Monday, July 11, 2011

Linking the Smith House Site Cad File into Revit: Part One

Hello again, I know it’s been awhile, what can I say the Mavericks had an awesome playoff run, I also had to finish up some Contract work, and I also became a Certified 2011 Revit Professional. Over the last month I finished modeling The Smith House (Fig. 1) and now it just needs a site to sit on. So in this Two Part post I am going to create a 3d site plan for the Smith House in cad and then link the cad file into Revit.
Fig. 1
The first step is to import a image file of the Smith House Site Plan into a cad file, which I've named Smith House Site Plan. I scale the image to the proper size. ( Fig 2).and rotate the image to True North, so that when I link the site file into Revit the site is at True North (Fig. 3) 

Fig. 2
So now I'm ready to trace the contour lines using a combination of Spline lines and Polylines to create the site.(Key Shortcut spl & pl) (Fig. 4) After tracing the contour lines I make sure that I join the connecting Polylines & Splines lines together (Key Shortcut J) so that the contour line is one continuous Polyline.

With the lines joined I am going to assume that because the Smith House sits next to Long Island Sound that the first contour line is going to be at sea level. So starting with 0' I'm going to raise each contour line 1' until the last contour line which sits at 33'. (Fig. 5) is what the site looks like from the front view.
Fig. 3
After we save the file I close Autocad, I open a new Revit project file. I am now going to make a Site Template so that from now on I can just open this template to create a Site for future projects.

First, I change the name of Level One to Sea Level. Then opening up an elevation view and delete Level 2. After that I  delete any view in the Properties Palette that I don't need in a site file such as the ceiling plans or an elevation. (Don't worry you can always create a new view if you need one.) Then I am going to save the file as a Template called Master Site Template. 
Fig. 4

Now we are almost ready to Link the file into Revit. I open the Site View and go to the Properties Palette. I change the Orientation to True North then scroll down to the View Range.

When you click on the View Range you get a View Range dialog box (Fig. 6). Every view has a view range property, which is a set of planes that controls the view visibility or view range and are broken up into three planes.
Fig. 5
 The Top Plane represents the topmost view and is set in the Site to 200' which is fine because our Site height is only 33'. I set the Associate Level to Sea Level
The Cut Plane  is where the view will cut into geometry, which is typical at 4' in the floor plan views. The Site view it is set by default to 200' which is again fine for this particular project.
The Bottom Plane is the very lowest level of the view range. and is set by default to Level Below. then I click apply.

Fig. 6
Now I am ready to Link the Site File into Revit. So I go to Insert Tab, click on the Linked Cad Panel, you get a Dialog Box (Fig. 7) so that you can navigate to the cad site file. at the bottom of the dialogue box there are a few options were we change 

Color: Preserve 
Layers: All
Import units: feet
Positioning: Auto Origin to Origin,  In this case I will chose Origin to Origin. because I positioned the site in cad to 0,0
Place at: Sea Level 

Note: Make sure you don't click the current view ( Which Is to the Left) because If you do, you wont be able to create a toposurface later on. Click OK and the cad file is linked into the Revit File.(Fig. 8) In part two I will link the Smith House Project file into the new site File and Publish the coordinates back to the project file. 

Fig. 7
Fig. 8    


  1. Hi,

    I am an architectural student and I am practicing digital modelling on smith house for my school project. Your blog has been very useful and inspiring. I was wondering whether you could share me your CAD site plan as I couldn't find anywhere and I am not sure how to build the site. I hope that you could help me.

  2. i was wondering is there a way you could send me the smith house by richard meier through a revit file. my email is really need your help through for this class. thank you

  3. Hello, i am a french architectural student and I have to do an analysis concerning the smith house. I would have need this document.. So, i was wondering if you can share me it. That's my email box :
    Thank you very much

  4. I just modeled the same house in my Intro to Revit class! Would you be willing to share your model as a comparative piece so I could better fix some of my mistakes. Id like to see what an industry standard model should look like.. My email is Thank you and well done.

  5. Hey there. I'm an architecture student and I was wondering if you could send me the Autocad file of the site plan of this house because I need to do a model of it. It would be so helpful, my email is:

  6. Hello I am an architecture student studying the smith house. Would it be possible for you to send me the 3d revit file and the cad files. It would really be a pleasure if you send me the files. My email address is

  7. can you please send me the autocad file to ?

  8. It's possible to have the model in Revit or autocad file? please is very important...for university exam! my email

  9. can you please send me the autocad file to ?

  10. can you send me the autocad file to

  11. hii
    is it possible to have the model in Revit or autocad file?
    please it s very importan for my university exam!
    my email is :