Blender is an excellent tool to use for architectural visualisations of both interiors and exteriors. There is a a large number of helpful third-party tools that help speed up or perfect the workflow for creating such visualisations, and the best of these are so useful that sooner or later you won't be able to live without them. Here's a list of the top 11 of these best architecture add-ons for Blender:
For most addons, the installation process is similar and also quite simple:
Let's take a closer look at the list now.
Website: Blendermarket - PSA
This addon is an absolute must have not only for outdoor architectural visualisations but just about any scene that is rendered with the sky visible in shot. Physical Starlight and Atmosphere PSA lets you create entirely procedural and volumetric skies and atmospheres with ease in both Eevee and Cycles.
Whether you're looking for a sunny day atmosphere or a night scene, every single aspect of the sky is customisable. Stars can be added as HDRIs or even entirely procedurally for a more unique look. Similarly, clouds can be added with just a couple clicks with tons of customisation options for scale, thickness, coverage, and more.
One of the major issues with using an HDRI or image background for a render is aligning the horizon with your scene such that the sky looks just right, as this can be a real hassle to get right if the perspective is off even slightly. This addon even procedurally generates basic ground planes to automatically align with the sky and meet perfectly with the horizon every single time, so you no longer need to worry about getting it right through trial-and-error.
The basic version of the addon, which comes with community support and free updates, comes in at $58, whereas the price goes up to $87 for single license use and $328 for multi-seat licence use of the software, and is entirely worth the price.
Website: CAD Sketcher Blender add-on
For those that are used to CAD programs such as Autodesk or CATIA, the CAD sketcher addon is a must-have. Open source and entirely free, this addon allows users to create meshes in Blender using geometric constraints such as tangents, distances, angles, etc. to create precise 2-dimensional sketches. These sketches can then easily be converted into 3D meshes using Blender's native tools.
CAD Sketcher also helps you achieve a non-destructive workflow, as constraints can be changed at any point based on requirements.
This addon is especially helpful for architectural designs, where blueprints may need to be drafted or recreated to real-world measurements in an efficient manner before the final visualisation can be modelled. Not only is it a major time saver, but also helps to efficiently create a precise starting point for the rest of your workflow.
Currently, CAD Sketcher requires a Blender version of 2.92 and above, as well as an extra installed python module for the addon to run. More info on this can be found on the official site.
Website: BlenderBIM.org Blender addon
Building information modelling (BIM) is conventionally done using dedicated CAD software such as Autodesk. However, the BlenderBIM addon is a comprehensive and rich tool for detailed BIM within Blender itself.
The possibilities with BlenderBIM are endless. From viewing building models and spaces to creating 2D drawings or even schedule or resource sheets, it can do it all. It allows project-scale management of building sites, as it works with comprehensive and precise data and manages the digital representation of the physical and functional aspects of such projects.
BlenderBIM lets you add new objects to your file using pre-made library assets, investigate and edit structural analysis data, derive material quantities and costs from models, and much more. It's ideal for architectural projects that are more about the functional aspects of a property rather than the visualisations.
For those who frequently find themselves working on architectural visualisations, Archipack is an amazing addon to save lots of time on modelling repetitive items such as walls, doors, windows, and stairs. The free version of the addon provides assets for these items and more, so that you can focus on the more detailed aspects of your scene.
The advanced version, which has a fixed price of €49.00 (+ VAT), comes with even more helpful tools and features including architectural primitives, a material library, real-time on screen user interfaces, UV tools (including randomness generators), advanced features to export models for video game engines, and much more.
The ease of use makes it an amazing base addon to speed up your workflow in an efficient and hassle-free manner.
The Blender Building Tools addon is another great tool to have under your belt for frequent architectural design projects. With just a couple simple clicks, it can be used to create houses and other buildings by adding preset floors, windows, balconies, roofs, etc.
Unlike other addons, where you might be provided with a model you must adjust accordingly, the Building Tools addon can automatically create features. For example, rather than needing to create a hole in a wall and add a window model, you can simply select a face and click on the "Add Windows" button in the dedicated tab in the N-Panel, and adjust the geometrical properties of the window using simple operators. This workflow is essentially the same for most of the features in the tool.
With just a little bit of tweaking and editing, you can have an archviz-ready project incredibly quick!
Building cities is slow, repetitive, and hence often can even get boring when you're trying to model tons of unique buildings to fill up the background or the skyline of your scene. Citybuilder 3D is an amazing solution to this problem, as it provides over 115 unique building assets from different categories and themes, including industrial, metropolitan, soviet, cyberpunk, medieval, and warzone (among others).
The high-quality and fully textured assets are great for creating entire cities for still renders or even animations, as it includes a cinematic camera movement rig within the addon as well.
The newest version of the addon now also includes Unreal Engine project files of each of the different theme packs, for more efficient export into game engines.
The total price of the full addon is $79.00 (+ tax), although the separately themed asset packs are also available for prices ranging from $36.00 to $47.00. There is also a growing library of just procedurally made buildings, available for a fixed price of $65. The camera movement rig is available within each of these asset packs without any additional costs.
Website: Github - Blender GIS add-on
For those working on recreating real cities within Blender, BlenderGIS is the perfect all-in-one tool to import terrain and open street map (OSM) data from Google and satellite data. The addon creates a dropdown menu in the top left bar in your 3D viewport, which controls all the settings you need. You can create a basemap, which allows you to zoom in on an interface shown in top-down orthographic view and select any area on the world map to import the terrain.
Afterwards, having the terrain selected, you can choose to load the terrain data (like displacement), which is automatically added as editable subdivision surface and displace modifiers to the plane.
Similarly, you can import OSM data and choose from a wide range of options to select what sort of objects (roads, buildings, etc.) you would like to import as well. Most building objects are fairly simple cuboids, so are mainly just used for very distant shots or as a base to model new meshes on top of. It should be noted that the addon does not provide textures, so the models must be unwrapped and textured seperately.
Whether you're trying to create an accurate model of a neighborhood or a distant animation of some aerial footage, BlenderGIS is a must have for recreating real life towns and cities.
Website: SceneCity add-on
SceneCity is another extensive addon which covers just about anything you might need to create detailed, high-quality cities within Blender. Similar to Blender's own geometry nodes, SceneCity works with a node-based setup, giving you total control while designing your city with a non-destructive workflow. There are nodes for adding buildings, roads, and even procedural facade textures, among others. You can even add procedural clouds with customisable densities and colours.
The addon costs $97.00, and is suitable for all Blender versions above (and including) 2.92.
Website: The Grove 3D Blender add-on
Sometimes you just need trees with those exact shapes and sizes that suit your particular unique architectural visualisations, and The Grove is just the solution to this. The Grove let's you create and simulate trees that are as realistic as you can get, with tons of different tree types that grow relative to the rest of your scene. Their growth can depend as much or as little as you'd like on the lighting, spacing, and sizing of the environment around them.
The Grove lets you build high quality trees which still remain lightweight to render, all whilst maintaining incredibly high levels of detail with twigs, branches, berries, flowers, you name it.
The meshes are entirely animatable, and can even be animated to show a timelapse of their growth in the exact unique environment they find themselves in.
With thousands of different tree species and twig types, the cost of €140 for indie artists becomes totally worth it for those creating high-quality realistic trees. Moreover, you can choose to only purchase the twigs you want and need, with a vast library to pick from to get assets that perfectly suit your desired climate.
Website: Github - Mtree Blender Add-on
The addition of trees is quite important for many exterior architectural visualizations to showcase the planned environment around the project, and Mtree is a great addon for just that. The free addon introduces a new editor into Blender, which can be opened in a separate window to add a new tree.
Mtree works in a similar way to Blender's native geometry nodes. This means that tree meshes can be created using a combination of unique nodes to get limitlessly unique results.
Although you may need a tutorial or two to get familiar with the functioning of each node, the customisation options are incredibly vast yet straightforward enough to get the hang of quickly.
From changing the number, angle, and density of branches to even adjusting the chance of branches breaking, it can do anything you might need for getting the right look for just about any type of scene.
Website: Blenderkit add-on
Blenderkit is an amazing and vast asset library with tons of assets on almost every thing you can think of. From food items to furniture and decorations to entire buildings and vehicles, it truly has it all.
The full version of the addon comes at a monthly subscription of $9.5/month or a yearly one at $72/year, which is incredibly affordable on its own. However, even the free version has an incredibly large asset base with over 13,000 different assets including models, materials, HDRIs, and even entire scenes.
The addon is very easy to use, with a comprehensive settings tab in the viewport N-panel in which you can search any asset with a filterable search bar, also available separated by category.
Blenderkit also has a smaller version of the search bar displayed in the top centre of the 3D viewport with the same options and filters. The assets are entirely optimized and also editable to your liking, so you can take apart the parts that you need or even edit the shaders of different materials.
We've gone through some of the best and most popular Blender addons for architectural design or archviz projects. The possibilities to create are endless with a combination of these addons installed, and you can save tons of time with lots of helpful tools and assets so you can focus on creating creative and beautiful architectural renders.
Thanks for reading!