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Best Design Software for Architects

An architect’s job is not exactly easy. There is a lot to take into account and a lot of pressure. Earlier architects used to face many challenges while working on a project. They used to produce all their drawings, documents, and models by hand. The process was slow and painstaking, and making an error would often mean having to start the whole task all over again. 

Clients expect to see more than concept drawings and blueprints. They want to see virtual representations that offer more detail. Today, technology has made things a lot easier by introducing architecture design software that can be used to produce 2D and 3D drawings to a very high degree of accuracy. Architecture design software has made the design process faster. The software also assists in visualizing how a property will look after construction. With 3D modeling , you can design interiors and populate your buildings. 

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List of Best Design Software for Architects

1. SketchUp:

SketchUp is  a  3D modeling software that’s easy to learn and incredibly fun to use. Today, hundreds of thousands of architects, engineers, contractors, woodworkers, artists, and other creatives use this architecture software  to design everything from transit centers to tree-houses and everything in between. Some of its built-in features include lighting effects, textures, a layer manager, and animations. 

SketchUp is remarkably accurate, so you can be sure that anyone working on the project will have the information they need to get the job done. This software is designed to behave like your hand – more like a pencil than complicated 3D modeling software.


  • Layout functionality
  • Quick sketching with measurements
  • Rich modeling tools available
  • Free training courses


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to position objects correctly

Pricing- Pricing starts at $119 per year.

2. Cedreo:

Cedreo is a 3D home design software for architects, home builders, contractors, remodelers, real estate agents and interior designers. It allows you to create a complete conceptual design presentation in just 2 hours including 2D and 3D floor plans and interior and exterior photorealistic 3D renderings. Users can create stunning photorealistic 3D renderings to help their clients envision the project before it is built, facilitate communication and sell faster.

One of the main features of Cedreo is its project tracking and client list management capabilities. The software comes with an integrated project manager with a full search function, which allows users to filter results according to client names.


  • Interior and exterior Photorealistic 3D renderings
  • Quick and easy learning curative
  • Remodeling tools for all types of projects


  • Not fully customizable
  • Difficult to navigate
  • Cannot be accessed on mobile

Pricing- Pricing starts at $99  per project.

3. Revit:

Revit is an economical yet powerful solution for a varied team of architects, engineers, and construction professionals. The software allows you to communicate and express your ideas effectively to your colleagues and project owners. Revit facilitates collaboration and communication between teams with work sharing tools which allow users to share work and projects with other teams, work on them at the same time, make notes and annotations on designs, and more.


  • Supports multiple project contributors
  • Includes Parametric components
  • Provides centralized data that avoids repetition of work


  • Complicated for beginners
  • Difficult for interior designing

Pricing- Pricing starts at $335 per month.

4. FloorPlanner:

FloorPlanner is an architecture management software that helps businesses in retail, education, real estate, manufacturing, and other sectors design the layout for different properties using built-in 3D assets. Interior designers can also create and share photorealistic images and 3D virtual tours with colleagues on a centralized dashboard. Users can easily switch between 2D and 3D to see how the changes would appear from real situations.


  • User friendly interface
  • Free version is also available
  • Works on all platforms
  • Good for complicated projects


  • Not possible to create scaled drawings
  • Complicated pricing model
  • Limited export options

Pricing- Pricing starts at $5 per month with 4 credits.

5. Rhino:

Rhino is an  accurate 3D modeling tool that allows for free-moving design, maintaining the accuracy of all elements and measurements. It can be used as an additional drawing tool when combined with other design, CAM, drafting, rendering, illustration and animation software. Rhino 7 preserves the accuracy and complexity of engineering software blueprints, which means that it can also be used for in-depth and accurate analysis. This software is used by architects, engineers and animators. 


  • East-to-use import tools
  • Affordable pricing
  • Powerful model editor


  • Difficult to change  texture on models
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) functionality is an add-on.

Pricing-  It can be purchased for a  one-time cost of $995.

6. VectorWorks:

VectorWorks  is a one-platform solution for designers to build data-rich, visual models without sacrificing the design process, while collaborating with on- and offsite teams throughout the project lifecycle. The design software allows you to easily collaborate and share files with colleagues, consultants and clients. You can even create an immersive presentation experience with cutting-edge technology like virtual and augmented reality.


  • Customizable
  • Comprehensive features
  • 30 days free trial available


  • Requires complex learning
  • Takes a lot of processing and storage memory

Pricing- Pricing starts at $153 per month.

7. Chief Architect:

Chief Architect was created in 1992 for the professional Home Design Software market and was the first object-based 3D CAD system with smart object design principles, known as Building Information Modeling (BIM). It is the market leading home design software product for residential design. Chief Architect Software is a leading developer and publisher of 3D Architectural home design software for builders, designers and architects.


  • Very accurate model data
  • Great customer support
  • Automatic 3D Modelling


  • Slow rendering
  • Involves a complex, multistep process that makes it difficult to use.

Pricing- Pricing starts at $199 per month.

8. MicroStation:

MicroStation is a 3D architecture software that helps architects create and visualize 2D drawings and 3D computer-aided designs. The platform enables creators to build models using various parametric designing tools including mesh, surface, and solid modeling. MicroStation lets businesses use photorealistic models or content to produce animations and preview them on a unified interface. Operators can also collaborate with team members on various designs and track changes in a centralized dashboard.


  • Accurate 2D and 3D printing
  • The software has most intriguing features
  • Wide range of modelling tools


  • Comparatively expensive
  • The user interface is not very user-friendly

Pricing- Pricing starts at $250 per month.

9. Sweet Home 3D:

Sweet Home 3D is an open-source interior designing solution that helps businesses create floor plans, make annotations, generate photorealistic images, and import home blueprints, among other processes. It enables designers to draw straight, sloping, and round walls with precise dimensions and insert doors and windows using a drag-and-drop interface. Designers can create 2D home designs and use the aerial point of view tool to generate corresponding 3D designs.


  • Customizable templates
  • It enables users to annotate the plan with room areas and dimension lines
  • Free trial available


  • User interface needs improvement
  • An upgraded version can only be enhanced using a variety of plug-ins.

Pricing- Pricing starts at $14.99 per month.

10. CATIA:

CATIA is a cloud-based and on-premise product modeling software, which helps businesses across various industry verticals, such as architecture, aviation, consumer packaged goods, transportation, and construction, design, build, and visualize 3D models. Features include team collaboration, simulation, visual scripting, and real-time concurrent designing. 

CATIA allows architects  to modify and validate projects based on planning specifications or client requirements and perform daylighting simulation and shadow duration analysis.


  • Very accurate model data
  • Effective tool to create complex geometries and large assemblies
  • Huge complexity of the model


  • Very Expensive
  • Difficult to navigate

Pricing- Pricing starts at $4,500 per year.


We have compiled a list of 10 Best Design Software for Architects based on user reviews, features and pricing. If you think we have missed out on a good Architecture Design Software company, feel free to let us know.

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