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10 Awesome Apps for Architects!

December 11, 2013

According to statistics, the number of smartphones, tablets and Apps in use will soon pass the number of PCs.

This phenomenon, seems to be due to a one and only scientific cause: pure awesomeness!

They allow you to chat, navigate Facebook, shoot selfies and play Candy Crush no matter what, where or when!
For those of you who conceive smartphones and tablets as work tools, and have already started hitting the screen, thinking who the hell gave me the keys of this magazine, take it easy: all I said was pure sarcasm.

Thank god smartphones apps are not just about gaming, snooping in other people’s stuff or taking selfies: that’s why we’ve been browsing the internet, skimmed through the main app stores and came up with a list of the top 10 apps for architects. Enjoy!

10 Adobe Photoshop Express (iOS/Android)*

Adobe Photoshop Express gives you fun, easy and fast on-the-go photo editing. It allows you to easily editing pictures and renders with automatic fixes and filters and an extremely user friendly interface. It may not be the app of the year, but it works, and it’s free!

Photosynth (iOS/Windows)

Bored of flat panoramas? Photosynth holds the answer. This app allows you to take 360degree (up, down, left and right) panoramic pictures of any place; the bigger the space the better it is, user’s experience is affected with small places. Both for fun and for work – I’ve personally used it at the Grand Canyon!



8 Steel (iOS/Android)

This app is for real pros: it brings decades’ worth of steel shapes data at your fingertips! Steel contains the latest (v14.1), previous (ASD 5-9, LRFD 1-3, v13, v14) and HISTORIC American Institute of Steel construction’s Structural Steel Databases in a fast, easy to use interface. Every single structural shape property contained in the AISC database is featured, including geometrical and mechanical properties, design and detailing values, conversion between imperial / metric & section’s equivalent designation in the metric system. All you need, in one single hand!

AutoCad 360, formerly AutoCAD WS (iOS/Android)

AutoCAD 360 is the official AutoCAD® mobile app. It’s a free, user-friendly drawing and drafting mobile app that allows you to view, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings—anytime, anywhere, simplifying site visits and fieldwork with design review and markup tools—available online and offline. AutoCAD 360 Pro subscription plans further expand the functionality of the app, bringing additional capabilities to the field. Something you architects really can’t miss!

iRhino 3D (iOS)

iRhino 3D is just the app every designer was waiting for: all of you know how important is being able to show your designs and ideas in 3-D, on the go. This app allows you to view any Rhine 3DM file on your apple devices: panning, zooming, and rotating with a simple tap or drag of your finger. Not only user-friendly, but always connected: it allows you to load Rhino models from web sites, Google Drive, Dropbox, email attachments, or from iTunes.

Graphisoft BIMx (iOS/Android)

Winner of both 2012 and 2013 Mobile Product of the Year at the Construction Computing Awards, Graphisoft BIMx is another example of state of art app technologies. Its “BIMx Hyper-model”, a unique technology for integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation, offers users extremely smooth handling and outstanding performance even for projects with complex 3D building models and extensive 2D documentation. Architects using ArchiCAD will find that BIMx is the perfect tool to present and/or share designs with clients and contractors. Give it try!

OpenBuldings (iOS/Android)

Even if it can’t be considered a work tool, OpenBuldings still finds its place in this ranking as an app dedicated to design lovers. Basing on crowdsourcing and geolocalization systems, the app aims to keep its users constantly updated about awesome design buildings around them. To date, the database counts over 40.000 buildings of interests, both public, private, historical and modern. Just start using the “nearby” mode: you’ll be surprised by the incredible number of beautiful buildings around you.

Sketchbook (iOS/Android)

Sketchbook (designed by Autodesk) is professional-grade painting app that is easy to use for every artist. It offers you sketching freedom coupled with useful ways of exporting drawings on different canvas sizes and at different resolutions. Sketchbook transforms your device into a complete toolkit for professional artists, illustrators, and designers. Plus, it’ll save you hours spent washing colors out of your hands!

Paper (iOS)

Apple’s app of the year and awarded with the 2012 apple design award, Paper simply rocks! With different tools, blank canvas, and as many virtual sketchbooks as you want, Paper is one of the most loved mobile sketching apps. Fast, easy, and responsive. What else do I need to say?



MagicPlan (iOS/Android)

As the name itself suggests, MagicPlan is pure magic. Using the device camera and augmented reality, this app allows you to create accurate blueprints of any room in a few snaps! All you have to do is stand and picture the room’s corners: the device will do the rest of the work. Blueprints can be exported as a PDF, JPG, or DXF, or, ladies and gentlemen, you can upload them straight on CoContest and launch your contest in minutes!

Now that you’ve red it all, complete that Hungry Birds level and get back to work with this all new tools! 🙂

Author: Davide Nastasi

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