Control Joints and Strong Air in ARCHICAD

Recently I’ve been writing about creating siding in ARCHICAD over on BIM Engine. In my second article (which is actually the third in the series, the first being about the where, when, and who of renderings), there are control joints in many of the images I use. I was actually talking about the wood siding you can see in the rendering below (which is an image based siding), but I’m sure the control joints on the right caught people’s attention. If you want to catch up on those other posts before or after we talk about control joints, here are the links:

Controlling Your Model

Getting the most out of ARCHICAD and/or BIM is about finding the balance between the automation provided by the program and manual processes that give you complete control. An automated process that forces you to manually complete the last 2 or 20% might be harder to manage than one that automates only 2 or 20% of the total process. What matters is that the automated aspects are a complete system. A good example of this is elements linked to a central Complex Profile. You might have to place the elements individually but the Complex Profile allows for automated management. Coincidentally that is the process I am advocating for today! While the technique I describe in the video might feel overly cumbersome and manual, it’s actually amazingly flexible and easy to manage. By relying on Priority Junctions rather than Solid Element Operations, the cuts are always active, from the moment you create the elements. The cuts are automated and require little to no management from you. There is no need to maintain them or weigh down your file with countless SEOs. There is no need to chop up your main wall elements or jump through 2D hoops for your elevations. You can turn on and off the control joint elements (Beams and Columns) while always retaining the cut, so it’s a simple process to keep them hidden and turn the elements on when you need to rearrange the joints. Plus since the control joints are physical elements, they are scheduleable. How about a control joint schedule that lists the length, width, or quantity of joints? That could be cool.

I don’t mention it in the video, but the other skill you’ll need to have to make modeling control joints super efficient is a mastery of Align and Distribute. If you have to place evenly spaced control joints, add a bunch, then use Align and/or Distribute to get them in the right places. Array from the pet palette or drag multiple copies work well too, but I tend to rely on visual solutions that allow me to begin loosely—like Distribute. Here’s a link to my article and video on Align and Distribute. It’s worth the six minutes of your time. And if you can’t be bothered to click on that link, below is the video (because seriously, it’s that important to know if you are going to follow me on the path to modeled control joints):

Bonus Technique!

The Air Space Override Building Material is useful for so much more than control joints. I first used it to create chases that look amazing in both 2D and 3D views. With this technique, just place a column on your wall layer and set it to your Air Space Override BMat (and if your template doesn’t already have that BMat, get my template). The Column will cover (and destroy the gyp. bd.) in all views, automatically. Perfect, huh? By the way, this is an evolution of James Murray’s classic Fixing Wall Corners with Columns solution. Well I think this is the last blog post for 2015. I’ll save everything else I’m writing for the New Year. Thanks for all the support and let’s do some amazing architecture in 2016 and beyond.

Follow Shoegnome on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Model intelligently and with purpose. Sometimes modeling more makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t.




  1. Jennifer December 17, 2015
    • Jared Banks December 17, 2015
  2. Andy Kilanowski December 29, 2015
    • Jared Banks January 2, 2016
  3. Martin Isak Jansen January 4, 2016
    • Jared Banks January 4, 2016

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