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    By John Flanagan


    There are many approaches to creating 3D Geometry and designing building forms and in Revit we have several environments or workspaces in which to do this. This blog will describe each of the working environments available to us in Revit.

    1: The Project Environment

    The first environment is the standard Project Environment, easily identifiable by the building modelling tools on the Ribbon. This is the most familiar environment in which you simply select a tool and start modelling.

    Building Modelling Tools


    2: The Family Editor Environment

    The second environment is the Family Editor Environment. When you select a family e.g. a piece of furniture and click edit family you will open the Family Editor Environment. In this environment you will be looking at four different views of the family. The environment in the Family Editor is very similar to the project environment but there are some distinct differences. If you look at the Ribbon you will see that all of the modelling tools have been replaced with family editor tools. Now we have tools such as extrusions, blends and revolves instead of walls, doors and windows etc. The other noticeable difference is that we don’t have levels and grids. In the Family Editor environment we use reference planes where the geometry gets built from.

    Building Forms Tools


    3: The Conceptual Massing Environment

    The Conceptual Massing Environment looks quite different from the Family Editor and Project Environments. A gradient filled background is the biggest indicator that we are somewhere else. The environment shows levels and reference planes directly on screen. If you look at the Ribbon you will see a completely different set of tools. You don’t see 3D forms directly. To create a 3D form in this environment start off by drawing a shape, select the shape and turn it into a solid form.


    4: The In-Place Massing Environment

    This is the most confusing environment because if your working in a project initially and select a mass object onscreen you can then Edit In-Place. This takes you into a special case version of the conceptual massing environment – if you look at the ribbon you will see all of the same tools that were available in the conceptual massing environment. The difference is that you are now viewing them from within a project. Think of the In-Place Massing environment as a hybrid between the project and the conceptual massing environment.


    Any of the four environments can and often are employed in typical building and design projects. Working in different environments in Revit is similar to workspace switching in AutoCAD.