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Articles from 2006

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Tools of the Imagination
2006-12-20 | Author: Reena Jana

"Architecture is a strange animal. It's equal parts art, science, and business," says Susan Piedmont-Palladino, a curator at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and editor of the forthcoming book Tools of the Imagination: Drawing Tools and Technologies from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Princeton Architectural Press). "I was interested in the many stories of invention, how architects are creative tinkerers who borrow tools from other fields—say, astronomy or land surveying in the past to computer programs used to design cars."

The book weaves a narrative of architects' adventures in adopting new tools and techniques, from the folding compass used by Jefferson to Frank Gehry's use of CATIA software, used previously in the automotive industry—and beyond...

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Autodesk Inc.: Revving Up Revenues
2006-12-14 | Author: Jonathan Katz

Dec. 14, 2006 -- A group of motor-sport professionals can thank computer-aided design software publisher Autodesk Inc. for helping them break the world stock car speed record over Fourth of July weekend in 2006. The team used the San Rafael, Calif.-based company's Inventor 3-D design product during the building process of the Ford Taurus that achieved the record-setting speed of 222.64 mph.

More importantly for Autodesk, Inventor along with other 3-D products contributed to all-time high third-quarter revenues of $457 million during fiscal 2007, a 21% increase over the year-earlier period, the company noted in a Nov. 16 statement. Revenues from the Inventor, Revit and Civil 3D brands increased 36% over third-quarter 2006 to $98 million. 3-D revenues comprised 22% of total revenues in the quarter...

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Autodesk University 2006
2006-12-08 | Author: Lachmi Khemlani

Autodesk's annual user conference, Autodesk University (AU), which is typically held every year in late November or early December, continued with its explosive growth in 2006. Held last week at The Venetian in Las Vegas, the event was packed with 7,500 attendees, a dramatic increase from the 5,000 attendees in 2005. The corresponding numbers were 4,400 in 2004 and 3,300 in 2003, showing that the conference has more than doubled in just 3 years. To better manage the huge turn-out, this year's event was broken down into different "campuses" representing the different industries Autodesk caters to: Building, Manufacturing, Plant, Civil Engineering and Geospatial, and Media and Entertainment. In addition, General Design and Education were also created as separate campuses to better target their specific users. While the differentiation into campuses certainly helped, it was still quite a challenge to navigate the crowds and get around the conference venue to the various events and sessions. If AU continues to grow at this rate, Autodesk might eventually have to host separate user conferences for its different industries! Of the 7,500 attendees this year, close to 2,500 came from the Building industry alone...

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Powerful global forces are pushing for faster adoption of building information modeling (BIM). Are you ready?

Client requirements for faster delivery, new standards imposed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the move toward sustainable buildings, and increasingly competitive global building supply markets have all given design firms impetus to move forward with BIM. There’s no question that the architecture, engineering, and construction firms that adopt a holistic approach to building systems will gain market share.

The promise of bringing sustainable building design and value engineering together can be realized with help from BIM-based technologies. Building projects are complex and, in the past, have gone through a linear, step-by-step process. By sharing a single data model across an entire project team, BIM allows architects and designers to draw on the wealth of knowledge of downstream disciplines, including structural engineering, MEP, and even the construction trades...

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Following closely on Microsoft's debut yesterday of the long-awaited Windows Vista, Autodesk announced that DWF technology has been incorporated into the new operating system using XPS (XML paper specification). This will allow Vista users to view DWF files without requiring plug-ins or other additional software tools. DWF files published to the XPS specification can be automatically opened and viewed using the XPS viewer built into Windows Vista, Autodesk reports. We spoke with Amar Hanspal, vice-president, Autodesk Collaboration Solutions, on the general topic of DWF prior to this significant announcement, which we reported initially in yesterday's edition of Cadalyst Daily newsletter...

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Event Report: Autodesk University 2006, Part 2
2006-11-30 | Author: Sara Ferris

Though the Autodesk Revit platform for building design is catching on with customers (Revit Building recently passed the 100,000-seat milestone, the company reports), 2D won't be disappearing any time soon. That's the word from Jim Lynch, vice-president of marketing for the Building Solutions division, who spoke with me at Autodesk University 2006, now under way in Las Vegas. Autodesk is in fact promoting a 2D-to-2D transition by encouraging AutoCAD users to move to Architectural Desktop, which it bills as a better AutoCAD for architects...

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Event Report: Autodesk University 2006, Part 1
2006-11-29 | Author: Sara Ferris

The 14th annual Autodesk University kicked off yesterday in Las Vegas, with a reported 7,500 people in attendance -- a number that seems credible given the lunchtime gridlock at the escalators. The event opened with a keynote address by Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass, his first after taking over from Carol Bartz in May.

Bass said he sees Autodesk's mission as delivering software tools to help people experience something before it's built. Digital prototyping helps customers to better understand, analyze and communicate their designs. Rather than the usual focus on new products and features, yesterday's keynote featured a series of short customer presentations. "In the past few years, we've done all the talking," Bass said. "This year, we'll increase the degree of difficulty and have customers do the live demos."

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On Oct 26, the AIA Center for Building Science and Performance (CBSP) organized a one-day Symposium in Washington D.C. to explore and further the use of BIM (building information modeling) technology for designing energy efficient and high performing buildings. One of the most significant aspects of BIM is its ability to capture the description of a building in a semantically intelligent format that can be analyzed to study different aspects of its performance, and with the growing emphasis on green buildings, energy analysis certainly ranks as one of the top-ranked criteria that needs to be studied...

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Event Report: DBIA Conference and Expo
2006-10-31 | Author: H. Edward Goldberg, AIA

Design-Build Institute of America program showcases BIM for first time ever

DBIA (Design-Build Institute of America) convened its 2006 Professional Design-Build Conference and Expo at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 18-20. I was there to make a presentation as well as check on the progress of the design-build approach to architecture and construction and check out some new software products.

DBIA is a professional organization founded in 1993 to advocate and advance single-source project delivery within the design and construction community. Design-build, as defined by DBIA, is a method of project delivery that embraces architecture, engineering and construction services under a single contract, integrating the roles of designer and constructor. DBIA members include practitioners from all project phases, as well as public- and private-sector project owners. Among DBIA's directors are prominent executives within the architecture and construction fields.

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Faith-based BIM
2006-10-27 | Author: Michael Tardif

Since personal computer technology first became widely available in the early 1980s, followed shortly thereafter by software applications for the building design and construction industry, the real capabilities of that technology have rarely kept pace with the hyperbole that quickly grew around it. At times, the hype has evolved into a belief system bearing little or no relationship to the daily reality of design and construction in architecture, engineering, and construction firms. Early enthusiasts of computer-aided design (CAD) technology may recall discussions or claims related to the “multiplier factor,” in which the value of this or that CAD application was ostensibly measured by whether using it was two, three, or four times faster than manual drafting. As the difficulties of harnessing CAD technology became evident, and the apparent lack of any multiplier benefit became evident, the “multiplier factor” and many other claims related to increased productivity and business process reform were quietly excised from AEC technologists’ vocabulary...

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Modeling Rules
2006-10-11 | Author: Dace A. Campbell, AIA

As we leave the 20th century behind, we must discover, refine, and implement new tools, new roles, and new practices to unify the fragmented AEC industry and efficiently cope with the complexities of today's intricate business and legal climate. One of the tools critical to industry integration is building information modeling (BIM), which is sometimes described by software vendors and industry pundits as a 3D representation of architectural design intent used to create and manage 2D documentation. If BIM is not just used for drawing management but is also seen as a comprehensive information management and delivery tool, it promises sweeping, positive implications for all project stakeholders and may enable truly integrated practice...

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Two weeks ago, I attended the annual Midyear Meeting of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) held in San Francisco, California. This is not an event I typically attend; what drew me to it, however, was that BIM was actually the focus of a couple of sessions at the conference. Also, the AGC was using the meeting to release a brand-new publication called Contractors' Guide to BIM, which outlines best practices for contractors using BIM. This was intriguing, and it was also very impressive to see this kind of initiative coming from the construction side of AEC, considering that BIM has been relatively slow to take off in this sector so far. As I witnessed earlier this year at the Technology for Construction show, there were no BIM solutions on display in the Exhibit Hall, conveying the impression that BIM seems to have made scarcely a dent in the construction industry. But we now have a Contractors' Guide to BIM, well before any such corresponding guides have been made available for BIM in architecture and BIM in engineering. It is not even clear if any such guides are in the making. The construction sector may have been slow to take off with BIM, but the release of this guide and the emerging focus on BIM at the AGC conference should be heartening to those contractors eager to get ahead with this new technological development in the building industry...

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1-2-3 REVIT: Publish BIMs in DWF
2006-10-07 | Author: Rick Rundell, AIA

Several of my articles have focused on how BIMs (building information models) can be shared with distributed design teams -- using Revit Worksharing and across a WAN, for instance. But what happens when design data must be shared outside the design team with clients, contractors, city planners and other constituents in the review cycle that aren't Revit users -- or even CAD users? This month's article focuses on DWF, a tool that extends the BIM design process and facilitates the sharing of consistent, coordinated information that comes from a BIM...

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Power-users rolling more and more data into digital design and construction models are finding that getting the right data, at the right level of detail, and presenting it well-purposed for the task at hand is the key to gaining value in implementations large and small. There is a lot of experimentation and analysis about modeling going on today. Experts in technology implementation are taking the ever-expanding array of software and hardware and resolving best practices for implementing virtual design and construction tools...

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AGC Releases Contractors' Guide to BIM
2006-09-29 | Author: Cadalyst

AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) yesterday released the Contractors' Guide to BIM (building information modeling) at its annual Midyear Meeting in San Francisco. The guide outlines best practices for contractors using BIM to virtually build hospitals, hotels, bridges, offices buildings and more. BIM enables virtual construction of such structures through the development and use of intelligent computer software that helps simulate construction...

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