Week #16 – Roof Modeling and Documentation
16-4. Creating Different Roof Types in ArchiCAD 15 and Later

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 16-4)

This 49 minute ArchiCAD training lesson demonstrates the quickest and easiest methods to model multiple roof types in ArchiCAD 15 and later versions.

A wide variety of roof styles are shown in a graphic derived from the following website:

In this session, schematic models of these roofs are quickly created in ArchiCAD 16. The methods shown may be applied to ArchiCAD 15 and later.

Some of the roof styles are done with a single-plane roof similar to ArchiCAD 14 (e.g. Flat Roof, Shed Roof, Skillion and Lean-to Roof), although walls are trimmed using the new command in the Design menu > Connect > Trim Elements to Roof/Shell rather than Solid Element Operations.

Some roof types work easily in the new Multi-Plane roof option, such as the Open Gable, Hip and Valley, Pyramid Hip, Hexagonal Gazebo and Combination Roofs. Others are able to be created with the Multi-Plane setting, but require adjustment and fine-tuning; here are some examples:

  • when a Gambrel is created, the upper section overhangs an extra amount and has to be pulled back using the Pet Palette option to adjust the Gable Overhang
  • a Mansard may need the lower edges changed to a different angle to avoid having extra tall vertical fascia
  • the Box Gable requires a change of the Trimming Body from Pivot Line Down to Contours Down

In other cases, the Multi-Plane Roof must be broken into pieces using the right-click context menu command Split into Single-Plane Roofs. This is necessary in several cases:

  • When two roof planes are at different plate heights, as in a Saltbox Roof
  • When a negative value is useful in defining the roof slope, as in the M-Shape and Butterfly Roofs
  • When the natural Hip or Valley lines need to be overridden in order to create a more complex shape (as in a Dutch Gable) or a different plate height (as in a Jerkinhead style).

Please post your comments and questions below.


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ArchiCAD Training: Creating Different Roof Types in ArchiCAD 15 and Later

Let us know how you feel... (5 comments so far)

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  1. Kara
    11 years ago

    I am making my dream home in ArchiCAD 16 for one of my classes. I was wondering if there is a way to make my home a 1 1/2 story versus the 2 story that it seems to look like in 3D.

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Hello Kara –

      If your design is for 1 1/2 stories, then you would likely have the upper story floor plan smaller than the lower story, which would leave part of the lower story needing its own roof.

      The roof systems for each story can be separate, each with their own pivot line(s). You would then adjust the lower roof system to be cut around the upper walls, perhaps using the boolean subtract option on the contour outline (which cuts out parts of the roof system).

      I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you need further tips.


  2. Avatar photo
    12 years ago

    A few times, Eric, you joined some single-plane roofs using command-click or control-click. This seemed like either magic or something I’ve forgotten. Could you elaborate? I couldn’t get the same results you did when I tried it. Is it a Windows command? (I’m on a Mac).
    Otherwise, this lesson had some good reminders of the new trimming bodies and pet palette options that I’ll be able to use more effectively – thank you.

    • Eric Bobrow
      12 years ago

      Scott –

      The basic method is to select one roof as the “controlling” element, then Command-click (Mac) or CTRL-click (PC) on the EDGE (where you would get a Mercedes cursor if you didn’t have the Command or CTRL key held down) of the other roof. It will reposition that edge to where it will meet the controlling roof.

      Often, one will then deselect the first roof, the select the second roof and Command/CTRL-click on the edge of the first roof to move that edge to meet it’s match.

      IMPORTANT: One needs to click on an EDGE, not a corner or anywhere you would have a checkmark cursor. Also, it needs to be an edge that can be adjusted to meet the other roof; it won’t work if you click on an edge that could not manually be repositioned (if the two roofs are actually parallel, for example, or if you click on a hip or valley edge when you need to create a ridge or vice versa).

      ALSO: This does not work when you click on the edge of a multi-plane roof. I’m not sure if it works when you have a multi-plane roof selected as the controlling roof – I’ll have to test it to see.

      I hope this clarifies the methodology – let me know if you need further guidance.


  3. AlexEsquibel
    12 years ago

    Excellent approach to tackling a variety of roof typologies. I really appreciated the opportunity you created to show off some of the features unique to AC 16. The techniques you used to resolve some of the quirks were indispensable. Additionally, the barrel vault and the dome would be some other roof typologies that would be of interest to me. I’ll ask about them on the next coaching call.