ToolTalk: Spaces 1.3 is an iPad concept design tool for architects

Spaces is a new iOS app for the conceptual design phases of architecture, specifically designed for Apple’s powerful iPad and Apple Pencil.

Spaces 1.3 is a sketch-based conceptual design tool for architects that runs on your Apple iPad. Developed by Cerulean Labs Limited in New Zealand, the new software is aimed at a segment of the architectural office that the company says has been traditionally underserved. Namely, design architects, managers and directors. Recently at version 1.2, the latest version 1.3 offers new coating tools and design options.

See most technologies such as CAD, 3D modeling and BIM solutions are for the final stages of the architectural design process; the first phases led upstream by the directors of architectural offices, mainly, tend to be much less served. This group is also historically older and, in many companies around the world, has a lower skill level in CAD and BIM software.

Spaces 1.3

Spaces is basically a 3D modeling program and leverages the Apple Pencil similar to Shapr3D. Unlike Shapr3D, Spaces is designed for architecture and includes tools that will help architects work more efficiently during the early iterative stages of design.

Spaces 1.3 is an Apple iPad application for design architects and architectural firm managers. This is a concept design app that works with the Apple Pencil.

For example, while the architect works starting with the general shape of the building, the data in square feet is calculated. Sculpt a facade and watch the overall area data change instantly.

Spaces also feature building levels or floors and these can be grouped and worked on independently. The program can also integrate site context data via Open Street Map and create surrounding buildings in one step.

Starts at free

Space the application just started and at version 1.3, the New Zealand-based developers are treating the new iPad tool as an open beta. Currently, users can download Spaces 1.3 for free from the Apple App Store. More advanced features are available through a paid subscription plan that includes a one-month free trial.

Space the application

Spaces 1.3 can harness the contextual power of Open Street Maps data.

We don’t know if Spaces will still include this freemium model with subscription-based plans for more powerful features or if this is temporary as the software tool evolves from this early stage. To find out more, visit here. And be sure to read our thoughts below.

Architosh analysis and commentary

This author-architect has long recognized the reality that industry has largely ignored the pre and early design phases of the AEC design process, turning its back on it as it focused on BIM and various “Ds” of BIM during construction planning and construction execution phases. Now the industry is focusing further on the phase line with digital twins, but the good news is that data from digital twins becomes useful when it comes back to the beginning of the process.

Thoughts on the iPad entry…

This app’s focus on the iPad makes sense from two perspectives. The first is that corporate managers and design architects begin their work on tracing paper. The initial work is super iterative and the tracing paper is just a great way to brainstorm the design. And in this case, the iPad merges the nature of the tracing paper (infinite scroll) with the sketchbook, something fewer architects seem to carry these days but which is still incredibly useful. The Spaces app is simply a new form of tracing paper.

The second perspective is that mobile tools like the iPad with Apple Pencil are very powerful in terms of processing. The current iPad Pro features the Apple M1 chip, a semiconductor that until recently was faster than any Intel chip on the market when it comes to single-core processing. And single-core processing is all that matters in 3D modeling. (for more thoughts on this, read what the founder of Shapr3D has to say about the iPad, (see: Architosh, “INSIDER: Shapr3D is Bold on Apple and CAD Dominance”, July 23, 2021). Tablets are the most mobile form of computer. when it comes to mobility. No one really designs on the big laptops of workstations; no design office manager wants to lug around such a device. What they want is is something like tracing paper.

This new app is a very exciting development and I look forward to seeing it back here on Architosh soon.