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Creating a split level in a 3D model


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I've hit a roadblock trying to create a split level in a 3D model of a two story house. An 18cm change in level needs to be included in the 1st story, but at creation I left the floor slab as a continuous level. I wish to edit and introduce the split level into the slab.

Should a change in level be represented with a separate Story, Foundation and Floor Slab, or can this be represented within a single story?

I've tried dividing the floor slab and representing the raised part with a different Story and slab including dimensions, but without success. Is there any specific workflow protocol for this, or is there a more straightforward way to approach making the model which I am overlooking.

I am experiencing a similar frustration (in the 3D model) with knowing how to create and join a long slab, with a change in level, that joins two sets of steps that run on the exterior of a building from the upper to the garden level. One video I watched approached making simple stairs in the Spotlight workspace, but I'm unable to find this in VWx Architect 2020. I'm also unable to customise the steps, slab and staircase into a single object with the Stair tool in the Architect Workspace where I find the parameters of the tool are too constrained, unless I am missing something?

Any suggestions would be very welcome.

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I seem to remember that @Wes Gardner has a sample file for split level setup somewhere in the forum.  In general, a change in level can not be a different story because stories have to stack and can't overlap.  From memory, you'll need to offset the floor slab on one of the stories (possibly to a defined "level") and then use the "fit walls to objects" to attach the walls appropriately.  It's a bit of a pain, and making changes is not automatic - you'll end up having to redo the fit walls to objects if you move the slabs.  Good luck!

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I tend to use a single Story for both (split) levels

but have (some) duplicated Levels.

Like FinishFloor_A and FinishFloor_B.


And maybe two or more Wall Style Duplicates with Components set

to these Levels.

Depends on what makes more sense for your specific Project.

As you can also overwrite Wall Heights or Slab Levels by OIP.

Like adding a + 1,20 meter for the Elements on the "split" Level.

Or just use old school Layer Wall Heights and Offsets from

your Layers.


But it is cool to be able to also bind things like Stairs to these

duplicated Levels, so everything stays parametric when you need

to change heights later.


Edited by zoomer
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I did such in the past with a Restaurant which had at least 4 different Slab Levels

in my Entry Story. And I was able to bind everything to that Story's Level Duplicates.

Just for curiosity.

Concerned Walls where overwriten by OIP.

Which was good as I had a paper copy of a single floor plan only and counted

the wrong Stair Riser Height. Had to adjust the Level Heights 3 times.

And all Walls, Slabs, Doors, Windows and Stairs followed as expected.

Edited by zoomer
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@jcrock, here's a brief explanation of model set-up and a sample file for a split-level building.  You might want to run through all the Saved Views as well as explore the Default Story Levels to see the initial set up.  It's not by any means all worked out but hopefully will get you started.





Split Level Building Brief.docx Split Level Example.vwx

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  • 11 months later...

I have been reverse engineering your model example and I can see the storey set up and the additional offset level -3', but I get the same data oin the OIP for both normal and the dropped wall? I looked in the wall style and again the settings look identical? I cannot see how the 3' wall bottom drop is obtained either by referencing the additional dropped level in storey levels or bu overriding in OIP? I can see the lower slab utilises the OIP bottom offset though. using vw2020 . any thoughts?


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@bmaad...one of the things that I don't like about the implementation of the stories concept is how the OIP can lie to you.  Wit hone of the dropped walls selected, you can see how the OIP is telling you the bounding condition...That unfortunately is NOT the bounding condition for that particular wall...it's the bounding condition for the wall style.  However, if you click on the Components button in the OIP, you'll see that particular wall has the bottom bounding set at one of the "Offset" levels which are intended to give it that 3 foot offset.  The good news with stories is that it's very reliable when using this offset strategy - your walls and their components will always offset to the correct height/elevation.





Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 9.15.41 AM.png

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Thanks Wes,

It is day 2 of working with stories so getting a little punch drunk....thanks for that-all clear now. 

Does it actually make any difference whether you create a new level whilst in the EDIT STOREY window rather than creating it in DEFAULT LIST and then going back to choose it from drop down list ? apart from obviously not being their next time you want to create the same type of level next time?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@bmaad..I think you can do it on the fly...However, the additional level will only be available in that story...you'd need to create another one in any additional stories...However, in your case, it seems you only need to add the additional level to just one story



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