Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to add column and beam to a house using Archicad

Earthquake has been the major natural disaster that causes many damages to man made structures. Concrete house which is not strengthen with columns and beams can be vulnerable to earthquakes. Archicad of Graphisoft is very robust software. It has features that can be used to design columns and beams. Their sizes can also be customized for an earthquake resistant house. In Archicad, we can set the size and height of columns and beams as well as their color and material.
To design an earthquake resistant house, first, we need to know its technical requirements. When earthquake occurs, it moves the house on reciprocating horizontal direction. The concrete structure of the house has to withstand such movement. Concrete material can withstand great pressure but cannot with stand tensile stress. Architects need to stiffen and reinforce concrete walls with beams and columns which are reinforced inside with steel frames or reinforced bars and rods. I am not going to discuss in detail about how to determine the size and number of the steel bars but I only want to show how to add column and beams to strengthen the walls of the designed house using Archicad of Graphisoft.
After launching the Archicad, open a file or make a rectangular room such as the one below:
earthquake-resistant-house-1.jpg
Usually, home designer add columns to every corner of the house. Click column in the toolbox of your Archicad to activate the tool. You may probably need to set certain parameters of the column, to do that, double click the column tool. A window will show up. You can adjust the size, and height of the column as well as the material it composed of. Look at the following floor plan drawing above. The columns have to be tied to the steel structures of the house foundation.
After installing or adding the columns to every corner of the house, you can then add beams on horizontal direction above the walls. Similar to the column tool, if you want to do some adjustment to beam's size, location and material, you will need to double click the beam tool. Then, draw or trace the beams along the top edge of the walls. Your designed house or room should look like this on South Elevation.
earthquake-resistant-house-2.jpg
You must remember that an earthquake resistant house has got various design factors which we have to adhere to. Some of them are the type of the foundation, composition of the mortar, bricks and sand; the size and depth of columns, the beam; and the joints of walls with the columns and beams of the house. Steel rood and wire mesh can be used to tie the walls with columns and beams in order to prevent it from collapse during earthquake. Latest innovation in earthquake proof building is the application of rubber dampers that can significantly reduce shocks. These rubber dampers are installed under the structure of the house or building. 
After adding column and beam to your house in Archicad, you can see it in 3D view by right clicking your mouse and select the photo rendering projection option. Your design should look like this.
earthquake-resistant-house-3.jpg
by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

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