Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
September 28th, 2017 by Susan Smith
When everyone on a team uses a different BIM software, it can be painful to maintain accurate model versions, control user access, compare versions and analyze different models. On big projects, there are many teams coming together, all using whatever BIM technologies they have been tasked with and making all those interoperate, multiplying the challenge severalfold.
September 21st, 2017 by Susan Smith
Xavier Garcia, vice president and general manager, global head Workstations, HP Inc. and Josh Peterson, vice president product management, Workstations, HP Inc. recently presented a webinar on the new HP Desktop Z workstation family.
September 12th, 2017 by Susan Smith
Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar spoke with AECCafe Voice about today’s release of its 2018 Vectorworks software. The release includes Vectorworks ® Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer and Fundamentals, as well as Vision. As part of the release, Braceworks™ is a new structural load analysis add-on module aimed for designers and riggers working on temporary entertainment structures.
September 7th, 2017 by Susan Smith
Autodesk announced their expansion of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection (AEC Collection) that includes support for design through pre-construction. The new tools will extend the product with no additional cost to those who already have a cloud-based subscription with the company. The expanded tools are included in the subscription rate of the AEC Collection. The emphasis on Civil 3D allows users to access InfraWorks and Revit for infrastructure and pre-construction. Products in the Collection include Revit, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Navisworks Manage and 3ds Max.
August 31st, 2017 by Susan Smith
Each new version of ARCHICAD from Graphisoft is steeped in new features that provide greater flexibility for architectural design.
New Features such as the Stair Tool take on the formula of past successful hierarchical elements such as the Curtain Wall, tried and true aspects of the flagship product.
“Step up your BIM An Intro to New features of AC21,” a recent webinar, outlined features such as the Stair Tool and how you can create stairs with flights, landings, railings and risers, even spiral staircases more easily than in past versions.
You can also add in standards or make them invisible if they aren’t applicable.
August 24th, 2017 by Susan Smith
In 1998 the Open Design Alliance (ODA), then the OpenDWG Alliance, was formed as an independent, non-profit corporation dedicated to making the DWG file format an open standard for CAD software much like the DXF format. It was renamed the Open Design Alliance in 2002.
August 17th, 2017 by Susan Smith
Architecture 2030 CEO Vincent Martinez spoke with AECCafe Voice this week about the recent partnership between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and Architecture 2030, to support the international architecture and building community in the design of zero net carbon (ZNC) buildings.
IFC’s EDGE green building team is aligned well with Architecture 2030’s vision to “rapidly transform the global built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate crisis.”
IFC is a global development finance institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Their EDGE program offers a measurable solution proving the financial case for green building. Included in EDGE is a green building certification system with free software.
IFC and Architecture 2030 have been collaborating for four or five years, strategizing to share knowledge and support one another’s efforts in sustainable design efforts.
What are the agenda items that brought IFC and Architecture 2030 together?
There are a number of things. At the Paris Climate negotiation, we respected each other’s work, and looked for a place to collaborate. One of the core opportunities that drove the timeframe of the announcement is Architecture 2030 has been working with the design community internationally and those working specifically in China with their Local Design Institutes (LDI) which are essentially architecture firms in Chinam We have a relationship with a local organization there that has designers are members of an organization similar to AIA in the U.S. but slightly different because the AIA has individual members and this organization has firm members. It is more similar to a large firm roundtable in the US.
We’ve been working with them for the last few years on reaching carbon neutral and near-carbon neutral developments in China to address the massive amounts of new development happening in that country. Roughly 36% of all development globally is going to be happening there so it’s important because the international firms are only able to take projects so far, so it’s critical that the local design institutes have a broad understanding and commitments to carbon neutral design.
About 2 ½ years ago, 52 international firms made a declaration called the China Accord and since then an additional 7 firms have signed on to that. It’s been a wonderful commitment by the Chinese design community. In the fall, we held a forum for that community to establish how we would get there. The goal was for China to focus on carbon buildings rather than energy buildings because of the massive amount of urban development and high-rise development there. This requires additional procurement of renewable energy or we wouldn’t be able to reach energy standards on many of these projects. Another goal was to focus on education so we put together a training with a number of firms coming from the U.S. to speak to designers. The Chinese firms are very interested in how the standards integrate with both the government projects and performance standards. Our partners IFC have focused on China as well to try and get their standards and certifications evolved. They have done a lot of great development on baselines for the projects with focus on building types.
The EDGE platform was only set up to recognize a 20% reduction in baselines: energy, water and materials. What we wanted was a tool for the LDI that could demonstrate their commitment to carbon design so that’s the addition of those metrics of carbon collecting, accounting, and standards to the existing consumption patterns, city-based climate and cost data and algorithms for a variety of building types in 131 countries. We worked on this topic specifically with the LDIs but it applies broadly as they are also in India and other emerging markets. EDGE will be a dominant platform for those professionals designing those countries and be recognized for using that standards. That was one of the main drivers.
The second driver is that in the past ten years since the 2030 Challenge was adopted, the AIA have developed their own program, the American Institute of Architects’ 2030 Commitment. The AIA also supports the use of EDGE baselines by encouraging signatories of the 2030 Commitment to use the EDGE software when benchmarking international projects. There has always been a question about how do we baseline projects outside the U.S. where we had a good robust dataset and understanding about where we should set the starting line. EDGE had already done all that research, and some of those countries have baselines directed to code development. Architecture 2030 will incorporate EDGE baselines into its Zero Tool, which is used by architects to estimate building fossil fuel energy consumption baselines and targets.
Was the EDGE tool created for developing countries?
Yes. EDGE was developed by IFC for developing countries to create an easy market mechanism for them to recognize green building performance. Both the application and certification can all be done with an app within an online platform but also provides a design focus rather than as a series of checklists of other aspects of the buildings. It is really designed to help those countries demonstrate compliance so it’s meant to be easy and quick to use.
This year we came on to help them with app market adoption. They only require 20% reduction in energy, because there is so much development. They only require 20% reduction in water and 20% reduction in carbon emissions from materials. Architecture 2030 are focusing on the right-hand side of the bell curve, pushing the envelope for 70% reductions not 20, and we have a carbon standard. We asked EDGE to incorporate to the net carbon forum. The announcement is about the revamp of their platform to account for the high performers seeking an extremely high and aggressive approach, rather than the 20% that they currently have in their platform.
Is IFC voluntary?
Yes. And it is only for international developing markets. There are already a lot of rating and standards.
EDGE is trying to tackle the broad base of addressing it at a large scale. It’s like any other green building rating system that’s voluntary, in some countries it’s engrained with political organizations or standards organization where it is used for a portion of code or completely for the code. They’re in 131 countries so each is slightly different.
In some cases, NGOs use EDGE to try to promote in those countries, so there might be a green building council in some of those countries that would promote multiple rating systems like LEED and Green Globe and EDGE and in certain cases the GBCs are not rating system focused. This would be another tool.
EDGE is also limited to six different building types. Many green building systems apply to a larger number of building types. It is focused on single family homes, hotels, retail office and hospitals.
It’s a powerful tool. Usually in the U.S. we have statistical databases that will tell us how much energy an office building in a certain area and certain size, will use and its energy consumption. But very rarely does it break down energy end uses as EDGE does.
How does EDGE compare to Sefaira and other tools on the market for analyzing energy consumption and type?
They’re very different, they both have design tool aspects to them. EDGE has a complementary rating system beyond just the design guidance but they’re really structured and have different focuses. Sefaira or Autodesk 360 are comparative design tools that will give you some numbers you can take back to your design engineer. They’re designed to be used for comparing different themes, such as the law ratio of the design, different massing sequences, and not to necessarily be predictive but to be comparative.
I think you could say the same thing for EDGE. It’s not really meant to be predictive either. It provides a rough estimation of where the performance would be if you applied certain strategies. EDGE is very clear on what the strategies are. Sefaira and Autodesk 360 are agnostic in their strategy, for example, here’s the design what kind of performance would I expect compared to different design strategies if I applied them. They have integrated our 2030 Palette which is an online design guidance encyclopedia, for form based design strategy into some of those softwares like Sefaira and Autodesk 360 so you can have a good sense of what’s available to you. Whether its south facing or solar shading for windows, or passive cooling for ventilation, the Palette gives you some examples of how you might approach it. And then the Sefaira and 360 tool would apply that.
In the near future, Architecture 2030 will incorporate the EDGE baselines into its Zero Tool, which is used by architects to estimate building fossil fuel energy consumption baselines and targets.
August 10th, 2017 by Susan Smith
A popular technology that has mushroomed in the past couple of years has been the ability to use your smartphone or tablet as a 3D scanner. Easy to use apps let you capture, share 3D scans and apply 3D models easily.
itSeez3D’s app lets you capture, share and apply 3D models on your mobile device powered with Structure Sensor or Intel RealSense 3D camera.
Victor Erukhimov, CEO and co-founder of itSeez3D, said that the Occipital Structure Sensor for IPad has changed the landscape of information gathering by way of 3D scanning.
Jeff Powers co-founder, Occipital, said the Structure Sensor is designed to gather tons of information from the world around us and the itSeez3D scanner puts that information back together to create incredibly beautiful 3D models.
“Our goal was to create a 3D scanner that could create models so realistic that you can’t tell the difference between the visual object and the rendered computer model,” said Powers. “To scan a tabletop object, you scan around it with your mobile device. After your scan data is captured and synthesized in the cloud, you can visualize it on the iPad, or export it as a 3D model. Structure Sensor measures to hundreds of thousands of points by admitting a spectrum of infrared light. itSeez3D scanner takes that data to reconstruct a point cloud of the object. Then it creates a mesh wireframe and applies a texture layer mimicking the surface of the original object. It will also isolate the object from the background as you circle around it.”
The calculations necessary to do this are quite complex for an iPad so the software downloads quickly in the cloud, so you simply download the 3D model in a number of formats. itSeez3D software has incredible texture. Color 3D prints come out beautifully as well.
Face scanning and soon entire room scanning will be available. This app can be downloaded from the App Store.
With the Scandy iPad App with an attached Structure Sensor, you can scan an object or person in 3D. The Structure Sensor talked about for the itSeez3D scanner can use the iPad camera to overlay image data, and picks up depth data. With this combined information, they can create a 3D scan. The Scandy App is designed for the 3D scan to then be used for 3D printing. You can upload an existing 3D scan to Scandy.co that was created in another program. This app can be downloaded from the App Store and is also available for Android devices.
Trnio is another free iPhone or iPad, or Android app that allows you to do mobile scanning. Users must make sure they do their scan in bright, even lighting and keep an equal distance from the object as they position themselves around it. It is suggested that you get different angles so you get a more complete scan. The tutorial is extensive and gives you advice on what types of objects to avoid, such as thin or stringy objects, plain objects, transparent items like glasses or ones that move around. Face scanning is also possible with this app. Two types of guided scanning are available, accessible through the center camera button. The first, object mode, guides a user around an object if the user is moving in a circular pattern around the object. Scene mode allows for free scanning outdoors and for scanning larger items. There are several options for error handling, processing and trimming your scans. This app can be downloaded from the App Store.
Australian company Scann3D provides something a little different from the previous offerings: the Matterport Pro Camera to transform 2D media into interactive and immersive 3D content. The camera is popular for planners, floor plan providers, real estate agents and others working with interiors and exterior landscapes.
Matterport Pro collects accurate visual and spatial data to map entire commercial, construction, and functional spaces. From this collection professionals can produce immersive 3D content easily. All of the images captured are processed, hosted and organized in the Matterport Cloud, so you know where they are and can access them easily. No photo editing skills are required because the panoramas are automatically processed and optimized for color balance. Measurements can be collected using the Matterport Workshop. Accurate dimensions are within 99%. It has been used a great deal in real estate but its value to construction and design are intriguing.
AECCafe SIGGRAPH Sweepstakes Winner, Duncan Chen, senior principal Technology R&D at CoreLogic has been a vital leader and influence on FNC’s overall technology strategy and system development since joining the company in 1997. Chen works to define and bring to development innovative technology solutions for FNC’s clients. Chen designed and architected the AIXML concept and led production of FNC’s flagship products CMS® and AppraisalPort®, which have become one of the largest platforms for both retail and wholesale loan organization. Chen also developed the high performance Rule Engine, which serves FNC patterned GAAR (General Accepted Appraisal Rules), an automatic appraisal risk assessment tool.
Chen is currently leading the strategic plan to bring FNC’s technology to the Brazilian market. He also actively serves the mortgage technology industry through his work with GSE and MISMO standard committees. He is a noted guest-speaker for numerous internal and international conferences.
August 3rd, 2017 by Susan Smith
In a webinar prior to announcement this Tuesday, HP executives talked about the exciting new approach and commercial solutions for virtual reality (VR). As part of this strategy, the company has unveiled what appears to be the first professional wearable VR PC – the new HP Z VR Backpack. Crafted to bring the full potential of VR to-life, it is designed to be a secure and manageable wearable VR PC.
July 27th, 2017 by Susan Smith
Senior industry strategist, Civil Infrastructure of Autodesk, Terry Bennett, spoke to AECCafe Voice this past week about the Blueprint 2025 Leadership Forum held in Washington D. C., earlier this year.