Mass Modeling (Revit Architecture)

From TOI-Pedia
Example of a model built using Massing
If you need a quick fresh up for the Revit Interface, please refer to Getting started with Revit: Interface.


With the massing tools available in Revit Architecture you are able to create a composition with free forms quite easily. Smooth corners, curved walls, curved holes in walls are all possibilities with the massing tools. In this tutorial you will learn how to create a basic form with a hole in it. Also you will learn to make a slanted wall. Steps and topics in this tutorial:

  1. Start new project.
  2. Place in-Place Mass
  3. Place Rectangular mass and extrude
  4. Slant sides of the mass
  5. Put walls on the sides
  6. Put a hole through one side.

Preparing the first mass

In Revit you can work with masses, like you can in Vasari. These masses are used in conceptual building studies and in the sketch phase of a design. Methods There are two methods to make a conceptual mass in Revit. The first is to make a conceptual mass family. The second way is to make an in-place mass. Both ways of making a conceptual mass will be explained below. The options in both methods are the same, but if you make the mass as a family you have a little more control over the reference lines and reference planes.

Conceptual mass family

With this way of creating masses you draw a specific family of it which you can load into your project.

  • Click in the home screen of Revit on new conceptual mass under the family tab.
  • A pop up screen appears where you select the conceptual mass family template file. Hit open.
  • Now you can start drawing masses.
  • After you finish your mass you can load him into project or just save it.
Conceptual mass.jpg
Canceptua mass pop.jpg

In place mass

Create a new Architecture Project

In the first exercise, you create and name a project in which you will create the building model at the top of this tutorial.

Create a project:

  • Click the Application Button, under New, click Project.
  • Under Template file, make sure the a metric, Architectural Template is selected. The exact options you get may depend on the version of Revit you've installed.
  • Under Create New, make sure Project is selected,
  • Click OK.

Name and save the project file:

  • Click the Application Button, click Save.
  • Browse to a convenient location to save your file (eg: My Documents).
  • For File name, enter Getting_Started, and click Save.

You'll see a new empty template. We'll form our new mass here. Masses are 3D objects on which we can place floors/roofs and create floors in.

  • In the Ribbon, open the View tab. In the Create panel, click 3D View to create a new 3D View.
  • Open the 'Massing & Site' tab in the Ribbon.
  • In the 'Conceptual Mass' panel, click Revit In-place mass button.png (In-Place Mass). This will create a custom mass object in which you build the mass itself.

Revit may pop-up a message about changing the view settings for massing purposes. Dismiss this message.

  • Enter any name you want in the pop up.

You will now go into editing mode. Because this will be a simple tutorial we will be making a box with slanted edges as shown in the beginning.

  • In the Draw panel in the Ribbon, click Revit 2011 Rectangle.png (Rectangle)
  • Draw a rectangle on your screen:

Revit Massing draw rectangle.png

  • In the Ribbon, click Revit 2011 Modify.png (Modify) to end the command or press the Escape key.

This is your base or profile. The next step is to extrude a profile from the base/profile. More exotic shapes can be made by using multiple profiles.

  • Select your rectangle shape
  • Click the lower part of the Revit Create form button.png (Create Form) button, then Revit Solid form button.png (Solid Form).

Revit Massing Extrude Form.png

The profile is now extruded into a surface. You can adjust the amount by which you extrude the profile by moving the X,Y,Z handle up or down. The X,Y,Z handles are green, blue and red respectively.

  • Click Revit Finish mass button.png (Finish Mass)

basic geometry creation

more about the basic geometry you can create you can find here.

Modifying the Mass

Next we'll fine-tune the form we've created to make one side slanted:

The intermediate result after modifying the Mass
  • Select the Mass you've created
  • In the Modify Mass tab, click Revit Edit In-place button.png (Edit In-Place)
  • Select one of the upper edges of the cube:

Revit Massing move edge.png

  • Use the red arrow to drag the outer edge towards the center, making the side slanted.
  • Click Revit Finish mass button.png (Finish Mass)

When you select the Mass, you can apply some quick modifications:

Revit Massing Modify Mass Faces.png

Using the blue arrows, you can move each of the faces. The movement is always perpendicular to the face.

more editing options

more about edting of masses can be found here.

Using the Mass (Faces) to create Walls

In this section we'll use the faces of the Mass to create walls. Note that while a normal wall can never be slanted, now we can created slanted wall by using the Mass.

The result after creating walls by Face
  • On the Massing&Site tab, in the Model by Face panel, click Revit Wall by face button.png (Wall by Face)
  • In the Properties Palette you can change the type of wall that will be created by selecting the desired Wall Family from the pull-down.
  • Select the slanted face of the Mass. A wall on this face is created.
  • You may select additional faces to created walls for.
  • Click Modify or press Esc to finish.
Note that the wall you've created will not change automatically when you change the shape of your Mass after you've created the Walls by Face. You need to select the Wall(s) and click Revit Update to face button.png (Update to Face) in the Ribbon.
Instead of a normal wall, you can also create a Curtain Wall on a face. Use the Revit Curtain system by face button.png (Curtain System by Face) for this purpose. Refer to Revit Modeling: Basic Elements for information on how to modify this Curtain System and create Mullions.

Making Holes in Masses

You can also subtract Forms from your Mass. The section covers using Voids and working with Work Planes.

For this example we use our Mass without the walls created by face. To try it you can just delete the walls.

In the next steps we're going to create an additional Mass that will be used to subtract from our original Mass.

  • Select the Mass you've created
  • In the Modify Mass tab, click Revit Edit In-place button.png (Edit In-Place)
Note that if you want to create Void Forms to create cuts in your Mass, you must always create these Forms within the Mass you want them to cut in. It won't work by creating new Masses!

Changing the Work Plane

The First Form we've created by drawing a rectangle profile, was drawn on a horizontal plane (Plan). But you can draw in any plane you'd like. This can be achieved by changing the Work Plane.

  • In the Work Plane pane, click Revit Set work plane button.png (Set Work Plane)
  • Select the slanted face of the Mass as Work Plane

    Revit Select face as work plane.png

Creating a Void Form

  • In the Draw panel in the Ribbon, click Revit 2011 Rectangle.png (Rectangle)
  • Draw a rectangle on the slanted face:

    Revit Massing draw void profile.png
  • Click Modify or press Esc to finish.

Now we're going to create a Void Form from the profile we've just drawn.

The result when a Form is subtracted from our initial Mass
  • Select the rectangle you've drawn.
  • Click the lower part of the [[Image:Revit_Create_form_button.png] (Create Form) button, then Revit Void form button.png (Void Form).
  • Change the 'height' (or 'depth') of the extrusion and make sure it goes into the original Mass.
  • This Form can also be modified by selecting faces or edges and moving them.
  • Click Revit Finish mass button.png (Finish Mass)

You could now create new walls in this Mass.

advanced massing options

the more advanced massing options can be found here


This tutorial is just a basic example of what can be achieved via the use of massing: more intricate and more extensive examples are available. For more advanced examples you can search Google using a query like "massing tutorials Revit" or A series on youtube about Massing

Personal tools