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© Xiaole Tao Fo

3D modeling softwares are a necessary tool for architects. It allows the creation of building models, interior designs, or structural designs. Professionals widely use them, but students also benefit from using such programs. This prepares them for the labor market and helps them develop professional skills.

In this article, you’ll find the best 3D modeling solutions for student architects.

Solutions’ Overview: CAD and BIM

Although it might seem overwhelming to start researching this topic, it is a crucial step for all future architects. It might take some time to learn the fundamentals and find the optimal program for your needs. But you cannot do without it.

Students do struggle with free time as they are preoccupied with college tasks and assignments. Academic writing can be a particular pain point for many learners. If that is the case, one can always opt for essay writer help from EssayPro at any time. It is a useful platform that assists with the writing, proofreading, and editing of any college paper. Students can get expert assistance and advice without any hassle.

If you are not confident in your skills, want to learn more, or need more free time, it is a sure way to go. Experts will polish your paper and help you meet all the deadlines without stress.

In the meantime, student architects need to learn about the difference between CAD and BIM software.

CAD (computer-aided design) is used primarily to create full architectural 3D models. It gives accurate representation and full floor plans and layouts. BIM (building information modeling) solutions take this even further. They allow getting more data on plans, plumbing, wiring, HVAC, etc. With a BIM program, one can create a design with dimensions visualized from various angles. And it gives a deeper virtual experience with a project.

BIM is the connection between CAD and actual construction. It can calculate important metrics and put industry-required measurements on the design. So, BIM is a more versatile and professional software. It gives much more functionality. However, the choice depends on your goals.

When choosing a 3D program for your beginner designs, consider such factors as:

  • What functions do you need?
  • What resources does your computer have?
  • What is your operating system?
  • What is your budget? (some of the solutions are free, but others might be costly)
  • What is your focus? (Collaboration, visualization, 3D rendering, etc.).

Now, let’s talk about some of the top architect design tools out there.

Programs for Architecture

Architecture Students Revit Software
Revit Software | © Evgeniy Surzhan


This is dedicated software specifically for this sector. Despite the name, it offers BIM functionality as well. It provides both 2D and 3D drafting, modeling, and visualization. Students can do all the engineering and design projects here. The rendering is also very realistic, which is a great benefit.

It works not only for buildings but also for interior designs and urban planning.


It is another BIM program designed by Autodesk. It has all the features an architect might need. You can work on all types of projects, and it also has a collaboration functionality. Several users can work on one shared design. So it is helpful for group projects as well.


This is a web-based software, so you do not need to download and install anything on your gadgets. It is fast, robust, and functional. You can create 3D floor plans and home designs quite fast here. The 2D option is also available. The tool has a decent library with more than 7,000 ready-to-use 3D objects. This can save you a lot of time.

The rendering is photorealistic and offers sharable projects. This program might not be as advanced as others, but it is easy to use and fast.

AutoCAD Architecture

It is one of the most comprehensive solutions. The program supports 2D and 3D tasks. As for modeling, one can use solid, surface, or mesh tools. This is quite convenient. The rendering is quite fast, which is another advantage. And it supports collaborative projects too. Also, Autodesk products often have deals for students. For instance, they offer many of them for free to learners for a designated period of time (about a year).

Architecture Students tools
© Sven Mieke

Chief Architect

This is an easy-to-use CAD solution, although there is a slight learning curve still. It supports 2D and 3D modeling and rendering. This one is helpful even if you are a complete beginner at 3D modeling. The interface is user-friendly and has a lot of smart features.

All Plan

All Plan is a great program, but it only works with Windows. Students can create 2D and 3D designs, patterns, drawings, concepts, and topography here. It has wide functionality and robust performance. BIM software allows one to add advanced data to the model. This one is suitable for small projects and complex and detailed plans as well.

Vectorworks Architect

One of the main advantages of this tool is that you can create anything from a conceptual model up to a BIM project. There are all features one might need for that. And it has a comparatively easy interface. One can do precise drawings, algorithmic designs, 3D modeling, and site modeling. You can also create unique graphics for the presentation.

Rhino 3D

It is one of the most widely-popular programs among architects. It is not explicitly aimed at the architecture sector, but it is perfect for advanced 3D projects. You can create drawings or enter physical models here. The tool makes a 3D model and creates necessary documentation based on that. The new and advanced versions of Rhino 3D allow real-world scanning objects and uploading them into the program.

There is a wide selection of tools to edit designs. Students also might create animation or do the professional rendering. It is very accurate when it comes to geometry.

In Summary

Working with 3D software is a perfect opportunity for architect students to create their projects, develop skills, and prepare for real-life work. All of these offer great functionality and many useful features to try.