Chief Architect Software

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Chief Architect, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Computer software
Headquarters Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U.S.
Products Chief Architect / DIY Home Designer

Chief Architect Software is computer aided design software (CAD) for the home building industry created by Chief Architect Software, a software developer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, United States. Chief Architect Software is 3D architectural design products for the professional home design industry and the DIY home design markets.[1] Chief Architect is a benchmark product for BIM building information modeling as it applies to residential construction.[2] Released in 1992, Chief Architect Version 2 was a 3D computer graphics software product that ran on an early version of Microsoft Windows Version 3.1.[3][4] Chief Architect Software enables the novice computer user to utilize technology to quickly and easily visualize a design in both 2D and 3D rendering environments. This has put a 3D home design tool in the hands of builders, contractors and homeowners who have traditionally lacked the skills to run complex CAD software.[5]


Chief Architect software is a privately held company founded in 1981[6] in Palo Alto, CA. Initially the company was named Advanced Relational Technology, Inc. (ART) and developed relational databases. The company's founder, Jack Simpson, a physics PhD from Stanford University, was a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and relocated the company to Coeur d’Alene in the late 90's. At that time, he changed the business from database software to home design software. Around 2003, the name of the company name was changed to Chief Architect, Inc.

Chief Architect software was initially created for home design due to Simpson's frustration in designing by hand.[6] Finding that intuitive residential design software did not exist, Simpson created Chief Architect - a tool to design homes. Chief Architect's first version of this professional 3D CAD home design product line was officially sold as version 2.0. New versions released over the years with key automated building features to help improve the process for residential design.[7] In 1993, the company licensed a simplified version of the software to Broderbund for sale in the retail / DIY market. The company ended its relationship with Broderbund in 2002 following the release of 3D Home Architect 4.0.[1] In 2003, Chief Architect signed a license agreement with Meredith Corporation to license the name Better Homes and Gardens.[8] The company used Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer as the successor to 3D Home Architect. Finally in 2009, the company replaced Better Homes and Gardens name with Chief Architect Home Designer. In 2013, the company released its first mobile app "Room Planner" for the iPad market.[9] Subsequent Room Planner releases have added additional features and functionality including the ability to import Room Planner files into select Chief Architect products.

In February 2014, the company released its first Mac OS compatible version for the professional design market. This release is engineered in a way that allows users to run a single license on either a Mac or Windows computer and notably there is file compatibility when moving a plan between operating systems.[10]


Professional Home Design software
Chief Architect Premier, Chief Architect Interiors, Chief Architect Lite, Chief Architect Viewer
DIY/Consumer Home Design software
Home Designer Professional, Home Designer Architectural, Home Designer Suite, Home Designer Essentials, Home Designer Interiors, Home Designer Landscape & Deck
Mobile App Home Design software
Room Planner

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About Chief Architect Software". Chief Architect, Inc. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "BIM Goes Residential". Cadalyst. July 1, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ "A History of Windows". Microsoft. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Innovation and design in Readington Middle School". Feb 9, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Chief Architect 9.5 Makes 3-D CAD Easy". Builder Magazine. January 2004. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Butler, Joe (December 2006). "Software Puts the Home Design Process in Everyone's Hands". The Press. 
  7. ^ "Chief Architect 9.5 Fills Niche". Cadalyst. April 1, 2004. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ Rafter, Dan (8 January 2005). "Clicking Through the Big Picture". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ "iTunes Store Software". Apple, Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Chief Architect Introduces Mac-Compatible X6 Software". Builder. December 8, 2013. Retrieved February 23, 2014.