For the past few years, GRAPHISOFT has been hosting an annual invitation-only event that brings together its key clients across the world. Called the Key Client Conference (KCC), the 2017 event was held a couple of weeks ago in Kyoto, Japan, and the opportunity to attend it enabled me to get a much better understanding of the use of GRAPHISOFT’s products at a global level rather than primarily in North America where I am based.

This article captures the highlights of the event comprising updates from GRAPHISOFT, the global launch of ARCHICAD 21, an overview of several third party solutions working with GRAPHISOFT products, and a glimpse at some examples of the use of these products by customers worldwide.


Automated Code Compliance Updates


In October 2015, I published an article on the state of the art of automated code checking in AEC, in which I found that it had not made as much progress as one might expect given the early attempts to automate code-checking, even prior to BIM. Following the publication of that article, I received several comments, some of which were pointers to additional work being done in the area of automated code checking that I was not aware of. This follow-up article explores these and some additional efforts I came across in the course of my research on automating code compliance, both on the commercial front as well as in academia, where this is still very much an open topic for investigation.


Technology Toolkit for Sustainable Design at Orcutt Winslow Partnership


This article provides an indepth look at the sustainable design toolkit used by the firm Orcutt Winslow Partnership (OWP) that is strongly committed to sustainable design. It explores the rigorous certification standards like LEED v4, WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge that guide OWP in adopting and implementing different strategies for improving the performance of a design; the wide variety of tools that it uses in addition to its preferred BIM application, ArchiCAD, not just for energy analysis but for studying deeper technical aspects of building science such as product chemistry, computational fluid dynamics, embodied carbon, and life cycle analysis of materials; and additional workflow processes such as interoperability, custom schedules, and the use of templates.


Autodesk 2018 AEC Design Solutions


As is customary for this time of the year, Autodesk launched the next versions of the wide range of products comprising its portfolio for the AEC, manufacturing, and M&E (media and entertainment) industries. This article explores the new features and updates that Autodesk shared for its three main AEC products: Revit (including each of its individual disciplines, Architecture, Structure, and MEP), InfraWorks, and AutoCAD Civil 3D. It also asks whether the AEC industry would like to do “more with less” rather than “more with more,” which is what the enhancements to these solutions primarily enable.


GRAPHISOFT’s BIM 2017 North America User Conference


This article captures the highlights of GRAPHISOFT’s recent conference that is focused on users of its ARCHICAD BIM application and related solutions such as BIMx and BIMcloud. It included keynote presentations by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner at Bjarke Ingels Group, and Marc Kushner, partner at the architectural firm, Hollwich Kushner, and co-founder and CEO of the digital media platform, Architizer; ARCHICAD-focused sessions from power users and experts; as well as updates from GRAPHISOFT, including a sneak peek at some exciting new features in the upcoming version of ARCHICAD.


FenestraPro Premium: A Generative Tool for Façade Design in Architecture


This review explores FenestraPro Premium, an add-in to Revit for façade design whose scope extends to three main energy-related analysis categories—thermal, solar and daylighting—and how they are impacted by the façade design of a building. The tool is positioned as a design tool, in particular as a generative design tool, rather than as an analysis tool for façade design. In addition to exploring FenestraPro Premium and how it works, the review provides a broader commentary on generative design, including the question of “Are We There Yet?”


Autocase: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Sustainable Design


This review explores Autocase, a cloud-based tool that automates the triple bottom line (TBL) cost benefit analysis of buildings and infrastructure projects, with a focus on sustainability. TBL is a general accounting framework that considers three criteria—financial, social, and environmental—when evaluating any business venture, project, or performance, and it provides the analysis results in hard numbers, making it especially pertinent in the AEC industry where every project undeniably has a long-term cost.

Prior to Autocase, TBL analysis for AEC projects was manually done by specialized firms and was prohibitively expensive. Autocase’s automation capability not only makes the analysis more accessible, it also allows many more design alternatives to be tested and trade-offs weighed, helping to arrive at more informed and hopefully better designs.


Selected Projects from Bentley’s 2016 Be Inspired Awards


This article provides an overview of some of the most compelling projects that were nominated for Bentley’s 2016 Be Inspired Awards in different infrastructure categories from around the world, including the Hanking Center Tower in China, 22 Bishopsgate in London, the Oviedo Automatic Parking System in Colombia, Helsinki’s 3D city model enhanced with laser scanned data, and the Ordot Dump Closure project in Guam.


AEC Technology Highlights and Trends: From 2016 to 2017


The start of a new year is a great time to take stock of different aspects of our lives, both on the personal and professional fronts, and for those of us in the business of developing, implementing, and studying AEC technology, it is fascinating to look back at what has been accomplished so far and what we can look forward to in the months to come. What were the main highlights of 2016? Were there some anticipated developments that did not pan out? What is the “state-of-the-art” of AEC technology at the moment? What’s “hot” going forward? What is the state of BIM? How are the leading vendors in the field doing on technology development? In general, is technology living up to its promise or not really? Are we past the “heady” days of technological breakthroughs in the AEC industry and have to now concentrate on the difficult, relatively unexciting, and often mundane, challenge of implementing these technologies?

Of course, it is not possible to answer all these questions, or even to find the answers to all of them, within the scope of an article. But this first AECbytes article of 2017 attempts to summarize the main AEC technology highlights of 2016 and identify the key trends going forward, looking at where we currently are and where we are headed.


AECbytes Magazine Q4 2016


Issue Highlights

  • Year in Infrastructure 2016 Conference
  • IPD and the Cloud
  • People Profile: Laura Kay Smith, ZGF Architects
  • Greenbuild 2016
  • Firm Profile: Gomez Vazquez International Architects

… and more!

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