AEC Wall Objects

In AutoCAD® Architecture, a wall is an AEC object that represents the real-world features of an interior or exterior wall. The wall object contains all the geometry needed to represent a wall in 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) views. Walls are the basic components of any building plan. You can create very simple wall types that rely on standard settings and add them on the fly. A wall has one or more components, which are the materials used to construct the wall. Some components include brick, CMU, concrete, studs, air gaps, and insulation. The components of walls can also have modifiers, which change the shape of the component or its surface.

Wall styles control the appearance of wall objects. With wall styles, you can specify components, endcaps, materials, and other characteristics to create new types of walls, such as concrete walls, masonry walls, and brick cavity walls (see Figure 1). Catalogs provided with AutoCAD Architecture include sample wall styles for common wall types, such as concrete walls with footings or furring, CMU and brick cavity walls, and various stud partition walls. You can also work with casework wall styles that include counters, base units, and upper units.

When you add a wall to a drawing, you select a wall tool and then specify the points that define each wall segment. A wall can have both straight and curved segments. Wall direction is significant for some modifications to walls. Sample wall styles provided with AutoCAD Architecture were created with the intent that you place perimeter walls in clockwise fashion. After placing a wall, you can determine the wall direction by selecting the wall. The wall direction grip indicates the wall direction.

You can also reverse the direction of a wall. When you add doors, windows, door/window assemblies, and openings to a wall, the wall automatically adjusts to accommodate the object and adds endcaps where needed. By default, these objects are anchored to the wall and remain with the wall if you move it. If you remove an object from a wall, the wall repairs itself in the space where the object was located.

Figure 1: Style Manager

Wall Styles

Many characteristics of a wall are determined by the wall style. You can create simple wall styles that have a more symbolic display, or you can create detailed walls styles with a representational display, containing many elements the real wall will have. These settings are defined in the wall style:

  • Property Set data – if you want to tag a wall in a drawing or include it in a schedule table, you need to attach property set data to the wall or the wall style. Property data attached to a wall style typically contains automatic properties, like the wall height or the wall width, or manual properties that are identical for all walls of that style, such as the fire rating, for example.
  • Wall Components – in a wall style, you can define wall components.
  • Materials – in a wall style, you can define materials for the 2D and 3D display of walls, as well as for the rendering display of the wall. You assign materials to the wall components in the style. The components are then displayed using the display properties of the assigned materials. AutoCAD Architecture provides a large number of predefined materials for common design purposes. You can use these materials, modify them for your project requirements, and define new materials. To use a material in a wall style, it needs to be defined first in Style Manager.
  • Specifying Wall Display – the visual appearance of a wall is defined in the wall style. Define the layer, color, linetype settings of the individual wall components, hatching, and the cut plane display of the wall in plan views. The display settings defined in the wall style can be overridden for an individual wall.
  • Specifying Default Wall Settings – access the Options dialog box and specify the defaults for dimensioning walls and for wall cleanup. The cleanup settings apply only to new walls.
  • Using Wall Tools – tools provided with AutoCAD Architecture let you quickly place walls by selecting a wall tool with a specific wall style and other predefined properties (see Figure 2). You can also use wall tools to convert linework to walls and to apply the settings of a wall tool to existing walls. You can also access Stock Tool, Sample palette, and Design Tool catalogs. When you place walls using wall tools, you can use the default settings of the tool or you can change settings for any wall properties that are not controlled by the style.

You can work with wall and opening endcaps to create endcap conditions:

  • Modifying Wall Endcaps with Edit in Place Grips – you can use Edit in Place grips to modify wall endcaps and create the wall endcap conditions that you want. Vertex and Edge grips are displayed for all wall components at the wall endcap that you specify.
  • Creating Wall Endcaps Using Calculate Automatically – you can use the Calculate Automatically feature with appropriate polyline linework to create wall endcaps. Calculate Automatically will add boundary segments to complete an endcap configuration if the initial polyline is drawn with regard to location and orientation of the particular wall component.
  • Creating Wall Endcaps Using AEC Modify Tools – you can use AEC Modify Tools to manipulate wall components to create appropriate wall endcap configurations. Use Trim, Extend, Subtract, and Merge tools as necessary to do this. You can modify single wall components or you can modify all components at your wall endcap or opening at once.
  • Specifying Wall Endcaps by Style – in the wall style, you can define endcaps for the wall start and end. The standard endcap style is a straight line. If you need different endcaps, you need to create a wall endcap style and then assign it to the wall style.
  • Specifying Opening Endcaps by Style – in the wall style, you define the endcaps for any doors, windows, and openings inserted in the wall. By default, the opening endcaps are four straight lines for the jamb start and end and the sill and head of the opening.

Figure 2: Wall Styles

Editing Walls

After placing a wall, you can change its style, location, size, shape, basic geometry, and override the component priorities and the endcap styles of the wall. You can also move a wall, merge or join walls, reverse the direction of a wall, and change the shape of the roof line and the floor line of a wall. In addition, you can modify walls using other objects as interference conditions or body modifiers.

Depending on the type of editing you want to perform, various methods may be available:

  • After selecting a wall, you can click any non-grip point along the perimeter and drag the entire object to a new location.
  • You can drag the grips that are displayed on a selected wall to reorient it, resize it, or change other physical characteristics.
  • For grip edits where you are changing a dimension or an angle, the Dynamic Input feature lets you enter a precise value instead of moving a grip.
  • You can apply the properties of a wall tool to an existing wall or the properties of a curtain wall tool, slab tool, or roof slab tool to an existing wall.
  • You can change settings on the Properties palette (see Figure 3).
  • You can use editing commands from the object’s context menu.

Figure 3: Properties palette

Customized Wall Surfaces

Wall sweeps, wall (plan) modifiers, body modifiers, and interference conditions are features that you can use to create special conditions, such as chases, and to customize wall surfaces. These menus can be found when you right click on a wall (see Figure 4).

A wall sweep is a wall or a wall component whose shape is extruded horizontally from a profile that was created from a closed polyline. The profile “sweeps” along the length of the wall to define the shape of the wall or the wall component. The height and the width of the polyline you use to create the profile define the height and the width of the wall component. The profile is not scaled when swept on the wall. The insertion point of the profile becomes the lower-left corner of the wall component. After you create wall sweeps, you can miter wall sweeps that meet at a corner. You can also change how the sweep is applied to the wall:

  • You can edit the geometry that defines a sweep.
  • You can assign a sweep profile to a different wall component.
  • You can adjust the miter angles at each end of a wall that has a sweep profile.
  • You can remove a sweep profile from a wall or a wall component.

Wall modifiers use the 2-dimensional (2D) geometry of an open polyline to customize the shape of a wall or a wall component. To use wall modifiers, you draw a polyline in the shape you need and create a wall modifier style from the polyline. You can then add wall modifiers of that style to any wall. A wall can have more than one wall modifier attached to it. You specify the placement of a wall modifier, including its vertical and horizontal position and its depth. The wall modifier can be added at the drawn size of the polyline or scaled to a specific size. The wall modifier is then extruded vertically along the wall surface. You can add the wall modifier to one or both sides of the wall. When you select the face, you can also offset the wall modifier from the opposite face to create a bump-out, such as for pipe chases or interior columns.

After placing a wall modifier, you can adjust its placement, or assign the modifier to a different wall component. You can also edit the geometry of the wall modifier and save the changes to the current wall modifier style or to a new style. Wall modifiers take on the material assignment and the display properties of the wall component to which they are assigned. This allows you to use the same wall modifier on different types of walls. You save the geometry of a wall modifier as a wall modifier style. You can create the style when you add the wall modifier to a wall. You can also create a wall modifier first and then apply it to walls as needed.

Body modifiers use the 3-dimensional (3D) geometry of an object, such as a mass element or a mass group, to add to, subtract from, or completely replace one component in a wall. If the wall has only one component, the body modifier applies to the entire wall. If the wall has multiple components, the modifier applies only to the component that you specify. If you add the body modifier to a wall component, or use a body modifier to replace the component, the body modifier uses the material assignment and display properties of the wall component. After you create a body modifier from an object, you can delete the original object. However, if you have created a complex object, such as a mass group comprising many mass elements, you may want to retain the object in the drawing until you are sure you have the results you want for the wall.

Interference conditions use the geometry of 3D objects to create custom openings or cutouts in walls. You can specify how the interference condition is applied to the wall: added to the wall, subtracted to the wall, or ignored. Interference conditions apply to all wall components that the interfering object touches. The wall stops at the interference condition. The way in which you apply the interference condition to the wall determines how the shrink-wrapping of the wall is affected by the condition in plan view.

In model views, the interference condition is always subtractive, regardless of the shrink-wrapping option you selected. When you edit the object that acts as the interference condition, the wall changes to accommodate the changes to the geometry of the object. For example, you can move the interfering object to change its location on the wall. When you edit the object that acts as the interference condition, the wall changes to accommodate the changes to the geometry of the object. For example, you can move the interfering object to change its location on the wall. Moving the object off the wall does not remove the interference condition for the object. You can also change how interference conditions are applied to a wall, and you can delete interference conditions.

Figure 4: Wall menu

Wall and Opening Endcaps

You can define different kinds of wall endcaps and wall opening endcaps conditions. When you encounter an unsuitable wall endcap configuration, you can modify the shape, width, and depth of individual wall components to achieve the desired result.

Generally, you create a specific wall or opening endcap condition to use with a specific wall style. To modify endcaps, you can use the Edit in Place mode and manipulate wall components with Vertex and Edge grips. You can hide or show component edges. You can also use Fillet, Chamfer, Trim, Extend, Subtract, and Merge tools to modify wall components to create the configuration that you want. The Calculate Automatically feature can also assist you in adding boundary segments to complete your partial endcap designs. When necessary, you can override the wall endcap style assigned in a wall style. When you override the assigned endcap style, you can select a different endcap style for one or both ends of a wall segment.

Wall endcap styles are also used as a basis to define endcap styles for wall openings (see Figure 5). When a wall has an opening, such as a window or a door, the shape of the wall endcap at each edge of the opening can be defined. You use opening endcap styles to specify the wall endcap style applied to each edge of the wall adjacent to an opening. When you change a wall endcap style, all opening endcap styles based on that style are also modified.

Figure 5: Wall endcap styles

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