Architects Resources & Tools
Welcome to my resources page. Hopefully you will find everything you need right here! I am always adding to the page when I discover something new, so keep checking back, and let me know if there is something you think should be on the list.
Some of the resources are free – for the ones that aren’t, some contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and use the items I will get a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links help me to make enough money to keep First In Architecture running, and to provide as much free content as I do.
These are links to the things that I use and love, I’m sure there are other options out there so feel free to shop around.
Hope you find something on this list that his helpful to you 🙂
Productivity & Tools
I have been using Toggl for quite some time now. It is a great app for tracking your time. In particular I use it to track how much time I work on individual projects, both my own and my freelance work. I find it is a great insight into my productivity. Easy to use, with plenty of functionality, you can use it on a mobile device or install the app onto your computer which is what I find works best.
As you may have guessed I am a super excessive list maker! I have to make a list for everything, partly a control thing, and partly because I have a memory like a sieve. If it isn’t on the list, it doesn’t get done.
Wunderlist is amazing. You can create different task lists, add reminders, due dates and additional notes relating to each to do item. Once an item is ticked off, it isn’t lost for ever, you can view all your completed tasks if necessary.
Another little bonus I discovered recently is that you can integrate your to do items with iCal so that they show up as events within iCal – this is a really handy trick.
Another firm favourite of mine, Asana keeps my life in order and all my projects on track. I use it as an idea storage, task list, to do list, and so much more. You can organise tasks by project and assign them to team members, with due dates. Projects can receive comments by team members, allocate sub tasks, attach files and images, link to other projects and so on.
I find Asana a valuable application in my day to day work life, it is great to organise your time, whether you are a student or out in practice. I would highly recommend you check it out. The app is great, but the web version is even better.
My world lives on Evernote! Evernote is my starting point for everything. It essentially keeps all your notes in one place. You can organise your notes by notebook. You can also use the Evernote clipper which is a handy tool that clips articles from the web and saves them as notes. You can add images, attachments and loads more to your notes, share with your team or colleagues – possibilities are endless.
I use Evernote to write my books, blog posts, development and planning and so much more. I also use it to save magazine articles, whether its from an architectural magazine or a recipe I want to try, I take a picture and save it to my Evernote!
Dropbox is a great cloud based storage application. I use this on a daily basis and always have access to every file I need no matter where I am. I have all of my Dropbox folders on my laptop, but can access them all from my phone or iPad if I am out and about. I pay for a large amount of storage, to ensure I back up all my large files and photos to Dropbox as well.
I love music! But…. I find it really difficult to work with music on, especially if I am writing. So, I’m torn, I want to listen to music, but if there are any words in those songs, my mind wanders.
Great news, there are some excellent options for people that want to keep their laser focus while listening to some background music!
Brain.FM features music that helps you focus and doesn’t distract you! They provide music that is designed to help with various things like focus, relaxation, sleep and so on. Well worth checking this out!
Last but not least, I completely rely on my moleskine daybook – to list out my plans for the day, scribble down any notes as I’m working, sketch out any quick ideas etc. It goes everywhere with me, so if I am in a coffee shop, or have a spare 10 minutes, I can sketch ideas, make some notes etc.
Apps for Architects
Concepts is an advanced sketching app with excellent functionality. I really like using Concepts and would highly recommend you check it out. Once you have the app they send out some great inspirational emails with case studies of what can be achieved with the app.
Morpholio Trace is considered THE architecture and design app. It has a massive amount of features, and covers all stages of the design process. Worth downloading and trying it out to get a real feel of what you can achieve with this great app.
BIMx is a viewer app for BIM models. Working in ArchiCAD I have found this app really useful to take my iPad to clients and show them the model of prelim designs, and work through any questions they have. You can also let your clients download the app and send them the files to view which has been received really well. Another great app!
SketchUp viewer does exactly what it says. It allows you to view sketchUp models on your iPad or device. It comes with a few useful tools to improve viewing experience.
A360 – View CAD files
This app allows you to view, mark up and comment on 2d and 3d cad drawings. Great for if you are out and about with only your iPad to catch up on some work. You can upload and view any file, no matter the software used to create it as A360 supports over 100 cad and other file formats!
Another great sketching app. I find I have quite a few sketching apps as they all have slightly different features, so I often find myself switching between apps, or even importing and exporting a file between apps to use the different features I am after.
Sunseeker is a cool app – it provides a flat compass view and an augmented reality 3D view that demonstrates the sun path, equinox, solstice, rise and set times and lots more on your specified location. Really handy app.
New Student Essentials
Architects Pocket Book
A must have for every student and professional, it is amazing how much you use this book as a ‘go to’ each day!
Architecture – Form, Space and order
An excellent visual introduction to the vocabulary of architectural design. Highly recommend this book.
Architectural Graphics – Francis Ching
If I could I would just recommend all of the books by Francis Ching, but this another one of the great ones in my opinion.
Construction and Detailing
Understanding Architectural Details
A series of books from First In Architecture giving a truly visual guide to construction details. Not only this, but they offer the chance to download all of the 2D and 3D details!
Residential Construction Details
Residential Construction Details is the USA version of Understanding Construction Details. It guides you through construction detailing, and also offers 2D and 3D downloads of all the details!
Sketching and Representation
Tools for SketchUp
Skatter is an extension for SketchUp that allows you to render huge amounts of vegetation, crowds, parametric assemblies really quickly.
Graphics and Visualisation
Alex’s site offers a wonderful insight into the visualisation process, with tutorials and blog posts on his work during development to final output. Spend some time on his site – there is a lot to learn!
Drawing and Sketching Materials
These are the main tools I use when carrying out a measured survey. The graph paper is great for drawing out good sketches for the survey and keeping things neat. The multi pen may seem like an odd addition to this list but it is really useful for noting dims in different colours, for example, I use red for ceiling heights, blue for windows and black for general dims – makes it easier to read when you are back at the office.
Lynda has helped me learn a multitude of new skills. They have entire courses dedicated to all things architecture and design. The quality of the courses is very good with high level tutoring. I cannot recommend Lynda.com enough as an additional learning tool, whether you are still studying or out in practice. Other useful topics they look at include: business skills, productivity, management, communication, leadership, presentations, career development, and SO much more!
I am a massive fan of Jaiprakash’s teaching. He takes complicated CAD topics and breaks them down into easy to understand modules. He has a variety of AutoCAD courses to suit different skill levels. If you are looking to learn AutoCAD – look no further.
Audible is a great way to read books on the fly. I use audible a lot when I am out walking the dog or running. I have stormed through some great books and learnt a great deal while I’ve been out and about. Another useful time to get stuck in to an audiobook is when I am travelling – long drives, long train journeys go by in a flash.
Student Money and Discounts
6 Months free Amazon Prime – amazing offer!
This is a no brainer, with Amazon Prime you benefit from:
Unlimited reading of books, magazines and singles
Unlimited photo storage
Early access to deals
You would be crazy not to sign up!
The Architects Guide is the ultimate when it comes to careers in architecture. Brandon guides you through every step of the process in great detail. If you are looking for high quality, in depth advice, I would highly recommend you check out what Brandon has to offer.
I have quite an extensive CV/Resume board on Pinterest designed to inspire you and give you ideas for creating your CV.
Our In Practice Section
We have a selection of articles that help you with work related stuff, like writing CVs, interviews, putting together your portfolio and more! Check them out here, free of charge!