Autodesk software empowers you to bring your architectural designs to life. 

Rendering of the BIM City Westside Hospital dataset illustrating a structural view.

What is architectural design?

Architectural design is a discipline that blends technical and creative design to create buildings or structures that are not only safe and durable, but attractive and useful. Architects typically create architectural designs by understanding the space, what it is to be used for, and creating a functional structure for the space. Architectural design encompasses many phases of the design process from schematic design and design development to construction of the structure. Autodesk provides the technology to help with all aspects of the design and collaboration process.

Types of architectural design software

  • Rendering of a 2D factory layout with an overlay of 3D factory content

    2D architectural design software

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

  • Rendering of a house with a city backdrop

    3D architectural design software

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

  • Building with experimental, quasi random accumulation of volumes and balconies.

    Rendering software

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

  • 3D visualisation of a construction project

    BIM software

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

Design software for architects

Architectural design apps

Discover architecture software apps that keep you connected wherever you are, while helping bring your architectural designs to life on your mobile device.

  • Architects using AutoCAD in a mobile environment.

    AutoCAD mobile app

    Extend AutoCAD software beyond the desktop. Easily view, create, edit and share DWG™ files on your iOS or Android device.

  • A360 Collaboration for Revit in use

    A360 mobile app

    Share, view and comment on 2D and 3D DWG™, DWF, Navisworks and Revit software files.

  • Architectural engineer using BIM 360 on a job site

    BIM 360

    A unified app for the next-generation BIM 360 platform with the ability to access all architecture project documents and execute construction workflows.

  • Sketch in 3D, anywhere and design on an iPad with clients, on site or anywhere inspiration strikes


    Conceptualise, analyse and share early building design concepts digitally, anywhere ideas strike.

View of the cover of “The Benefits of Using the Architecture toolset in AutoCAD” study

Benefits of the AutoCAD Architecture toolset

The Architecture toolset brings dramatically increased productivity and significant time savings to common AutoCAD architecture design tasks.

See how customers are using architectural design software

  • Lobby of Moxy Osaka Honmachi


    Moxy hotel blends fun and interior design with AutoCAD LT

    Discover how Tokyo-based Wise Labo blends fun, inspiration and AutoCAD LT for the design of the Moxy Hotel in Osaka.

  • Exterior view of the Alea Homes Project


    Redefining housing with Cano y Escario Arquitectura

    Using BIM method and Autodesk solutions, the Cano y Escario practice has been a key agent in this redefinition of residential architecture.

  • Interior rendering of the second largest shopping centre in Africa


    How to build one of the biggest shopping centres in Africa

    Working in a fully integrated BIM environment using Revit, Navisworks & BIM 360 Glue B + P rose to the challenge of delivering the 2nd biggest shopping centre in SA.

Architectural design software resources

FAQs on architectural design software

Used worldwide by both commercial and residential architects, CAD has replaced manual drafting. It helps users create designs in either 2D or 3D so they can visualise the construction. CAD enables the development, modification and optimisation of the architectural design process.

Many architects use AutoCAD as a 2D drawing tool for creating floor plans (US site), elevations and sections. The architectural design software speeds up the drawing process (US site) with pre-built objects such as walls, doors and windows that behave like real-world objects.

Yes. Students and educators can get free one-year educational access to Autodesk products and services, renewable for as long as you remain eligible. Learn more (US site).

Autodesk provides a variety of software and solutions for architects, including AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Revit and more.

Autodesk Revit is professional BIM (Building Information Management) software (US site) that provides powerful tools for professionals, allowing them to visualise and co-ordinate every aspect of an architectural project (US site) in a very accurate way. In SketchUp, a 3D shape is just a 3D shape, but in Revit, every form represents a real-world object.

Architects design buildings using software focused more on exteriors, while interior designers focus on the inside spaces of buildings and include furniture, fixtures and other accessories to create the desired look and function.