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iPad at Work: Architect

How does an architect use his iPad to get the job done and what iPad apps help get him through his day? TiPb’s iPad at work contest aims to bring you just such slices of the iPad life. Here’s DomArch's answer and as a small token of thanks we’re sending him a $20 iTunes gift certificate. If you want to see your name up on the TiPb home page and get a gift certificate all your own, head on over to the TiPb iPad Forum and share your story now!

As an architect, I knew as soon as I saw the iPad it would be helpful for my young business, and maybe give me an edge over some of my competition. Right off the bat, I realized that it was the perfect presentation tool for showing clients my work. Unlike a laptop, the client can hold the iPad in their hands as the photo album's built-in slide show showcases my portfolio. It's hard to describe the difference, but it's somehow more "personal" when they can hold the images in their hands; in addition, its less awkward than a traditional photo portfolio as well. But once I got started with it, I realized that that was the tip of the iceberg.

On the go, I can bring drawings with me as PDFs, and reference them at meetings, something I used to do with my iPhone but which is even more useful on the iPad because of the larger screen. The Adobe Ideas app and the Penultimate app have been incredibly useful for sketching out concepts and notes during presentations and meetings. I've been able to work on proposals and written specifications using Pages and both the on-screen keyboard and a Bluetooth keyboard. In the office, it has become my defacto email and calendar machine, allowing my desktop to become almost a true dedicated cad station.

The iPad is already more useful to me than I hoped it would be, but even better, I can see there is so much potential for better and better apps to come. I can't wait to see what people come up with for this great device!

What about you? Are you an architect? If so, which apps do you use for your job?

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at

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There are 20 comments. Add yours.

fastlane says:

You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect.

Daniel says:

But you're just a marine biologist :p

Trevor says:

But why stop there? Isn't city planner better?

Orion2021 says:

Nice piece. Can't wait for the second gen then I'll be using it for my work.

Kepops says:

I'm in the porn business.
I Use the ipad to scout for local talents. During audition I would use the 3gs for photo and video shoots, transfer it to the ipad an then use Reel Director to create the film portfolio for the local scout.
I would also use the ipad to create sketches of new positions and also for skit creation.
Then at the end of the day I would userhe ipad to review my creation.

joeblow84 says:

I'm a doctor. I use my iPad at work to play Plants vs Zombies between patients.

Seeking Ecopolis says:

@Trevor: yes, city planner is better [so says the urban & regional planning grad student, anyway ;) ]
I don't have an iPad yet, but I could see being able to do similar things as a planner, especially if I could bring an aerial photo or site plan into one of the mentioned apps to use as a background and then sketch alternatives on top of them.
Thanks for sharing this story; very inspiring use of tech!

Santakrooz says:

Try I've been using since I got my iPad. It's my favorite sketching/drawing app for iPad. Basically Illustrator/CorelDraw vector based drawing for iPad. Great for whiteboarding.

chris says:

I'm an architect as well and use the ipad daily. I use Evernote for storing all my client meeting or other notes as well as insiration images, reimbursable receipts, and other items such as contractor bids. I use penultimate for quick sketches or notes which are then sent to Evernote.
I have all my files on Dropbox so that I can access them anywhere. Any drawing I've sent out to contractors or clients is saved as a pdf so I can use Goodreader to view them from Dropbox and iAnnotate to mark them up. I can also forward them to a print shop for printing if needed.
For more detailed sketching than penultimate offers, I use Sketchbook Pro. The layers work great, just like trace paper overlays for working our options or refinements of a design.
I'm also using Timemaster for recording my time and exporting it to quickbooks. ToDo is a great todo list app that allows me to oragnize everything I have to do my client and them star those items I will focus on first.
And last, I use Logmein Ignition to get into my office desktop if everything above doesn't cover what I need!

iBlackdude says:

You guys should check Pastor K Price Jr from Crenshaw Christian Center in LA.
He's using his iPad for preaching :) cool !!

Su Butcher says:

Useful post, found thanks to @fotofacade. Am now tweeting to my architect friend who have asked about ideas for using ipads.

Robert Shawhan says:

I've actually developed an application for engineers and architects called GraphPad, which allows you to create accurate dimensional drawings. I still have quite a number of features to add, but I'm getting very good reviews from other engineers and architects who are using it. You can see the User's Manual and a couple of YouTube videos on my website:

Aumarchitect says:

yes ipad has indeed changed a lot for architects too. i use autocad WS and take my ipad to my sites. its easier than using all those paper drawings to refer at a project site. my clients are really impressed with the tech im using, especially here in India

Marcos says:

Im an architect and i use my ipad all the time. I check my email and organize my calendars on it. The most useful app for me at the moment is ibooks, to bring with my all my pdf´s with plans and drawings. Also i take everywhere my renderings inside the photo albums.
I have autocad ws and adobe ideas, but im not using them because i dont see them so useful. I think they should improve this apps in order to be more efficient and practical. I really hope there are new apps coming soon to the app store specifically for us architects, because ipad has the potential for becoming something BIG for us.
For sketching i really would like to find a good stylus for drawing more precisely. Fingers are kind of too rough for sketching with good results.

Broussi says:

dagi stylus is the one you're looking for. It has a transparent tip with a tiny black dot so you can actually draw or write in Penultimate with precision.
You may also want to check Autodesk Sketchbook pro for drawing, "undo" and access all tools with three fringers has changed my life.
I agree though that WS is not such a great app although I do use it sometimes. I wouldn't complain though, for the price it's quite a bargain.

Swede says:

Have to agree that Autocad WS unfortunately lacks quite a bit in functionality. Hopefully, they will bring the LT version to the iPad once iPad 3 is released.

Niyi Olawoyin says:

Wow, that's good to hear. I am an architect and I recently got my iPad, never knew it could be helpful for my work. Thanks for the tip. But what's the app you use called

Vishal Charles says:

I made a list of apps I use with a couple of wishlist apps. I hope other architects will also share their favorites here:

Pieter Eerlings says:

Hey architects. We recently launched ArchiSnapper (, an app for architectural site reports without the headaches! It lets you collect and document relevant data, pictures and even remarks with your smartphone or tablet during construction site visits. ArchiSnapper generates and sends out your PDF reports with a single mouse click. I’m curious about your feedback on this app.

Please let me know if you want to try it out with some help of me…