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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
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 »

Conference call on Obama’s Plan for Better Buildings

February 3rd, 2011 by Susan Smith

Hello, everyone,

I just received today this letter from Ed Mazria, who lives here in Santa Fe, NM. He wrote about his conference call with The White House today announcing Obama’s Plan for Better Buildings, which he describes here:

February 3, 2011

I just finished a conference call with The White House announcing President Obama’s Plan for Better Buildings: a plan to create tax credits for commercial building energy reductions similar to that called for by Architecture 2030 in the “CRE Solution”.

This is a dramatic step toward addressing the commercial real estate (CRE) crisis.

The White House plan calls for the current commercial buildings efficiency tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot, known as 179 D, to be changed to a tax credit (this is roughly equal to the $3 to $4.50 per square foot deduction called for by Architecture 2030).


    * 90% of all commercial buildings are small (under 25,000sf), most are single establishment occupied (81%) and many are owner-occupied;
    * $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate (CRE) loans are coming due over the next few years;
    * fifty percent (50%) of these loans are underwater, CRE property values are down 40% and a large percentage of building owners cannot refinance; and
    * since many small community banks, which hold most of these loans are failing,

it is important that a commercial tax credit be made transferable, meaning a building owner can sell or transfer the credit in order to make the efficiency renovation.

Many of you, including architects attending AIA Grassroots this week in Washington, DC, have contacted us seeking information about the CRE Solution. This new development provides an important opportunity for you to educate your Congressional representatives about the President’s plan.

For information on the CRE crisis, see and

Edward Mazria
Founder / CEO
Architecture 2030
607 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505

ZW3D 2011 sneak preview

February 3rd, 2011 by Susan Smith

Check out this YouTube video for ZW3D 2011 Direct. It is a 3D CAD system hoping to rival AutoCAD and other popular 3D CAD products. Promotional materials claim that it will be able to import data faster than popular existing systems.

ZW3D 2011 Direct

Coming soon: SolidWorks LiveBuildings AEC product

January 27th, 2011 by Susan Smith

At SolidWorks World this past week a new AEC type product was announced: SolidWorks Live Buildings (SWLB).  Its focus is on offering designers and architects an immersive environment to quickly design structure, floor layout and even put in furniture. Positioning the building for better sun access may also be possible with the product, making it a candidate for building sustainability. Watchers say the product feels like SketchUp at first glance, with similar abilities to pull in information from other models and drag and drop information.

Local AEC news

January 21st, 2011 by Susan Smith

CPI Releases 189 BIM Product Model Drawings for Autodesk® Revit® January 17, 2011, Trading


Architects Find Their Dream Client, in China by Lawrence Cheek, January 15, 2011, The New York Times

HOK Designs New Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. January 11, 2011, Benzinga

Intergraph settles 8-year lawsuit with Bentley Systems for $200M

January 20th, 2011 by Susan Smith

The following article in this week’s Huntsville Times settled a matter that many thought had been settled long ago:

Intergraph Settles $200M suit with Bentley Systems

HUNTSVILLE, AL — An eight-year lawsuit between the former Intergraph Corp. and Pennsylvania-based software maker Bentley Systems has been settled for nearly $200 million, according to court documents.

The settlement is among the largest in Madison County history, court watchers said.

As part of a settlement agreed upon last month, Cobalt BSI Holding, which bought Intergraph in 2006, will sell back to Bentley its 15.6 million shares of Bentley stock, at a purchase price of just over $12 per share, totaling about $198 million, according to court documents. In July 2010, Sweden-based Hexagon AB bought Intergraph from Cobalt for $2.1 billion.

The settlement total includes $9.9 million in fees and expenses awarded to Cobalt’s attorneys, including Bartley Loftin III of Huntsville and his firm, Maynard Cooper & Gale.

Intergraph sold its civil engineering products to Bentley in 2000 and the deal included proceeds from maintenance contracts.

In 2002 the companies began their long courtroom skirmish, with Intergraph challenging how much Bentley owed it from a promissory note and Bentley countersuing in connection with Intergraph’s handling of the maintenance contracts.

As part of the settlement, both sides agreed not to issue press releases about the agreement or otherwise publicly discuss the case, except to note the agreement was “consensually resolved.”

A settlement hearing before Circuit Judge Tom King, from Jefferson County, who gave preliminary approval to the deal in December, will be Feb. 10 at the Madison County Courthouse.

-Huntsville Times

In July 2010, Sweden-based Hexagon AB bought Intergraph from Cobalt BSI Holding for $2.1 billion.

One question that arose among those of us who have followed Intergraph since the days when Bentley Systems was owned by Intergraph, is: does Intergraph still own 30 percenet of Bentley Systems, and if so, how is Bentley affected by the recent news of this acquisition?

In an AECCafe Today blog, on July 13, 2010, Chris Barron, vice president of corporate marketing for Bentley, responded:  ”As a privately held company, Bentley does not routinely report on the identity of its minority stockholders or the stockholders or the size of their holdings. However, in response to your question, we can advise you that the Bentley shares previously held by Intergraph were transferred to an affiliate of its private equity owners following its going private transaction in 2006 and we have no indications that those shares are part of the sale to Hexagon.” 

Clearly much of what has gone on with Intergraph and Bentley has occurred under wraps and the two companies have agreed not to issue press releases or publicly discuss the case.

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