Spring is finally here. As the countriside wakes from its slumber, and work starts on the fields, let's take a walk on the main street of a fictional village, made in ARCHLine.XP. Let's appreciate the folk- and traditional architectural solutions, and see what we can learn from the old masters.

The houses in our sight reflect traditional carpentry and masonry solutions of a turn of the century Hungary. Such houses can still be found occasionally, battling with time and the elements, some enjoying Cultural Heritage protection. As always, drawing these structures in ARCHLine.XP was a good excuse for us to show some useful features you can apply to your day-to-day work, so look out for the how-to sections and explanation on how we did this project. Let's see our first stop.


The Farmer's House (built around 1890)

The first house we see, built for a farmer and his family, is divided into 3 rooms, typical of this time period. From the porch we enter the kitchen, with one room on each side, as it was usual for two generations to live together. On the gable wall we find a "sunshine" pattern, typical of Southern Hungary. This pattern means that there was a developed timber industry nearby, and that carpenters were skilled enough to create this shape (and other, even more complicated layouts).

We had some nice scanned 2D floorplans of this building, so we started our work by importing these into ARCHLine.XP, and calibrating them...


...then, we used the Wall tool to turn our 2D drawing into a 3D model, gradually. While drawing the walls, we also added the openings by using the floorplan as reference.


The gable wall's "sunshine" pattern was made with the Sweep tool - more on that later. Let's continue to the next house.


The Miller's House (built around 1900)

This dwelling is also divided into 3 rooms - but the ornaments speak of a wealthier owner. Baroque shapes (as seen on the firewall) appear. Note that many houses of this era had even more, less subtle, even church-like decoration patterns on their facades. The western side holds the porch, with columns and arches.

The unique facade of the building was made with the Profile tool. In ARCHLine.XP, you can reshape almost any 3D element, by drawing a new profile for it. So we positioned the wall's profile onto the scanned, and calibrated elevation drawing. Then, we simply retraced the shape, node by node (as seen on the left). This was done with standard 2D drafting tools (polylines, arches, etc.), creating a new profile, which ended up turning our 3D wall into the desired shape (as seen on the right).


The firewall's covering ornament was made with the Sweep tool - similarly as we did above, we re-traced the elevation drawing to give a path to a profile, with pre-defined texture and dimensions. The resulting solid was then snapped onto the firewall, via its reference line (shown in red below)


The arches of the porch were also made with the Profile tool - this time, however, the editing of the shape was made in 3D for a better control on the outcome. Generally speaking, whether you perform a task in ARCHLine.XP within the 2D or 3D mode is a matter of convenience. As most features are avaiable in both view modes, use whichever is easier to accomplish in the given situation.


Let's look at something more challenging now.


The Merchant's House (built around 1910)

The Merchant built its house in a way that it brings up historical and classicist forms, to show that the onwer is not only wealthy, but he is also culturally sophisticated. For those, who could afford hiring builders who mastered creating plaster and terracotta ornaments, the facade became the pride of their houses. Art deco and secession style facades were also in fashion for similar houses built in a few decades later.

The gateway's large and heavy leaves demanded expert carpentry skills, and had to be shipped from larger towns, where workshops prepared them en-masse. Consumerism was truly on the rise.

In order to create the beautiful decoration patterns on the facade (and on the architraves, pillars, etc.), we used the multipurpose Sweep tool. We first defined a cross section profile in 2D, with the regular 2D drafting tools. For this, we could always use an existing drawing - this time we didn't have any, so we improvised...


...then, we dragged the section profile along the surfaces, resulting in a 3D solid (seen in red). The same method was used to create the patterns on the gates. Note that you might end up with dozens of entities forming one object - you might want to group these entities turning into one single object. This not only gives a better control over your design, but also prevents having to work with too many elements, which all behave differntly.


Once we were done with creating the buildings, we spent some time finding the right textures, and setting them up in a way to look good on the later renderings.


Also, setting the Sun in the right position is exactly what allowed us to see some nice shadows. After prompting up a nice background image, and making a few tweaks on the material settings, we first did a draft render (to see if the current settings would look good), then we let ARCHLine.XP's integrated rendering engine take care of the final renders.

The above illustrates that, just like with any other 3D modeling software, we shoud dare to experiment and explore what a software has to offer - just like how the old masters experimented with how to turn regular, purpose-built dwellings into remarkable sights.

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This article made extensive use of the study "Architectural Heritage of Óbecse" by Beszédes Valéria Dévavári

The scanned floorplans and elevation drawings are in the same study, made by Violeta Matešić.



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