January 07, 2008
Top Ten AEC Topics and Trends of 2007
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There are three key areas where Newforma delivers additional benefit in the Fourth Edition:
- Email management. It has the ability to automate and streamline the management of their email.
- Project knowledge and the ability to harvest the wealth of project information in archived projects and other projects, even in your own projects.
- Supporting the BIM process. There are three key areas where Newforma supports BIM:
Coordination, review and markup. “We provided a powerful environment for marking up, reviewing and sharing those views and discussions among fellow project team members.”
Compare. As you’re moving from milestone to milestone in a BIM environment, you have the ability to compare the upcoming milestone with the previous milestone to catch any unintended changes and to insure that any changes that were intended were properly documented.
Rhino 4 Released
In May McNeel & Associates held an international gathering about the future of architecture at the Delft Technical University Faculty of Architecture in Delft, the Netherlands.
Founder Bob McNeel said that many architects have been using their Rhino 3D modeling software to create sculptural buildings with complex forms. In fact, back when they shipped the first product, the first person who called in with an order was somebody in Frank Gehry’s office with Frank’s credit card number.
“I think we noticed it (architecture) on the radar about a two-three years ago, as so many architects starting using it,” said McNeel. “We had some special cases, like the guys who do the geometry work on the Sagrada Familia, for example. They were one of the very early adopters. We’ve been working with them for ten years or so.”
However, it was at around that time that larger architecture firms began to ask McNeel to help with various challenges on projects. Scott Davidson, marketing manager added that “once the build out became popular and famous, we’re finding a lot more clients willing to pay for these types of buildings.”
Coming from the manufacturing and engineering perspective, Rhino naturally leans toward manufacturing in that it creates, analyzes, translates NURBs curves, surfaces and solids in Windows of any complexity or size. Most architectural products come from the 2D drawing and rendering perspective, according to McNeel. Traditionally 2D software vendors offering 3D architectural modeling software grapple with the issue of “moving” architects to 3D. Architects still have the issue of getting accustomed to modeling in 3D with Rhino, however, the information they gather in the modeling process can be used by the fabricator and others throughout the building process.
Bentley Applied Research Group
The Applied Research Group at Bentley takes research to the next level. According to Buddy Cleveland, research has been very much product focused, which makes it subject to product delivery deadlines and schedules, and thus within a short time horizon. Without an exclusive focus, said Cleveland, it’s nearly impossible for the company to distinguish research from product development, difficult to gauge the magnitude of our research investments on the one hand, much less the return on these investments on the other.
The Applied Research Group, from a business point of view, is intended to help Bentley increase the visibility of its investments to make sure they are aligned with their business objectives and the customers’ business objectives.
Bentley’s mission is to look “beyond the next release of software, and to identify white space in solutions, determine where we can bring new technologies to you, in support of improving the world’s infrastructure.”
The mission will be executed on one project at a time, some will involve internally prototyped development, others will be joint projects with other organizations, technology providers or partners.
Examples of types of Applied Research projects include GenerativeComponents (GC,) “an associative design system,” the incorporation of technology into existing Bentley products such as Digital Pen & Paper, licensed from
Anoto. This technology incorporates a special pen that accurately captures and stores marks made by that pen, and does it by way of special optics in the pen that can record where that pen is based on a microdot pattern embedded into the paper.
Informatix Piranesi 5 Released
Marco Crawford is an architectural technician and long term, established user of Piranesi and MicroGDS, CAD system developed by Informatix. The CAD system is the prime system within the practice he consults for and is used as a full blown CAD environment, but it is also an extremely good modeler and renderer and can export directly to Piranesi in all the file formats. MicroGDS is used to create the models for export to Piranesi.
“For many years I have combined being a perspective artist with a career in architecture. One of the main faults I found with the virtual reality images created by most modeling and rendering packages, was that the resulting images lost the feel of the design being a concept and still evolving,” said Crawford. “Piranesi allowed me to return to the sketch and loose feel required in the early stages of the design, but gave me the speed of productivity which I was not able to achieve when creating these images using traditional mediums such as air brush, marker pens etc.”
According to Crawford, the biggest change for existing Piranesi users is the completely re-designed interface. “The new features that I consider important are as follows: the ability to record a style as it is being applied, multiple cut-outs, the style selector, new brush selection options, the new lighting tools and even to an experienced user the new "Help Assistant" is extremely handy.”
Nemetschek’s Acquisition of Graphisoft Shares
“At the moment, we believe there are four important CAD platforms on the AEC market. Three of these come from Nemetschek - Allplan, Archicad and Vectorworks,” said Franke. “All the systems have their own place on the market and depending on customer requirements, complement each other to provide a unique offering.”
According to Franke, Nemetschek has been on a clear growth course again since 2006.
“1. With Graphisoft, we will be able to strengthen our market position, particularly in the architecture sector. We are the number one in Europe for AEC software solutions and believe we also have good opportunities for growth outside Europe. Nemetschek now has a customer base of 270,000 active customers all over the world.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.