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But for architectural design, you want to work at a higher level than solids. You want to draw a 'wall' and then parameterize it - 8cm of outside brick, 2 cm of air, 5 cm of insulation, 14 cm of brick, 2 cm of plaster. Plus this needs to have the right hatch in 2d views etc.

Have you tried Chief Architect? It works rather well in this respect, it's really made for ease of use. I don't know how well it would scale for large projects though, I've only toyed with it for small residential design. Plus the estimating and electrical/HVAC tools are poor to non-existent.

I'm taking the view of an avant-garde designer in a firm that has a separate team of drafters to implement designs and construction documents. My focus is on the conceptual design phase, so I simply have different needs.

There are a number of programs, but most designers I know prefer Rhino (rhino3d.com) and the Grasshopper (grasshopper3d.com) plugin. Rhino is now adding Python (and OSX) support, but they still have a ways to go.

Never mind my other reply, I hadn't seen your response above. I had a quick look at Rhino, I hadn't heard about it before. I'm a bit surprised that you work with the same tools as e.g. an industrial designer, although when I think of it I can understand, with the lack of expressiveness in the specialized packages and all.

But do you do that high-level design in e.g. Solidworks? I don't have any experience with that side of the industry, I'm just curious and a bit surprised.

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