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How to be More Productive and Engaging: 9 Apps Every Architect Needs

It's important that when we first begin a conversation with a potential client they know that communication is key for us - to facilitate constant access, we rely on technology in order to be able to address concerns, document, and communicate with our team - in the office or on site, and everywhere in between. How many times has your hired professional worked on your project as they are flying 35,000 feet in the air?

From a 3D printer to our iPhones, we don't just consider ourselves tech-heavy, but savvy. Which is why we have compiled a list of what we consider to be the best apps for our industry. Check them out below:

This app is visually fun and interactive, but also a vital communication tool for our studio. By uploading our renderings to the app, we not only have the capability to "walk" around a project, but answer questions instantaneously for clients or consulants. BIMx has the ability to measure, provide material information, and seamlessly transition from 3D renderings to 2D plans. The app is also compatible with Google Carboad VR, which allows a user to get a real-life feel of the space. A unexpected feature? The convenience of being able to present all in one app. "I love that you can show a client a BIMx model without having the clutter of opening the file(s) on your workstation," says Intern Architect Brian Gladden. Availble in iOS or Android.

A studio favorite, and for good reason: PDF Expert is perfect for marking up - you guessed it - pdfs. "This app is my default to open email attachments, sign documents like conditengency modifications, and redline drawings," explains Principal Erika Hagan. Available for iPhone or iPad.

Easily one of the more intuitive drawing apps available. +HSHA uses this app regularly on site; we can take a photo, mark it up, and send it out to the appropriate parties so everyone is on the same page. This is a favorite of Principal Monty Stark's, "most of my experience in this app is with an 'audience' – with collaborators, in meetings, with clients – and sometimes tethered to a big screen in a conference room. I am able to take their site, their plan, images of their space, and converse with them about THEIR project – right then and there." He loves it so much, he wrote a love letter of sorts about it. Available for iOS or Android.

When you are working on multiple projects as a team, an app like Wunderlist is indispensible. It allows you to organize, manage, and share to-do lists with team members while also creating deadlines for each user. You can set up reminders and alerts to keep everyone on-task and add notes to keep all communications in one place. Available for iOS or Android.

Need something a bit more entertaining to get the job done? Habitica (formerly HabitRPG) is a productivity gaming app that helps you track your habits and goals by turning your to-do list into monsters you have to defeat. The more tasks you're able to complete, the farther you go in the game! Available for iOS or Android.

Though Procreate admittedly has a steeper learning curve than other drawing apps, it placed in the top five of most of our lists. "Once you get the hang of it, you won't go back to the free drawing apps" promises BIM Manager Jan Millán. Paired with an Apple Pencil, Procreate becomes the closest thing to pen and paper for crafting typology, illustrations, and sketches. In fact, many of us use this app for our annual Christmas card design charette. Available for iOS.

The Makerbot app allows us to have a connection to our 3D printer no matter where we are; we can remotely download models, print, pause, and access the printer's camera to monitor progress. Available for iOS or Android.

From the makers of PDF Expert, Scanner Pro allows you to skip the bulky machines and use your iPhone or iPad as a mobile scanner. Simply take a photo of a document and the app will turn it into a PDF file, detecting edges and fixing shadows for a perfect "scan." Available for iOS.

Developed by Google, Snapseed is arguably the best photo editor app out there. Offering plenty of tools and filters, it appeals to professional photographers while maintaining accessbility for any user looking to simply play around with their photos. Available for iOS or Android.


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