Creating an Arched Parapet Wall

Reference Number: KB-01958
Last Modified: July 19, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


How do I create and generate framing for a parapet wall with an arch to create this type of flat roof structure?

Exterior of structure with a parapet wall that contains a front arch


You can create an arched parapet wall by building a new 2nd floor, adjusting the materials, and modifying the front parapet wall. Begin by opening the plan in which you would like to create an arched parapet wall. In this example, a simple 30' x 40' rectangular structure is used.


To create parapet walls

  1. The roof area with the parapet wall needs to be created on its own floor, so select Build> Floor> Build New Floor from the menu.

    • In the New Floor dialog, choose "Derive new 2nd Floor plan from the 1st Floor plan" and click OK.

  2. On the Structure panel of the 2nd Floor Defaults dialog, which opens next:

    Structure panel of the 2nd Floor Defaults dialog

    • Set the Rough Ceiling (E) height to 36".

    • Remove the check marks from Roof Over This Room and Flat Ceiling Over This Room.

    • Click the Edit button for Floor Finish to open the Floor Finish Definition dialog.

      Floor Finish Definition dialog where materials can be specified

      • Select the topmost layer, click in the Texture box for the layer, select an appropriate flat roofing material, then click OK.

      • You can specify additional layers here as well.

      • When you are satisfied with the options here, click OK.

  3. Next, go to the Moldings panel and click on the Delete button to remove the base molding from the 2nd floor.

    Delete moldings from the 2nd Floor Defaults dialog

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Overview  from the menu to see the results so far.


To add an arch to a parapet wall

  1. Select File> Close View to close out of the 3D view and return to the floor plan.

  2. Select Build> Wall> Room Divider  from the menu, then click and drag to draw two invisible Room Dividers perpendicular to the wall that will have the arched parapet.

    • These dividers will be used to define the start and end points of the parapet arch.

    • In this example, the dividers are positioned 8'-0" from the inside of the exterior walls.

  3. Click the Select Objects  button, click in the center room on the 2nd floor to select it, and click the Open Object  edit button. On the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog:

    • Put a check in Roof Over This Room.

    • Make sure that Flat Ceiling Over This Room remains unchecked.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.

  4. Select Build> Wall> Break Wall , then click along the wall that will have the arched parapet to place breaks at the intersections of the Room Dividers.

  5. Select Build> Roof> Roof Plane from the menu, then draw a roof plane that bears on the wall that will have the arched parapet.

  6. Select the roof plane and use the Rotate edit handle to rotate it 90° so that its pitch runs parallel to the wall that will have the arch rather than running towards the center of the structure.

  7. The roof plane should only extend over the wall section between the two Invisible Walls. Once it's rotated, use its square Resize handles to snap it to the Invisible Walls.

  8. Select the roof plane and click the Open Object  edit button. On the General panel of the Roof Plane Specification dialog:

    • Specify the Pitch as 0.

    • Check the box beside Curved Roof.

    • Set the Angle at Eave to 30°.

    • On the Options panel, under the Roof Layers heading, uncheck Use Room Ceiling Finish.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

  9. Create a 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Overview  to see the results so far.

  10. Select Tools> Layer Settings> Display Options  from the menu to open the Layer Display Options dialog.

    • Scroll down the list of layers to find the "Roof" layers or use the Name Filter to filter by keyword.  

    • Turn off the display of the Roof Planes, Roofs, Gutters, and Roofs, Overhang Area layers by remove the checkmark in the Disp column.

    • Click OK to close the dialog.

  11. The structure should now look like this:


To build framing*

*Applies to Chief Architect Premier Only.

  1. Select Build> Framing>Build Framing  from the menu, and in the Build Framing dialog:

    • Select the 1st panel and check the Build Floor Framing box.

    • Select the Wall panel and check the Build Wall Framing box.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and build the specified framing.

      Click Yes on any Question dialogs that ask to turn on the display of the framing layers if you wish to see the framing in floor plan view.  

  2. Navigate to 3D> Create perspective View> Perspective Framing Overview  to see a 3D view of the framing.

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