button to return to the Plan or 3D Window to draw your wall.

6. When you start drawing your wall, you will notice that the anchor point of the wall is the face of the stem wall where we set the User Origin.

7. You will note that the Horizontal Stretch Range, which was set above the footing, allows you to change the wall's height and the footing remains a constant height. The stem wall portion of the wall grows.

8. Sections show the interior structure of the wall, including the keyway.

9. Profiles are initially stored in the file they were created in. Archicad's Attribute Manager can be used to transfer profiles from one file to another. A convenient shortcut is to move profiles you will use often into the template file you use to start new projects.

About the Author

Jim Mahoney has been using Archicad since 1993. He currently runs all Archicad training courses for Integrated CADD Services and has an active role with the Graphisoft Reseller team, which consults to Graphisoft's tech support division. He is a seasoned Architect with experience in restaurant design, multi-family housing, office building design and medical facility design. In addition to Archicad training and support, Jim is a Senior Architect for Integrated CADD Services' sister firm, Conyngham Associates Architects, where he uses Archicad daily to produce virtual building models of the projects which he is controlling.


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