AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue
#12 (November 20, 2006)
Creating Walls with Complex Profiles in Archicad
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
from the sub-menu.
2. The Profile Manager dialog
will come up along with an empty Profile
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
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
- The Construction Layer is
where the profile is drawn using the Fill
- 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Tricks > Creating Walls with Complex Profiles
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