INTER.ONE Tools for Architecture

Tools for Architecture is a research unit based at the Architectural Association in London formed by a team of architecture undergraduate students and lead by Space Popular directors Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg. Work at TFA aims to develop new experience driven design methods.


Although The Sims exists mainly as a narrative tool, the space-building tools it ships with are quite complex, yet presented in a manner that makes it easy to grasp for an average player. This is achieved by presenting the building tools is a diagrammatic format forming the house and its exterior.

The tool uses a third-person point-of-view by default, this is used to give the player an overview of the space they are making, to yield more accurate results.

The process begins with the building of the space, by placing walls and floors, and painting their textures. Walls and floors begin as placeholders, without any material or physical properties, as these are added after placement. These elements are “drawn” into space similar to lines on paper.

Both thresholds and furnishings operate on a click-and-drag basis, they are selected from an on-screen catalog and placed into the scene.

Finally, all materials and colours in the game are entirely customisable, using the Create a Style tool. From here, each object’s assigned materials can be customised by texture and colour, allowing  for any possible combination.

Despite all the tool’s complexity, it lacks a means of sorting items by a theme or style, making the process of building a space very time-consuming as one would need to sift through the whole catalog to find an appropriate choice, before then deciding on the object’s texture and colour.