ArchiTECH Tuesday: Working with Spaces in AutoCAD Architecture

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Date: September 9, 2015

AutoCAD Architecture Spaces can be either Associative or Non-Associative.  Associative spaces are generated from space bounding elements like walls or lines with special properties.  When the boundary objects change, the space updates accordingly.  You can also create non-associative spaces with user-defined geometry in predefined sized rectangle shapes or polygon shapes.  A common workflow in use is to place all the interior partition and exterior walls prior to inserting or generating spaces.


When using the space creation tool in AutoCAD Architecture, you have multiple insertion or create types available.  Each time the “SPACEADD” tool is activated, you have the ability to change the “Create Type” by clicking on the option at the command line or on the properties palette.


Note:  If you are working with external reference files or owner provided files without Aecwalls, you can add space boundary lines or select the lines or polylines already provided and change their Bound spaces property to “Yes”.  This will allow you to quickly place spaces in a manner that is very similar to hatching using the Generate option.

Let’s review the available insertion types and how they are placed:

  • Insert – This non-associative tool inserts a space according to the dimensions set in the space style.  You have the ability to alter the space along a single dimension up to the maximum square footage limit defined in the style.


The insert option provides an opportunity to standardize sizes and styles based on a particular program.

  • Rectangle – This non-associative tool inserts a space by allowing the designer to pick two opposite corners of a defined boundary. Note you are required to pick something on the second pick; just clicking in space to assign a corner will not work.


This option is very useful when placing rectangular spaces and when using NON-ACA background xrefs or existing cad linework.  This is more flexible than the insert mode which is size limiting.

  • Polygon – This non-associative tool inserts a space by defining line segments representing the boundary of the space.  There is no limitation on the number of sides. This option also allows you to create arc segments. Like the polyline command, you can use “cl” to close the shape or simply pick “Close” on the command line to complete the command and generate the space.image009


Pay attention to the command line and the options it provides as shown in the image above. Note the “Arc” option is available when using the polygon placement method.


  • Generate – This associative tool assumes that you have defined a valid boundary for the space creation and will automatically review the existing geometry in the drawing to identify a collection of valid boundaries.  If no boundaries exist, you will see a prompt like the image below prompting you to select all visible objects to bound spaces, or select only objects that “should” bound spaces.


Choosing the latter option allow you to individually select objects interactively.  Benefits of the generate spaces command include:

  • Combining cad linework with intelligent walls to define boundaries
  • Generate all command (see image below) that allows you to place multiple spaces in a single option once the boundaries are selected.
  • AutoCAD Architecture is smart enough to ignore blocks, text, aec door swings and the like when finding boundaries.


Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today about AutoCAD Architecture spaces.


By: Richard Binning, Director of BIM Technology; Check out his blog: Beside the Cursor;