The Only Architecture Software Best for Commercial Buildings

The Only Architecture Software Best for Commercial Buildings

When you look at the most iconic buildings on the globe, such as Eiffel Towers in Paris, or the Empire State Building in New York, what comes into your mind?

February 10, 2022

When you look at the most iconic buildings on the globe, such as Eiffel Towers in Paris, Big Ben in London, or the Empire State Building in New York, what comes into your mind? Most building designers will want to also work on such magnificent projects or even better. Now we have some good news for you: developing better building designs is a lot easier with the right building design programs. Keep reading as we identify the only architecture software best for commercial buildings.

A Closer Look at the Process of Commercial Building Development 

The process of designing a commercial building resembles that of a residential facility but differs in complexity and size. As an architect, the process involves designing facilities such as offices, hotels, shopping malls, factories, and hospitals. If the building is a skyscraper, its design and construction will be a lot more complex.

When contracted by a client to create a design of a commercial building, the process involves materializing commercial buildings and requires a lot of research on the project. However, more steps will be required before the construction of the commercial building can commence. Here are the main steps involved in the design and construction of a commercial building project.

i) Planning.

ii) Designing.

iii) Pre-construction.

iv) Procurement.

v) Construction-phase.

vi) Post-construction phase.

The process of commercial building design comes in the first and second phases of the project. Once a client has decided on the location of the project, he/she will bring onboard an architect so that the building design process can commence. This is where you come in as an architect, and it is crucial to have the best building design software. So, which CAD or BIM modeling program do you use to create the commercial building design?

Architecture Software Best for Commercial Building

Now that you know the process of designing and constructing a commercial building, let’s identify the top five programs architects should consider:


AutoCAD is one of the most popular building design programs for architects on the market today. It was designed by Autodesk in 1982 and works perfectly for engineering, residential, and commercial projects. Most architects use AutoCAD to create top-quality 2D drawings, and you will find it outstanding, especially for creating elevations, sections, and floor plans. You can also use it to create unique façade designs for commercial buildings.

With AutoCAD software, you can craft commercial building designs rapidly because it comes with a wide range of objects, such as windows, doors, decks, roofing, and lighting. Further, you get advanced tools for supporting most types of building designs. For example, you can convert 2D drawings into 3D objects that come with mesh objects, solids, surfaces, and lighting for better realistic rendering.

Unlike some commercial building design applications out there, AutoCAD works almost with all devices. This is because it is one of the pioneer and best CAD building design apps out there. For example, you can use AutoCAD with Windows, Linux, and macOS. Even the files you create with the AutoCAD program will be compatible with other design apps, such as Revit and ArchiCAD.

Digital Blue Foam

Digital Blue Foam is the newest kid on the block in architecture softwares. DBF software has been created by domain experts having extensive experience in the fields on architecture and computational design. The latest version boasts of the following features:

- Intelligent 3D sketching in the browser
- Urban Insights analysis for 15 minute city design
- Advanced Generative Typologies
- Realtime tenancy automation and metrics
- LIVE Sync to your favorite BIM software with DBF hub.


This program was released in 2000 for architects, and it was aimed to make the process of building design easy. The app supports BIM workflows and assists designers and architects in tracking all stages of commercial building construction projects. In 2002, Revit was bought by Autodesk, which enriched it with additional features, such as a capability for team members from different disciplines to cooperate in building design and construction. So, if you have experts in electrical, concrete, plumbing, and accounting, they can all work together by accessing the same database.

Instead of simply working with lines, Revit allows you to create architectural models with objects, such as beams, roofs, doors, windows, and roofs. Again, changes to the models that you make are updated automatically in all the plans, views, and elevations. Now, let’s turn to the best part: you can also create your own library of the objects that you use regularly. This means that with Revit, you will not need to create similar models when working on related projects or parts of your project. Simply fetch them from the library with only a few clicks.


CATIA is one of the leading engineering BIM apps for architecture created by Dassault Systemes. However, it also works well for architects working on and home projects. Most architects, especially beginners in commercial building design, prefer CATIA because it has an intuitive user interface and is pretty simple to use. From making assemblies to renderings, you can learn how the program works fast and start creating professional building designs.

CATIA allows you to create or import 2D designs and transform them into 3D models. Dassault Systemes did not stop there. They developed the program further and you can now use it to geo-locate the commercial building project, and even manage the construction process. To make budgeting easy, CATIA helps architects to prepare the bill of materials from the models they create.

If you are working with a team for the commercial building design or during its construction, CATIA will be a perfect pick for collaboration. You will also like their 30-day free trial period to test most of the features. However, you will need to exit the free plan and acquire paid versions to access more features for your architectural work.


This is another pioneer CAD program for architecture that was first developed back in 1982 for architects, but this should not make you think it is outdated. Over the years, the program has been updated and now features some of the best tools you would want to see in a premium building design app. For example, it allows you to work in both 3D, 2D and further supports BIM to allow sharing of databases among the project team.

Like Revit, ArchiCAD works effectively for urban planners, designers, and interior designers. Another outstanding aspect of ArchiCAD is that it comes with real constructed elements, such as façade and beam elements for architects to use.

ArchiCAD works excellently with Windows and Mac operating systems. If you prefer testing applications and their features, ArchiCAD comes with a 30-day free trial. Graphisoft also has outstanding support that you can work with to understand how the program works.

When designing a commercial building, it is prudent to start by understanding the client’s objective and ensure you deliver the best. Also, factor in the city planning requirements for  architectural designs and desire for green workplaces. Then, use any of the architecture software best for commercial projects discussed in this post to do the job.

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