Week #18 – Complex Projects
18-3. Split Levels

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 18-3)

This 65 minute ArchiCAD training explores various methods for working with split level building designs.

In some simple situations with a minimal change in the floor height, you may raise the base of the floor slab and walls for part of a story, and leave the default settings alone. The plan will continue to look good, with the walls set for a floor plan representation of Projected with Overhead, and windows and doors set to Symbolic representation.

If the change in elevation is more extreme, the raised section may be above the floor plan cut plane setting for the working View. One option is to raise this cut plane to a compromise level, perhaps 5′ or 1.5 meters instead of the default 4′ or 1 meter. However, as the elevation differential is increased, or other considerations such as clerestory glazing is introduced into the lower section of the building, then another approach may be warranted.

It is possible to create more than one View for the floor plan, each one having a different floor plan cut plane. This allows a floor plan and a clerestory plan for the same section of the building, each one focusing only on a restricted vertical band of the walls.

One can combine two different plan Views onto a single Layout sheet, cropping them as needed to fit next to each other side by side or like interlocking puzzle pieces. By doing this, one can create a hybrid or synthetic plan view that appears to be a single drawing, but is actually two or more drawings with somewhat different settings.

When an opening starts in a lower section and must extend into an upper story, such as a window in a stairwell, there are two general approaches that may be used. One involves stacked walls, in which the window in the lower wall extends into a notch cut out in the upper wall. In this “old-fashioned” method (dating back to the early days of ArchiCAD), a method is demonstrated to achieve this geometry while simultaneously making a window symbol appear on the upper story floor plan yet NOT having a duplicate window be listed in a window schedule. Basically, a copy of the lower window is placed in the upper wall, lowered into position to superimpose the original window, then Exploded to become linework on plan and an Empty Window or Simple Window Opening in the 3D wall.

A somewhat better method for setting a window in a stairwell or a similar situation in which it crosses over a story line is to create a multi-story wall. The window naturally can sit at whatever elevation is appropriate. The wall needs to be set to show on All Relevant Stories (rather than Home Story Only), and the window will appear on plan as expected.

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: Split Levels

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