Creating Greenhouse or Solarium Walls

Reference Number: KB-02960
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create a clear plastic or glass wall for a solarium or greenhouse, how can this be done?


A new wall type can be easily defined using the Define Wall Types dialog, and a new Material can be created if needed.  In this example, a greenhouse wall will be made using steel framing and a translucent white corrugated exterior material will be made.

To create the new wall type

  1. With the desired plan open, go to Edit> Default Settings .

  2. In the Default Settings dialog, expand the Walls category, select Exterior Wall and click Edit.

  3. On the Exterior Wall Defaults dialog, go to the Wall Types panel and click Define next to the Wall Type.

  4. At the top of the Wall Type Definition dialog, click New to create a new wall type.

  5. To the left, type a name for this new wall, such as "Corrugated Plastic."

  6. In the Wall Layers section, modify the framing layer:

  • Click on the Material for Layer 1 (Fir Framing), and on the Select Material dialog, select Steel Stud 16" OC and press OK.

  • Click on the Fill color box, on the Layer Fill Style dialog set the Type to Solid, and set the Color to a gray color then click OK.

  • Click on the Thickness for Layer 1 and enter the desired thickness.  For this example we used 3 1/2" steel.

  • Create a new exterior layer:

    • Click the Insert Above button on the right, to create a new Layer 1.

    • Click Move Up to move it out of the Main Layers group.

    • Click the Material for the new Layer 1, on the Select Material dialog select the desired material.

      In this example, a white corrugated metal material was chosen. To easily locate this material, type "white corrugated" into the search bar at the top, select the first White Corrugated Metal material and press OK.

    • Click the Fill color box, and set the Color to white.

    • Click to set the Thickness of the new Layer 1 and set it to the desired thickness.  For this example, 1/2" was chosen.

    • Press OK to close the Wall Type Definition dialog.

    Now that the new wall type has been defined, the exterior material needs to be adjusted to be partially transparent.

    To modify the exterior material

    1. Go to 3D> Materials> Plan Materials .

    2. Locate and select the 'White Corrugated Metal' material and select Edit.

    3. On the Properties panel, set the Transparency to 50% and press OK.

    4. Press OK to close the Plan Materials dialog.

    With the wall type and the exterior material properly defined, you can draw the desired walls using the Straight Exterior Wall tool. However, for these walls to appear correctly, you will need to generate wall framing and have the wall framing layer visible in 3D views, otherwise the framing layer will render as a solid layer.

    To generate and show the framing

    1. Go to Build> Framing> Build Framing , on the Wall panel, check either Automatically Build Wall Framing or Build Wall Framing and press OK.

    2. Still in plan view, go to Tools> Layer Settings> Display Options , scroll down to locate the 'Framing, Wall' layer and click to place a check mark in the Disp column.

    3. At the top of the Layer Display Options dialog, change the Layer Set to the Camera View Set and place a check next to 'Framing, Wall' again.

    4. Press OK to close the Layer Display Options dialog.

    5. Go to 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Overview to create a view of this drawing.

      Note: If you generate a camera view, then enable the display of the Framing, Wall layer, the framing will not render until the 3D view is rebuilt. This can be done manually by clicking 3D> Rebuild 3D.