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CNC Machining & Software

What software do architects use?

Before computer-aided design (CAD) software, architects relied solely on hand drawings and handmade architecture models to communicate their designs. With the evolution of technology and the architecture industry, architectural software has changed the way architects plan and design buildings.

Implementing 2D and 3D architecture software allows designers to draft at greater speed, test ideas and determine consistent project workflows. Advancements in rendering software provide architects and their clients with the ability to visually experience designs before a project is realised.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) (US site) offers greater control over design decisions, improving efficiencies and collaboration. The tools and software architects use have come a long way.

Types of architecture software

  • 3 axis CNC machine

    2D architecture software

    Create, edit and annotate 2D architectural drawings (floor plans, landscaping layouts, etc.) more quickly and with greater precision.

  • 4 axis machining

    3D architecture software

    Visualise your architectural design in 3D and create a realistic model with materials, textures and automated tools.

  • 5-axis CNC machine

    Rendering software

    Generate immersive photorealistic simulations to experience how architectural designs will perform in context for project reviews.

  • Lathe machine

    BIM software

    Use an intelligent 3D model-based design process to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings.

How is architecture software used?

Rising to new heights with BIM

Shanghai Tower owner champions BIM for design and construction of one of the world’s tallest (and greenest) buildings.

Real-world advice for custom home design

As a designer of more than 5,000 custom homes, architect Jeff Haberman relies on the AutoCAD Architecture toolset to work more efficiently.

Shifting from 2D to BIM 3D design

JNA uses Revit to increase client engagement in 3D designs and to gain deep knowledge of building systems before construction begins.

Software for architects

Examples of architectural design trends

  • Reality capture

    Reality capture firm ATFF collects and assembles data for a renovation of the highest hospital in the French Alps using ReCap.

  • Sustainable development

    Autodesk's AEC Collection helps firms achieve targets for meeting the Architecture 2030 challenge for sustainable building design.

  • Curated experiences

    Leading architecture firm uses AutoCAD to design three customer experiences in one of the world's largest watch stores.

  • Green urban renewal

    AutoCAD helps architects create award-winning building, revitalising a Detroit park with adaptive re-use and environmentally responsible design.

Free architecture software


    We offer free Autodesk software for students and educators. Use the same software as top professionals around the world.



    Are you a non-profit organisation or entrepreneur working to create a positive impact through design? See if you qualify for our Technology Impact Programme.


Architecture software resources