This 45 minute lesson explores a variety of tools and methods useful during early design.
Setbacks and clearances from property lines and other boundaries are important considerations. The polyline tool (similar to polygon-based tools such as slabs, fills and roofs) can be offset uniformly using a command in the Pet palette. This is shown at first by tracing with the magic wand to create a copy of the original boundary, then selecting and offsetting the polyline; later, the Window menu > Palettes > Control Box is used to select an Offset and the process is done in a single operation. Other drafting control variations in this palette are shown including multiple offset, perpendicular and parallel constraints.
The Fill tool may show a shaded or hatched area and has an option to calculate and display the area as text. This may easily give instant feedback on the lot area as well as the building footprint or any bounded polygon. The fills can be color-coded to show usage or communicate other information visually, and areas may be totaled and reported (this will be explored in the next lesson).
The Zone tool can automatically fill a room, seeking out the bounding walls, or be drawn with a manually created outline. It has a stamp that reports information such as the room name and number, and calculated values such as area and volume. Zones can be used to total up and report usage to compare against program requirements. They can also be created as independent graphic components that can be moved around to study different configurations while maintaining the right number of spaces as laid out from the program.
Zones may be viewed in 3D as part of the building model when the control for this is turned on in the View menu > Elements to Show in 3D > Filter Elements in 3D. In fact, one can turn off other element types in this dialog, and just view the Zones in 3D, which allows them to be displayed and reviewed for stacking and blocking studies.
Slabs may be used for creating volumes for massing study, depicting multi-story spaces with simple or complex outlines. Different colors or materials may be used to represent usage, phasing or exterior treatments.
Some designers like to sketch out a building concept with single lines representing the shell and partitions. A productive alternative is to use the wall tool with a 0 thickness, since it is just as easy to draw as lines yet it may be viewed in 3D. In addition, the walls may later be given a nominal or actual thickness, and eventually take doors and windows, which would be impossible with a single line diagram.
Ultimately, all of these tools and approaches are useful, and it is important to become familiar with most or all of them. This will give you the flexibility to take on your design challenges with finesse, applying the most useful tools for each part of the process.
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