Week #18 – Complex Projects
18-2. Multi-Story Walls

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 18-2)

This 43 minute ArchiCAD training explores various options for walls that span multiple stories. Multi-story walls have certain advantages for modeling and documenting rooms or spaces which extend through 2 or more stories, stairwells (in which windows may straddle two stories), and tall buildings (facilitating design and modeling of entire facades).

To make a tall wall show on the floor plan on more than one story, set the Floor Plan option to Show on Relevant Stories (rather than Home Story Only). This will not only make the wall show properly on plan, it will also help with the 3D cleanup of the model, as connecting walls on remote stories will be able to “see” and intersect the tall wall. Windows and doors will show properly on each story as you would expect.

Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust the Floor Plan Intersection Priority for interior walls to make sure that they do not extend through the exterior wall, causing an extraneous line on the facade. This issue comes up when an exterior wall is broken into two pieces at the same location as the interior wall touches; this becomes a three way intersection, thus requiring the extra consideration of intersection priorities.

In a stairwell a window may be set to straddle both lower and upper stories. While the window elevation may easily be set to the appropriate base and top heights, it will only cut out a hole in the wall that it is placed. With simple stacked walls, the upper wall needs to have a hole cut out to show the window properly.

In this lesson, I show a way to place a copy of the window in the upper wall and move it into position vertically to precisely overlap the original window. This results in a 3D view that works nicely, as well as floor plans that show the window in both walls. However, there are now two windows that might show up in a window schedule, rather than one. To resolve this issue, you may use the Edit menu > Reshape > Explode Into Current View command to retain the 2D symbol of the window in the upper wall, while retaining an empty opening in place of the original window, thus enabling 2D, 3D and the window schedule to work.

A simpler solution is possible using a multi-story wall: a single window is placed in the stairwell at the appropriate height. It shows up nicely on both floor plans and 3D as it should, and lists in the schedule properly.

In fact, this approach (making one or more walls in the project span multiple stories) can be used even when there aren’t any open spaces (rooms that extend multiple stories). Use this strategy any time to simplify facade design. It’s particularly useful when working on a tall building (5, 10, 20 or more stories) with common floor plates, as it allows you to drag copies of windows around very quickly in 3D or elevation views.

In recent versions of ArchiCAD (perhaps since AC12 or AC13) it is possible to drag windows or doors from one wall to another, or drag or multiply copies, as long as the walls are co-planar (in the same plane). Thus it is possible to do this type of quick facade manipulation of openings even with discrete separate or stacked walls. One reason to keep the walls stacked (rather than combining them into a multi-story element) is that you can easily show in 3D just a single story at a time, either by selecting elements on plan then choosing Show Selection / Marquee in 3D or using the View menu > 3D Window Settings > Filter Elements in 3D command to choose one or more stories to visualize.

When a wall is tilted or canted, there are various projection options for showing the wall itself on plan. You may choose to show either the entire element on the plan, or just the part that is in the current story or cut plane settings. Windows or doors may be shown symbolically, shifted to wherever the Floor Plan Cut Plane cuts through the tilted wall, or projected to show more actual 3D detail on the floor plan.

Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website. The video lessons are available for members only. If you are an active member and would like to watch the ArchiCAD training video on this page, please login to the website. If you are not currently a member, please visit the following pages for more information and to sign up for the Best Practices Course, the QuickStart Course or for the Best Practices ArchiCAD Coaching Program. Eric Bobrow, Creator of the Best Practices Course
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ArchiCAD Training: Multi-Story Walls

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  1. BinhNguyen
    11 years ago

    Hi Eric
    Help me to see the pdf file, Please

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Hello Binh –
      The transcript for lesson 18-2 has not yet been completed by our staff. When it is finished, I will post it here for download.

  2. RajagopalaHathwar
    11 years ago

    Dear sir,
    For 18-2 download option is not their.

    • Eric Bobrow
      11 years ago

      Hello Rajagopala –

      You may download the video from the Course Downloads page:

      We no longer have the download link under each video, since we will soon start to offer short-term trial memberships for the course that allow people to watch the videos but not download them. For full members (like yourself and everyone up to this point) you will still be able to download the videos, but you need to go to the Course Downloads page to do so.


      • RajagopalaHathwar
        11 years ago

        Thank you.