Top 13 Best Free Architectural Design Software for Architects

Are you looking for the best architecture software for Mac or Windows 10 PC? Here’s the list of top 13 best free architectural design software for architects.

AutoCAD is the market leader when it comes to the architectural design software industry, but are you bored with it? Do you want to try a new architectural design software and jazz up your practice? Perhaps you are an architecture student who doesn’t want to spend large amounts of dough on a paid software and are looking for a free architecture design software. We have you covered.

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In this article, we will take a look at the top 13 best free architectural design software for architects which also double as 3D house design software. So join us on this journey and hopefully by the end you would have found the best architecture design software to fit your specific needs.

Top 13 Best Free Architectural Design Software for Architects

Free architecture design software and 3D house design software are useful in more than one way. If you are a new landowner who’s looking to design a rudimentary floor plan for your house or just want to see how simple repositioning of current furniture would look in your current home then these 3D architectural design software do come in pretty much handy.

So, now without any further ado, let’s check out the list of top 13 best free architecture software for architects and laymen to use. Here we go:

SketchUp (Free)

SketchUp quickly rose to popularity thanks to an acquisition from Google which made SketchUp a great choice among architects. Google, has since sold the software company. This doesn’t stop SketchUp from being our number 1 recommendation.

Now, I know a lot of you will be disappointed to see it here, but hear me out. The software boasts of some of the best extensions you can find in the market and the free version of SketchUp combined with the free versions of these extensions make for an exceptional and more importantly a functional free architecture design software.

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Yes, the software overall is a bit clunky and doesn’t recognize unique shapes easily but it is a great tool for beginners since it is so easy to use. Try it out before you dismiss it.

Dynamo (Free)

If you lean more towards the technical side of things and enjoy a bit of programming then Dynamo may be what you have been looking for. All the design in Dynamo architecture software is generated based on the sets of parameters you program in this 3D house design software but don’t worry you don’t need to write any code yourself. This free architectural design software for architects comes with a GUI which helps you combine multiple nodes to create the final code and the drag and drop UI is fairly easy to use but certainly hard to master.

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The driving force behind the Dynamo architecture design software is AutoDesk but since Dynamo is published under open-source licenses you don’t need to worry about any interferences. You can choose between the free version and the commercial version and download whichever suits your needs.

FreeCAD Arch (Free)

Do you wish to design crazy looking buildings like Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies Van der Rohe? Would a free architecture design software that allows you to design crazy shapes help you design the building of your dream? Well, FreeCAD Arch does just that. You can design real-life objects of any size in whatever shape your heart desires thus setting you free from the constraints of stereotypical shapes.

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This free architectural design software for Windows 10 and Mac is based on parametric design philosophy and helps you dial in exact shapes and sizes based on your desired parameters. This also enables you to go back once a design is rendered to make small changes if you choose to do so.

FreeCAD Arch software for 3d house design and architectural design is still in development so it does suffer from some issues but they shall be rectified with updates that come out regularly. Check out this amazing software using the given link.

B-processor (Free)

The B-processor architectural design software is designed by professors and actual architects at the Arhus School of Architecture of Denmark in collaboration with the Alexandra Institute which ensures that this 3D architectural design software is easy to use even for newbie architects and students alike.

This free architecture software and home design software is designed from the ground up with architects in mind which ensures that the whole industry can work on an open platform that they can modify according to their needs and contribute towards as a whole to improve the current standards.

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In addition to all these things, B-processor free architecture design software also allows you to calculate quantities and the associated costs while also allowing you to run energy efficiency simulations. Pretty neat right?

Revit Architecture (Free Educational License)

Revit Architecture software, widely loved and accepted by the community mainly because Revit is an all in one collaborative tool that allows architects to work with electrical, mechanical, and structural design teams so that the overall structure is coherent and the workflow smooth.

This powerful architectural design software is backed by Autodesk which has built the software in such a way that you can easily design structures based on certain parameters. Autodesk being the backer for Revit Architecture design software, also ensures that both of these programs and extensions thereof also integrate well with each other which also makes Revit a compelling offering.

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When it comes to the pricing, this best architectural design software for beginners and specialists is completely free to use for 3 years if you are a student or an educator and if you are not then you can avail the free month of service which Revit Architecture software offers to commercial users.

AutoCAD Architecture (Free for Students)

AutoCAD Architecture software is the industry leader, whether you like it or not. AutoCAD was first introduced back in 1982 and has been loved by many, hated by some but respected by all since its inception. It is the best architecture design software and boasts of nearly any feature any architect can think of.

This popular and best architectural design software is powered by Autodesk which ensures that all the products of Autodesk are fairly compatible with each other and AutoCAD Architecture software is no exception. This 3D architectural design software allows you to use templates to quickly design walls, Windows or doors which act as if they would in real life in the simulations.

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There is also a vast library of components that you can simply retrofit into your design. Similar to other Autodesk products, AutoCAD Architecture offers free 3 year licenses to people in the field of education and a free one month trial for everyone else.

ArchiCAD (Free)

ArchiCAD, as the name suggests, is a free architectural design software and 3D house design software which is designed with architects and interior designers in mind. ArchiCAD has a library of assets both in 2D and in 3D which you can use as standard parameters to design your building.

The key USP of ArchiCAD architectural design software is its ability to allow multiple people to work on the same project and refine it instead of waiting for the files to be passed on. ArchiCAD architectural design software free download is widely appreciated in Universities and commercial offices alike since it is easy to use.

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This free architectural design software for Mac and Windows OS allows you to produce simple and realistic looking renders with materials and shadows in them. If 4D renders is what you need, ArchiCAD can also produce those with the help of an Add-on.

TAD (The Architect’s Desktop) (Free)

The Architect’s Desktop (TAD), as the name suggests is a holistic tool that allows users to take their creations from concept sketches and basic designs to final products with the help of built-in tools. The architecture software originates in an Indian architecture office in the early ’90s and was designed primarily for architects who didn’t want to involve themselves in the engineering side of things.

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TAD is a great tool for the senior architects who prefer to have a rough sketch as an outline instead of having every nut and bolt drawn for them in software. The software is currently closed source but still free to use and the next updates are said to make the whole software open source so others who aren’t part of the community can also develop add-ons for the software.

Various latest and standard features one expects from these 3D house design software and best free architectural design software for architects are also present with this tool.

MicroStation (Free Educational License)

MicroStation, developed by Bentley Systems Inc. (No, Not the Car Makers. Unfortunately) is a holistic BIM software that allows architects as well as engineers to collaborate and work in the same software environment. MicroStation software for architecture and engineering makes it easier for large teams to review changes and make any appropriate tweaks as necessary since the whole team can work on a single project at once and don’t need to use multiple different applications.

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This popular 3D architectural design software allows you to model any geometric shape of your choice and modify the size and shape of it by simply changing the parameters of the shape. This feature allows you to reuse any of your previous designs and change them to suit the needs of your current project.

The software offers a free trial of 14 days post which the license cost is about $5000. Students can avail of a license for free by visiting the given link. In short, MicroStation is one of those best architectural design programs that every architect should use.

BricsCAD BIM (Free Educational License)

A highly advanced BIM, BricsCAD is a 3D architectural design software that helps you design photorealistic and information-rich digital representation of structures like building that can be used for testing and simulation purposes. The plethora of well thought out and sophisticated tools in the software enables the users to create complex designs and structures with relative ease.

This architectural design software, similar to most others, uses the parametric model where you can change the design by simply changing the parameters to suit your needs. The structure tool also helps identify liner solids and transform them into structural elements which is helpful for the engineering teams.

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BricsCAD architecture software also has versions compatible with macOS and Linux along with Windows operating systems, so the whole office can collaborate with ease. The projects are stored on the cloud so you can easily pick up from where someone else left it last time. The lifetime license cost of BricsCAD is about $2500. Per usual, students get free to use licenses.

DesignWorkshop Lite (Free)

If a simple 3D architectural design software is what you are looking for to plan your own house or building then DesignWorkshop Lite may be the perfect option for you. This 3D house design software allows you to get realistic models of houses, floor plans, and landscapes which help you get a feel for the design. You also have the option to do a virtual walkthrough of your design for a more in-depth feel.

You can manipulate the elevation or understand the projections with easy or lengthen any element as you see fit without a lot of hassle. If you enjoy drawing with hand then you can use the virtual pencil to make freehand designs as well.

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Ideally, DesignWorkshop Lite architecture software is for beginners who are just getting into the work of architectural design or for homeowners who are looking to design their house their own unique way. Oh, did I mention? This amazing architectural design software is completely free.

MyVirtualHome (Free)

As the name suggests, MyVirtualHome is a great 3D house design software for people building their own homes. You can envision how certain design elements will look like in your house and plan the layout using this free house design software for Windows 10 and Mac. The renders look quite realistic and hence gives you the feeling that you are in your own, yet to be constructed the house.

The models are very interactive and the lighting effect feels very real too. The key USP of MyVirtualHome architecture software is its ability to provide details of material and service suppliers once you finalize a design so you don’t have to go out of your way looking for them.

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This architectural design software is perfect for people who don’t want to have someone else design the house they live and wish to have granular control over almost all the things about their home. A big downer though is that the software mainly caters to the Australian market and doesn’t scale very well for a global audience so unless you are in Australia you may not be able to profit from the details of suppliers. It is free though, so couldn’t hurt to try.

BRIOVR (Free)

BRIOVR isn’t a 3D architectural design software in the traditional sense. BRIOVR is essentially a visualization software that provides hyper-realistic 2D, 3D renders of products or designs. It is also capable of producing AR content to make the designs interactive.

You can leverage new emerging technologies such as Mixed media, 360-degree video and even augmented reality to bring your designs to life and impress your clients with your attention to detail.

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This free architectural design software for beginners and professionals is fairly easy to use and highly effective for larger organizations. The prices are also relative very affordable for software of its caliber. Give it a try today!

Conclusions

Well, this goes without saying but, most of these free 3D house design software and best architecture design software require a fairly powerful system to run smoothly. So, ensure that you have a system that can hold its own. The new Ray Tracing Technology on the new Nvidia cards also slots in well with some of these home design software and powerful free architecture software for Windows 10 PC.

So my architect friends, found what you were looking for? I am certain you must have by now. Our list here of the top 13 best free architectural design software for architects (beginners and professionals) hopefully helps you narrow down the perfect software for your requirements.

Do let us know in the comments below, which free architecture design software and 3D architectural design software free download you love the most and if we missed any of your favorite ones.

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