Maya for Architecture

An excellent program for 3D animation and visualization is Maya. Many architecture schools will use Maya in their courses. Maya is much more suited for architectural visualization over actual architecture design because it does not easily support the production side of architecture. This was first designed as an animation program and not for architecture. However, it is one of the best for conceptual architecture.


Many architecture firms are using visualization as a way to help sell a design or idea. The viewer will get a fantastic idea of the plans for the building if they can digitally walk through the entire building rather than relying on 2 dimensional drawings. Maya is quite good for these architectural visualizations because of the amount of flexibility it provides for shapes and architectural forms. There is an extension toolset that will complement any building information modeling. It is possible to do anything with Maya by using the MEL script.


It is possible to create a house using the NURBS surface modeling. This is slightly different from the traditional way to create a house with software. This is a version of polygonal modeling that is done for animation in Maya. This is a great way to create a digital house but is lacking when trying to translate the modeled house into something that can be built.


Maya can be used for architecture because it bases much of the modeling off of geometric design. Most houses use geometric shapes, and this technique can be applied when creating a digital house. In particular, Maya is a great way to determine the architectural idea rather than just the building. This is easily done with polygon design. The basic shapes of cone, torus, cylinder, square and circle can all be used to create the different buildings or building ideas. Learn the basics of using these shapes for design, and then eventually render the actual model from the geometric design.


Maya is used by architects for free form concepts. This is an excellent way to move beyond the normal limits of architectural design. Students can also use the tutorials in order to learn more about design software, as well as to try trials and obtain advice from experts. They can use Maya to become familiar with the type of language used to work with architectural software.

It is also possible to take an idea, create it in Maya, and then create the model. Most architectural software cannot actually help create the architectural idea. This conceptual advantage can make all the difference for innovative new designs.


There are some issues with using Maya for architecture, as it is not used widely in architecture outside of schools. While it is possible to use the software to create digital architectural elements, the software does not contain the precision tools needed by architects to convert that image to an actual building that will stand.

The accuracy of Maya works based on the pixel, and in architecture it is necessary to work based on millimeters or inches. Many architects become frustrated with this software for actual architectural design because the needed precision is not available. However, for concepts it works very well.