Technology has infiltrated almost every facet of the architecture industry—from visualizing space to sharing plans to actually manipulating the built environment. Developers have brought these new technologies to mobile platforms, freeing architects from their computers and even the studio. Thanks to new and exciting applications, architects can now re-examine floor plans, make changes to color choices and materials, and re-think the positioning of furniture all on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
Here, we honor those revolutionary applications that—with the simple swipe of a finger—make the jobs of architects and designers more efficient.
MagicPlan by Sensopia (Free)
Drawing out floor plans takes time. Luckily, this handy free app can—as its name attests—magically measure the size of any room, draw a floor plan, and turn it into a variety of formats like PDF or JPEG, all with the simple snap of a photo!
iRhino 3D by Robert McNeel & Associates ($3.99)
What better way to show off your amazing designs than on the crystal clear screen of an iPad or iPhone? iRhino 3D lets you view and share native Rhino 3DM files on your mobile or tablet, giving you the ability to pan, zoom, and rotate images, and download models from Google Drive, DropBox, and email attachments.
Nest Mobile by Nest Labs (Free)
For those of you who forget to turn on the AC during a summer heatwave and then dread coming home to an overheated house, the Nest Mobile app may be perfect for you. Nest provides a remote connection to your Nest Learning thermostat without actually being at home—now your home will always be the temperature you want, even when you're not there.
Floored by Floored, Inc. (Free)
Here's an amazing iPad app tailored specifically for the real estate market that makes floor plans look more like the spaces they are representing. Using images from a proprietary, next-generation 3D camera, Floored generates interactive 3D models that let you experience an entire space right on your tablet screen.
AutoCAD 360 by Autodesk Inc. (Free)
With AutoCAD 360, you can view, create, edit, and share any kind of CAD drawing, all on your iPhone, Android products, or on the web. This free app provides architects with an essential tool for sketching on the go.
iDraw by Indeeo, Inc. ($8.99)
Whether drawing highly detailed plans or just killing some time with some carefree illustrations, iDraw lets you create eye-catching vector drawings on Mac OSX or iPad. While on the pricier side, this versatile app comes packed with features to suit any kind of architect or artist.
Steel by TheMobileEngineer ($4.99)
Designed for both architects and engineers, Steel gives you access to more than 18,000 shapes of steel provided by the American Institute of Steel Construction. Because carrying around a database of steel is a whole lot lighter than the actual material!
Mark On Call by M.O.C. Interior Designer
This easy-to-use app is like having a personal interior designer at your fingertips. Mark On Call helps you solve design issues by laying out floor plans, and allows you to visualize the interior of your dreams.
Homestyler by Autodesk Inc. (Free)
Autodesk's incredible interactive Homestyler app lets you design your own spaces, and then bring them to life by experimenting with real products, materials, and colors. Homestyler is available for both Apple iOS and Android phones, and comes ready with a database of high-quality 3D models to bring inspiration to your own designs.
iDesign by TouchAware ($7.99)
Another nifty app that lets you create high-quality 2D vector drawings and designs, iDesign comes with precision features that prevent your fingers from making any unwanted smudges, making it more than worth the price.