15 essential iPad apps that every architect can’t live without
When it comes to designing the buildings of tomorrow, the trusty iPad is a welcome addition to any architect’s toolbox.
From sketching out ideas, taking photos for inspiration and showing proposals to clients – Apple’s revolutionary tablet computer has opened up a world of opportunities for architects to plan, design and oversee their projects, all on the go and at the touch of a button.
Following on from our run-down of essential iPhone apps, here is a collection of 15 essential iPad apps that every architect can’t live without…
Apps that make your life easier are very welcome and this one can do several jobs for you, taking pictures, measuring rooms and cleverly drawing a floor plan all at the same time. This plan can then be saved and shared in a range of file formats or turned into an interactive version to publish online.
Making use of the iPad’s in-built camera and letting you do without tape measures and even your pen and pencils, MagicPlan can be a big time saver.
One of the best drawing apps available for the iPad, iDraw is vector-based so it lends itself perfectly well to creating technical drawings, floor plans and more.
It is also lightweight and quick to use, without some of the complexities of other professional applications, so it’s ideal for using on the move.
Sometimes vector-based illustrations are overkill, especially if you need to just bash out a quick sketch or add your own ideas to an existing document. Coming from the team behind the productivity powerhouse that is Evernote, Skitch is a naturally popular choice and lets you draw from scratch, annotate PDFs or images and add arrows, highlights or other markers on top of existing files.
It syncs with your Evernote account giving you easy access from all your devices and makes sharing ideas between colleagues a breeze.
While Skitch is great for quick sketches and annotations, Bluebeam Revu moves things on to a much more professional level by providing you with a sophisticated PDF editor aimed specifically at architects and engineers.
Mark up 2D or 3D documents with industry standard symbols or preloaded notes and easily track changes and share with clients, contractors or members of your team.
A sketching and drafting app made with architects in mind, this free tool from Autodesk gives you the ability to view, edit and share AutoCAD drawings from anywhere, whether you’re on site or in the office.
Cloud-based sharing makes collaboration smooth while you can also work offline and sync changes when you are connected to the web.
Despite what you might think, Pinterest is not just for sharing pictures of wedding dresses, this image-based social network can also be an incredible source of inspiration for professionals across a range of sectors. You can find architectural images you like and pin them to specific boards, share them with colleagues and clients, and follow other ‘pinners’ who regularly post pictures that you admire.
You can also set up a Pinterest account for your practice to help showcase your own projects.
Like Pinterest on steroids just for designers and architects, Houzz has curated a huge database of ideas for both interior and exterior design.
You can browse by a host of categories and styles or even geographical locations, saving ideas into your own virtual scrapbook, perfect for when you need to find that extra spark of creativity.
This beautiful iPad app from Architizer is like carrying a box full of glossy architecture magazines with you wherever you go.
Boasting a constantly-updated catalogue of buildings from around the world, hundreds of images are added every week directly by the architects behind them, giving you an up-to-date reference to the latest developments in the industry.
Readers of leading industry weekly The Architects’ Journal can now enjoy each edition in stunning style through this dedicated iPad app.
The digital edition includes bonus features such as video tours and interactive drawings, plus subscribers to the print edition will enjoy free access to the iPad version, automatically downloaded to your device each week.
Blueprint 3D HD
Ok, so maybe this list isn’t all about work, work, work. But why shouldn’t you entertain yourself on your break or during the commute? This is guilt-free gaming too as you can tell yourself that you’re enhancing your 3D skills while playing Blueprint 3D HD.
Offering more than 300 levels of unique 3D motion puzzles, there’s plenty to keep your brain ticking over, while you can also put your colleagues to the test by creating unique puzzles from your own photos.
The iPad is at its best when you’re working with images, whether using it to take photos, viewing pictures in HD or editing them on the move.
Photoshop is a standard addition to most architects’ desktop computers and this slick and simplified app lets you make quick edits and add effects to your pics – and it’s free too.
As the name suggests, this app is a reworking of the traditional portfolio, allowing you to share your projects, designs and drawings publically or privately within a beautifully presented forum.
You can easily collaborate with other architects and design enthusiasts around the world for feedback, ideas and inspiration.
If you use Rhino for your 3D modelling then you’ll love the chance to view your images in all their glory on the iPad’s stunning Retina screen.
But the iRhino 3D app is about more than simply admiring you and your colleagues’ handiwork, you can zoom, pan and rotate to really dive into the models and capture specific views of them to mark up and share.
The beauty of carrying professional-standard tools with you on your iPad is that you’re ready to formulate your ideas whenever and wherever they may come to you. FormIt is an intelligent and intuitive app that lets you quickly sketch out 3D building concepts or test out design ideas and it even gives you access to accurate location information with maps and satellite image data helping you to see your vision in situ.
You can also sync your designs over the cloud to carry on developing them using other pro software back in the office.
Convert Units HD
Not the most fun app on this list, but certainly a very practical one. You never know just when you will need to bash out some unit conversions, calculate angles or work out area sizes and this app wipes out the need for you to rely on a calculator and your own memory to get the maths right. Preloaded with most of the calculations you could possibly need, you can also add custom ones if there is anything missing.
Have we missed off your favourite app?
Or do you have any other iPad tips to share? Let us know in the comments below…