Shoegnome | Shoegnome Being an Architect in the 21st Century Ain't Easy Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:38:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Parameter Transfer in ArchiCAD Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:24:21 +0000 Parameter Transfer in ArchiCAD (eyedropper and syringe) is an ultra basic concept. I really hope you already know everything I discuss in this video.

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Parameter Transfer

I just recorded a nearly ten minute video talking about Parameter Transfer in ArchiCAD. You probably know Parameter Transfer by its colloquial name “eyedropper and syringe”. Usually I record ArchiCAD tutorial videos in the hope of teaching people something new and different. With this video, I really hope you don’t learn anything. Parameter Transfer between elements, between placed Objects, and between Objects in the Selection Settings is so basic that it needs to be taught on day one to all new users.

Sadly, that’s not always the case. Or even when it is, users forget or don’t understand the importance of it. For power users (or even just regular users) this function is so ingrained that it becomes invisible. Case in point: I didn’t mention the critical importance of OPT for eyedropper (ALT on PC), OPT+CMD for syringe (ALT+CTRL on PC), or OPT+CMD within the Selection Settings on my list of Top 20 Keyboard Shortcuts. None of the commenters mentioned it either. WHAT!? OPT+CMD is so freaking important.

Parameter Transfer and Templates

If a user doesn’t understand Parameter Transfer, the best of templates becomes useless. My whole Template is based on the knowledge and use of OPT+CMD. That’s why I have all those brown pens. If I see brown anywhere, I know a few things:

  1. Someone didn’t use a Favorite to create an element.
  2. Someone didn’t use OPT+CMD when changing between Objects in the Selections Settings.

Both of those things tell me that there are probably deeper issues (for me the wrong color is a proxy for wrong dimensions, data, graphics, etc; in other words, incorrect and unthinking actions). That all means if you are going to use my template, you need to watch this video and make sure you get what I’m doing and why.

Enough jabbering! Watch my latest video and make sure you know everything I talk about. If you have questions, please ask in the comments. And if I forgot something, share that too.

The help center has similar advice:

  1. Parameter Transfer
  2. Parameter Transfer Between Objects

Subscribe to my blog to read more about the tricky world of being an Architect in the 21st century: Shoegnome on FacebookTwitter, and RSS feed. What’s another super basic feature that you think other users are neglecting? Tell me in the comments and I’ll try to record a video or write a post about it.

Oh…I trail off a few times in this video and you can’t really hear what I’m saying at the end of a few tangents. Don’t worry. I wasn’t saying anything important at those moments. My mumbles and the length of this video are just a consequence of me being really hyper and passionate about such a simple tool within ArchiCAD.

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Compatibility notes: ArchiCAD on Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:44:41 +0000 I know you are excited about Mac OS X Yosemite. But slow down. You have a job to do, and need to be careful about any quirks that will eventually be ironed out in future hotfixs to ArchiCAD and updates to the OS. So read on about what the new OS means for you, and why you want to play it safe and wait a little while to upgrade.

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Jared’s Note: first the official announcement you’ve hopefully already seen followed by some of my additional (snarky?) comments. You’ve been warned.

Mac OS X Yosemite is Here


GRAPHISOFT is maintaining compatibility for ArchiCAD 17 and 18 and connected products (BIMcloud, BIMx, BIM Server, BIM Server Manager) on OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Based on GRAPHISOFT’s initial testing, ArchiCAD 17 and 18 generally work well on 10.10 with some minor issues that are detailed in this article.

BIMx users should note that BIMx will not run until the first compatibility update for ArchiCAD.

As you get ready to update, here are some OS upgrade best practices to keep in mind:

Before any operating system upgrade we advise that you:

  1. Generate external back-ups of your data.
  2. Pick an appropriate time to upgrade the OS, when deadline pressures are minimal.
  3. Have a computer restoration method in place to revert to the previous state if necessary.

Important for BIM Server:

Please be sure to export your data and uninstall BIM Server before upgrading your OS. Then re-install BIM Server and re-import data.

More Information:

Click here to stay up-to-date on ArchiCAD and BIMx compatibility testing. For general support questions, please visit our support page.


Thus ends the official announcement, now for my additional comments

None of this is a surprise. If you are on an old version of ArchiCAD and getting angry because Graphisoft isn’t maintaining compatibility with the old version you are using, you should have seen this coming. With each new release of OS X Graphisoft appears to be actively maintaining the two most recent releases. This has been going on for a long time:

2011 News: Compatibility Notes for OS X 10.7 Lion

2012 News: Compatibility Notes for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

2013 News: Compatibility Notes for OS X 10.9 Mavericks

My advice is this: for users of ArchiCAD 16 and older, you’ve already decided to live in a world of old software. Don’t upgrade to OS X 10.10. You need to remember that your most important software is ArchiCAD. Everything else on your machine serves it, ESPECIALLY the OS. Yes ArchiCAD 13-16 will run, but if you hit a devastating glitch, you are on your own.

For users of ArchiCAD 17 and 18, wait a few more weeks. A Hotfix is coming out soon. Yes it seems like everything will run fine on Yosemite—in fact other than no BIMx there seems to be no known big problems. But there is a big difference between the known and the unknown. So there could be something lurking. Regardless there’s nothing so important about the new OS X that you can’t delay for a little bit just to be safe and even more stable.

Remember, 2015 will surely bring a new version of ArchiCAD and a new Mac OS…so be prepared for the day when you want to upgrade to OS X 10.11. And as always, if you’re upgrading to a new OS (whether Mac or PC), it is a good time to make sure you migrate all your old projects. Don’t lose access to your data because it’s too old or you were too lazy. Download the File Converters and get all your files to the latest version of ArchiCAD (these are only needed if you have files OLDER than version 8.1, as ArchiCAD 18 can still open ArchiCAD 8.1 files).

Follow Shoegnome on Facebook and Twitter for more reasons why not updating your software is slowly rapidly eroding your value. Trying to make a decision about which BIM software to use. I have the ultimate answer for you. Seriously, here’s BIM software you should use. But make sure it’s the latest version.

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BIMcloud Webinar: October 30th, 2014 Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:15:46 +0000 Are you familiar with Graphisoft's BIMcloud? Can you explain what it is in 30 seconds or less? I didn't think so. Sign up for the webinar and get educated!

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Graphisoft BIMcloudJared’s Note:
If this webinar covers even a portion of what we learned about BIMcloud back in June at the Key Client Conference in Budapest, you are all in for a treat. My hope is that they spend a little time explaining how BIMcloud compares to BIMserver and Revit Server, because wow. No contest. Also make sure to read points three and four below. Sounds like there’ll be another press release from Graphisoft coming soon!

BIMcloud Webinar:

WHO:        GRAPHISOFT, the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) software vendor

WHAT:       A live, online seminar will take place October 30 and will present the ground-breaking workflow integration of GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud solution with mobile devices.

GRAPHISOFT launched BIMcloud in March of this year and has received very positive feedback from both the industry and users. BIMcloud was awarded a Silver Stevie Award in the Best New Product or Service of the Year – Software – Cloud Application/Service category in the 11th Annual International Business Awards.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • how designers can seamlessly collaborate with other members of the team – including engineers, consultants, etc. – using ArchiCAD’s award-winning Teamwork solution;
  • how BIMcloud hosts shared Teamwork projects – securely and safely – while also managing the various user roles and activities;
  • how team members using BIMx Docs with Hyper-model capabilities on mobile devices are now an integral part of Teamwork;
  • how team members using mobile devices can seamlessly collaborate with other team members, and provide valuable design feedback regardless of location, using various devices.

WHEN: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Register at:

Please register for any of the dates/times below to join the free, online seminar!

For Australia and Asia (English):

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM AEDT (Australian Eastern Standard Time – Sydney, Melbourne), please register here:

For Europe, Middle-East and Africa (English):

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM BST (British Standard Time – London, Paris), please register here:

For the Americas (English):

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PDT (Pacific Daylight Time – Los Angeles), please register here:


GRAPHISOFT® ignited the BIM revolution in 1984 with ArchiCAD®, the industry-first BIM software for architects. GRAPHISOFT continues to lead the industry with innovative solutions such as its revolutionary BIMcloud®, the world’s first real-time BIM collaboration environment, EcoDesigner™, the world’s first fully BIM-integrated “GREEN” design solution and BIMx®, the world’s leading mobile app for BIM visualization. GRAPHISOFT has been a part of the Nemetschek Group since its acquisition in 2007. Visit to see the most important milestones in ArchiCAD’s 30-year history.

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Support AIA San Francisco’s vision for the future of the AIA Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:58:02 +0000 What do you think the future of the AIA should be? Renaming it The American Institute of Architecture and Design sounds like a good start.

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So you read through AIA San Francisco’s bold vision, then listened to some 99% Invisible, and THEN supported the Radiotopia Kickstarter campaign. But you want to do more. Well after posting that last article, I had some brief communication with AIA San Francisco. They have a petition to garner support for their revisioning of the AIA. I signed up. How about you? Would you be proud to be an active member of The American Institute of Architecture and Design? I sure would be.

AIA San Francisco has a webpage that describes a bit more in detail what they want to see happen, and what their envisioned timeline would be. Please read through it here. Their scope of change is big. Their ideas are radical. Their proposals would result in disruption. But I’m a firm believer that it needs to happen.

We can go through a purposeful rebirth or a forced decline

The changes AIA SF want point towards a lot of the bureaucratic waste within all things related to being a licensed architect in the USA—AIA and NCARB doing similar things, but not being one entity; a convoluted diversity of licensing that is state based rather than a single national architecture license; a blurring between what an architect, an interior designer, an urban planner, an unlicensed designer, and other building professionals do; a loss of focus on what our professional organizations do for their members and the community at large; the list goes on. We need a streamlining and a unification. And I think it will happen in one of two ways. We as a community (both licensed and unlicensed) can come together to create a new framework for how the built environment will be shaped. A new framework that will be based in the realities of the 21st century. A new framework that acknowledges how many of our old solutions are hurting us rather than helping to protect the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the public. So we can make these changes deliberately, through strength. OR…we can do nothing. We can just keep showing up to work and doing our best to stay employed. We can just keep going to AIA conventions to get our credits and watch as the group becomes more and more out of sync with the community at large—have you ever noticed how lunches at AIA conventions are predominantly older white men? Not necessarily the avant-garde radical paradigm shifters we need at the moment. If we do nothing, we risk oblivion. We risk being circumvented as pioneers of no-longer-future technology (3D printing of buildings, for instance) devise new ways to build, perhaps ways that don’t require our traditional skill sets.

As I’ve wondered before, will people in twenty years look back and lump blacksmith, telephone operator, and architect into one group of non-existent or niche professions? I think it’s possible. Professions, companies, and organizations can all collapse in the face of civic and technological change. Just because architects always have been, doesn’t mean architects always will be. Just because the AIA has been the American Institute of Architects since 1857, doesn’t mean that it needs to be or should be called that in 2057 (or even 2017). If we are the building profession, and if many of us are members of the AIA, it’s up to us to make the change. Supporting this radical revisioning of the AIA is worth doing because it aims to grow and improve an organization that we are apart of, that we value, and that we want to see endure. And quite honestly, once you’ve seen the term “The American Institute of Architecture and Design”, can you ever go back to wanting something lesser? I know I can’t.

Show your support of AIA San Francisco’s bold vision for the future of the AIA:

Sign the Petition and Spread the word

As I hit the publish button on this post, only 96 people have signed the petition. I know that’s due to a lack of exposure rather than a lack of support. Spread the word. Bring this up in your local chapters. Let’s fix the AIA. Don’t sit idly by and just hope for some good news. Let’s make good news. AIA San FransiscoSubscribe to my blog to read more about the tricky world of being an Architect in the 21st century: Shoegnome on FacebookTwitter, and the RSS feed. Are you interested in guest blogging on Shoegnome? Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about the future of the AIA+D? E-mail me or leave a comment below.

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AIA San Francisco is better than you local AIA Chapter Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:04:16 +0000 AIA San Francisco is better than you local AIA Chapter. But that's only half the post. The rest is about 99% Invisible and the Radiotopia Kickstarter Campaign.

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As much as I love AIA St. Paul (I was on the board at one point as the Secretary), was very active with AIA Minnesota (on lots of committees), miss all my Minnesota compatriots, and am hopeful for what AIA Seattle has to offer, I am inclined to think AIA San Francisco is the best and most important AIA Chapter, ever. If they mimicked AIA Minnesota’s Leadership Forum, then they’d have it all. Well at least from this myopic perspective.

What has me saying this today? A friend who attended the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago sent me this link. It is AIA San Francisco’s bold vision of how to reinvent and improve the AIA. It brings together so much of what has been plaguing us as a profession. Here are the main points:

  1. Power to the members.
  2. Lead the profession.
  3. Get Real About the Next Generation of Architects.
  4. Set standards.
  5. Be the voice of the profession.
  6. Act global.

Point number two includes this idea: “Change the name and the focus of the organization. Integrate other design professionals into the organization and rename it: The American Institute of Architecture and Design. Build a bigger tent by embracing the changing nature of practice.” I completely support that name change. How great would that be? If there’s anything you can do to help bring that about, let me know. I want to be involved and help too.


There is another reason: 99% Invisible and Radiotopia

Why else do I love AIA SF? Because thanks to them we have 99% Invisible. And thanks to 99% Invisible and Roman Mars, we have Radiotopia. If you are an architect or a designer and don’t listen to the 99% Invisible podcast, guess what? You are not doing your job. My goodness, if you aren’t listening to 99% Invisible you are missing out. It is the best.

If you aren’t listening every week, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Head over to and listen to a whole bunch of episodes. Asking which one to start with is almost like asking which of my daughters is my favorite. But because of an amazing T-shirt that I will be wearing to death come Spring…
  2. You could start here: Episode 114: Ten Thousand Years. I’ll talk more about that another time because there is so much there that fits so well with much of my writing here on Shoegnome.
  3. Once you’ve listened to some episodes, head over and support the Radiotopia Kickstarter Campaign (it ends November 14th, 2014). Within 10 minutes of this Kickstarter going live I’d already supported (it took me a little bit to read through everything and watch the video). I can’t wait to get my Oakland Ray Cats and Holdout T-shirts. The second T-shirt is extra appropriate because it’s from a story about my new hometown of Seattle.

oakland raycatsThat’s all for now. Go get inspired by 99% Invisible, support the bold vision for Radiotopia, then think about what AIA San Francisco proposed earlier this year and how we architects have a lot of work to do.

Does me gushing about 99% Invisible sounds vaguely familiar? It should. I got all fanboy about that podcast back in late 2012. Subscribe to my blog to read more about the tricky world of being an Architect in the 21st century: Shoegnome on FacebookTwitter, and the RSS feed. Are you interested in guest blogging on Shoegnome? Ideally I want to have 2 to 4 guest posts a month. E-mail me.

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ArchiCAD 18: still no disc coming in the mail Mon, 13 Oct 2014 02:42:46 +0000 Are you waiting for a disc in the mail? Stop. You have to download ArchiCAD 18.

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This news isn’t new. In fact if you were quick you might have noticed a post from June that temporarily mentioned some of what’s below. But I took that post down because I wanted to wait until more people could download ArchiCAD 18—at the time not enough versions were available. But then my life got hectic and I essentially paused the blog for the summer. Now it’s October and ArchiCAD 18 has made the subtle shift from the new version to the current version. I felt like I missed the window for the following blog post and it slowly slid down the queue of half-finished articles (I figured I’d resurrect it when ArchiCAD 19 debuts next year). But then while having beers with some fellow ArchiCAD users on Friday night (four of us BIM Manager types got together to talk about templates), someone told a story about a user waiting a week for ArchiCAD 18 discs to come in the mail after finally upgrading from some older version. Seriously? Ugh.

Whether you are on subscription or upgrading from any older version of ArchiCAD, there is no disc coming in the mail. There is no new hardware key coming either—unless you have an ancient 21-pin key**, are buying a new seat, or have clearly discussed a new key with your local agent and paid whatever associated fees are required.

If you are at all confused about what all that bold text means, ask your local reseller or distributor. Or comment below. And caveats: things could be special for you and your region, and this is all just my opinion and experience; I am not an official voice of anything but me.

**Seriously, as recently as 2012 I was dealing with a firm that still had 21-pin keys because they hadn’t upgraded since USB drives became standard technology. Holy Fuck. But hey, that’s the cool thing about ArchiCAD: it doesn’t matter if you are upgrading from the previous version or from some ancient version from before USB drives were a thing, Graphisoft will let you do that.

What follows is an augmentation of a post I mostly wrote back in June, 2014.

ArchiCAD 18 banner

Are you ready for ArchiCAD 18? The wait is officially long over. So over. So comically over. This post is just a curtsey to those few lonely users who somehow missed all the notices that it was time to download the upgrade (or for people who just upgraded from older versions). Download ArchiCAD 18 now. Well if you are looking for this particular version:

ArchiCAD 18 USA version

or this version:

ArchiCAD 18 INT version

If neither of those versions are what you are looking for, try this:

  1. Copy and paste this link:
  2. Change the XYZ to the three letter abbreviation for your localization. For instance for the Spanish language version, change XYZ to SPA. If your localization is ready, it’ll work. I think most localizations have been released. Most, not all. :(

Remember the links above are a great way to get access to the libraries of other versions…or if you are like me and just want both the USA and INT versions installed on your machine (it’s so useful for template work and research for blog posts).

All those links will also provide you access to related downloads like BIM Server, Add-Ons, Goodies, and MEP Modeler. For a master list of goodies downloads and abbreviations for all localizations, go here.

Downloading: it’s what we all do, for everything. Always assume you can download what you need. This is the second ArchiCAD version that has been released as download only (with discs having to be special ordered), so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Finally, if you are new to ArchiCAD, I recommend getting access to all of the above via There you can also get training materials, and a bunch of other downloads like Tekla BIMsight, Solibri Model Viewer, and a demo of Artlantis 5. Through you can also get other localizations and older versions. Here’s more on how to do that. Oh and regardless of if you are a new or old user, you should be downloading Solibri Model Viewer (and Tekla BIMsight if you are on a PC) so that you can start exploring what your models look like when you push them out as IFC files.

Remember there is no box coming in the mail, unless you request it and pay extra. If you are in the USA and just have to have a box (trust me you don’t), here’s the link. It’ll cost you $20, more if you aren’t on subscription.

Did I say that enough times? If you have paid for ArchiCAD 18, there is nothing coming in the mail. It’s all digital. And unless your localization isn’t out yet, ArchiCAD 18 is on the Internet waiting for you. I know many users also like to wait for the first Hotfix to come out before upgrading. Your wait will soon be over, if conversations on the forum are anything to go by.

Make sure to follow Shoegnome on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not a social media person, RSS feed is also a great way to never miss anything either.


Impromptu User Groups

Whether you use ArchiCAD or some other BIM software, you don’t have to wait for officially sanctioned meetings. If you want to get together and talk shop, just ask. With little effort we had four of us chatting for three or four hours. It was great. Odds are if you have other ArchiCAD users in your area, they are just as eager as you are to meet up and get nerdy. And if they don’t want to, they are wrong.

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ArchiCad Users Association Winterschool 2015 Thu, 09 Oct 2014 23:29:32 +0000 Do you like learning about ArchiCAD from some of the top users in the world? Do you like Snowfun? ArchiCAD Users Association Winterschool is for you.

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Jared’s note: as always, I’m jealous of everyone who gets to attend any ACUA event. They all sound crazy amazing. Below is some news about the ArchiCAD Users Association Winterschool 2015 from Helen Morse. Space is limited, so if this interests you, don’t waffle or delay. If you aren’t big into snow but want to go to an ArchiCAD event early next year, consider GSNA’s BIM Conference. It’s pretty cool that it’s getting easier and easier to find big ArchiCAD events (well if you live near or can get to them).

If you are curious, check out the agenda for Winterschool 2015. None of the ArchiCAD learning starts until 5 pm, there is designated sauna time, and an insane amount of the day is labeled “Snowfun”. Oh and the quality of the lectures? Here’s one from ACUA’s last event in September. <mindblown>

ACUA winter school 2015

January 24th to January 31st, 2015
Kasberg, Austria

Archicad Users Association is pleased to announce the above dates for the very popular learning event Archicad Winter School. This annual event is well attended, early bookings are essential as places up on the mountain are limited to 60.

Full week and half week options are available to suit your individual needs. Due to limited double rooms we are reserving double rooms for couples. Please look carefully at the options on the website.There are plenty of rooms at various price options. Due to feedback from previous years attendees, the two plus two family rooms now feature the bunk bed room at a more favourable price than the twin section of the suite. If you know other attendees just make a request for your roomshare.

Early bird discount is available for online bookings received by November 23rd, 2014.

The wesbite is now ready for bookings. If you have any questions at all prior to booking please contact me with your request.

As with previous years you need to travel direct to resort or arrange for your own flights to Salzburg where a bus will take you to resort. The bus is included in the room and event price.

Your air/plane/train/car travel is excluded.

The format will be as previous years, with hands on workshops lectures and one to one sessions available. The tutors will have had plenty of time to hone their skills and develop some great tips and tricks using Archicad V18. You will have plenty of time over the week to seek help with any specific queries or issues you have at the small price of a beverage in the bar. You will have access to the saunas and can book Wellness treatments. Last but not least there is the Skiing and Snowboarding. The pistes are quiet in January, this means we are practically the only ones on the slopes. If you love Archicad and want to learn more but cannot ski or snowboard. there are lessons that can be booked (at additional cost) and plenty of helpers through the week.

ACUA negotiate every year favourable rates for the ski pass and ski hire to help keep the prices down and the event more affordable. (note these are paid for separately and according to your individual needs). There are also special reduced rate rooms for students.

I hope that I will see you on the slopes in Kasberg 2015

Helen Morse (ACWS Events co-ordinator)

Click here for more Information

Jared again: Did Helen mention above that the Hochberghaus hotel (where the event happens) is located on a mountain and accessible only by cable car?!  A CABLE CAR! A freaking cable car!

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GRAPHISOFT BIM 2015 North America User Conference Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:30:50 +0000 Get the details and my biased opinion about why you should go to the GRAPHISOFT BIM 2015 North America User Conference

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March 11, 2015 @ 8:00 am to March 13, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

Green Valley Ranch Resort2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89052 United States

Graphisoft North America is having another User Conference. In 2013 we were in San Diego. In 2015 we are going to be in Las Vegas (or Henderson, but is there a difference?). I’m not a big Las Vegas** fan—I had a pretty crazy time the last time I was in Las Vegas—but I do love convenient, cheap direct flights. And Las Vegas sure has those! Also, when we were in San Diego I was too busy focusing on ArchiCAD to get out and about in the city. Which was partially my fault for not giving myself an extra day or night in the city. Maybe this time I’ll come in a little early or stay over Friday night and hit the strip with friends (more on that in a moment).

Okay so before we get to the details, a few other things. Here is a list of all the reasons why I thought you should go to the previous event in 2013. All those reasons more or less still apply. The details of some probably need tweaking (I’m not sure if I’m speaking in Las Vegas, that’s still in the works) and I have altered opinions about one of those points—though a forthcoming guest post will make a good argument about why that point is still valid (and thus I am probably wrong). Regardless, I want to add one more reason:

11. New Friends. I’ve been to two great Graphisoft events in the past year. First in San Diego and then at the mothership in Budapest (if you haven’t read my recap of the KCC, go do that after signing up for this event). The greatest parts of both events were talking with other users and Graphisoft employees. Imagine being in a place where everyone wants to talk about ArchiCAD. It is so freaking cool. So I’m excited to return to the GSNA User Conference to hang out with old friends and meet some new ones (and finally meet some old ones, too). Perhaps some of us should meet up the night before or the night after to explore the Vegas Strip and talk ArchiCAD. Or both before and after. What do you say? Are you going for the first time? Are you coming back? Let me know!

Finally the Details! (from the GSNA website)

User Conference Agenda

Click here to download our BIM 2015 North America User Conference preliminary schedule of activities!

Meet. Learn. Earn. (Up to 10 AIA CEUs)

Please join us in Las Vegas, for two days of education, innovation and fun! It’s your chance to learn from industry visionaries, GRAPHISOFT product experts and your peers.

  • Register before November 15th, you’ll save $100 per person!
  • Attend and strengthen your BIM skills – and your business.
  • Your registration fee includes access to all education sessions, parties, and meals.

Location & Lodging Information

This event is taking place at the 5-star Green Valley Ranch Resort. Hotel rooms are not covered in the conference fee, so please make your room reservations at GRAPHISOFT’s discounted rate of $160/night + tax.

Get more Details and Register!

**okay, I’ll come clean. In the process of writing this post, I started thinking about Las Vegas and my ambivalence towards it. The last time I was there I was in a much different place in my life, technically an adult but still in my mid-20s (which combined with being there with high school friends means I was acting and living like a college student). I’m ready to give the city another try. I think it’s going to be so much more fun to explore and experience now. I’m actually kind of excited to have a great excuse to return. Who’s with me?

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3D Printing Buildings: Fire Up the Constructorbots Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:45:08 +0000 3D Printing Buildings is quickly becoming a reality. Guest blogger Crawford Smith looks at three current trendsetters.

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Quick note from Jared: This article was originally posted over on Crawford’s blog a few months ago. He sent it to me first, but as you know Shoegnome was fairly quiet this summer so I’m just now getting to sharing it. I’ve got a number of other past due guest posts to share as well in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned.

This Guest Post is by Crawford Smith

In the last three decades, BIM tools have been changing the way buildings are conceived and designed. In a previous blog post, I described how I “drank the BIM Kool-Aid” and became a tireless (read: irritating) advocate for the adoption of BIM at the firm for which I was working at the time. I was really taken with the potential of having all of the information regarding the building centralized in one model, and could see that this was a very powerful tool. One of my enthusiastic arguments was that with BIM, the building design could one day be downloaded directly into construction robots, which would then go forth and build the building exactly as designed. I recall the reaction of one of the principals to whom I had told this: he raised a skeptical eyebrow—as if I had just reported Bigfoot hanging out in the lobby—and replied, “Don’t let any union guys hear you talking like that.” He was clearly unimpressed by my argument about the constructorbots, but was willing to give BIM a try nonetheless, which ended up being quite a good decision.

Now, thanks to 3D printing technology, the concept of taking a computer model of a building and loading it directly into fabrication machinery is a reality. Even I was surprised at how quickly my semi-facetious argument about loading a BIM model into a constructorbot has become reality.

There are a number of obvious advantages to 3D printing buildings: lower cost and construction time, less waste, less impact on the environment, and greater job site safety. The ability to cheaply and quickly create buildings also has a number of important social advantages as well. 3D printed housing could be created to provide low-income housing and emergency shelters following disasters.

Dutch Firm’s “Landscape House” to be 3D Printed

One of the first concepts for a 3D printed house was quite the opposite of low-income, however. Dutch architecture firm Universe Architects developed a design for the 5 million euro Landscape House. Based on the concept of a Möbius strip, the Landscape House is intended to blend into the landscape of the site.

Universe Architects’ “Landscape House”

The initial plan was to create all of the components of the house (except the glazing) using a large-scale 3D printer, called the D-Shape. Developed by Italian designer Enrico Dimi, the D-Shape uses the same 3D printing technology used by many commercial-grade printers, called granular binding. With this technology, a layer of sand is laid down, and a computer-controlled nozzle is used to apply a binder material in the desired shape. The unused sand is then removed, leaving the desired form, with a finish similar to sandstone. The D-Shape has already been used to create a 10-foot high pavilion, with plans to create an even larger version. Currently, I am unaware of any progress past the design stage for the Landscape House, although designer Janjaap Ruijssenaars has claimed in an interview that there are plans to “print” the Landscape House in one piece rather than assembling 3D printer-made parts. No details were provided.

3D Printing House Parts in China

In China, a firm has actually created buildings with components produced on a large-scale 3D printer. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company has developed a 3D printer that can create building components in a short amount of time. Unlike the D-Shape, the WinSun printer uses a technology similar to the fused filament fabrication (FFF) tech used by most desktop/hobbyist 3D printers. A movable extruder head lays down a layer of the material in the shape controlled by the design file. In this case, the material is a quick-drying combination of cement and construction waste.

WinSun’s 3D printer for walls

The process is very quick. Recently, WinSun produced the components needed to make ten small structures in less than 24 hours. To be fair, they did not produce the components need for the roofs or glazing, and they were using four printers at the same time. Nonetheless, this was a pretty amazing feat, and the estimated cost for each structure was less than $5,000. The buildings were then subsequently assembled on an industrial site in Shanghai.

Contour Crafting: Complete 3D Printed Buildings

Taking the WinSun concept one step further is Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. Khoshnevis has developed a system called Contour Crafting, which would utilize a building-sized mechanism to create an entire building in situ. As with the WinSun printer, the Contour Crafting printer takes the FFF tech and scales it up even further. The device would consist of a gantry that moves across the site on rails, putting down layers of material to build up the walls and other components of the building. These rails could be extended for long stretches, allowing for the construction of multiple buildings or entire neighborhoods at once.

Khoshnevis promotes the Contour Crafting system’s ability to easily create curvilinear shapes. that would be more seismically stable than buildings with rigid linear forms. He also estimates that the cost of the building could be reduced by up to 60% due to reduced waste and labor costs. Finally, the time to build would be a fraction of what it currently is, with a 2,500 square foot house being built in approximately 20 hours.


The Contour Crafting system has the potential to use multiple types of materials. Fiber-reinforced concrete cement has been successfully employed on smaller concept-of-design machines. Other traditional materials, such as adobe, could also be used with this system.

As the WinSun system has demonstrated, there are limitations to what can effectively be “printed” at a building-sized scale—e.g. the roofs. Khoshnevis intends to overcome this issue by incorporating a robotic arm into the system which would select and place components such as wall reinforcements, joists and lintels – not unlike a pick-and-place machine used for assembling circuit boards.

This pick-and-place system would not just be limited to architectural and structural components, but would also include mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well. Khoshnevis envisions a high degree of mobile robotic automation that could supplement or even replace the gantry system. What Khoshnevis envisions isn’t far off at all from the joke I once made while trying to sell BIM to one of the firm’s principals.

Just as BIM revolutionized the process of building design, 3D printing has the capability of radically changing the way buildings are constructed. Individually, each one is a powerful transformative technology. Combined, BIM and 3D printing could have an incredible impact on how we produce our built environment, allowing for beautiful, safe and inexpensive housing that is unattainable with current methodologies. This is an exciting field, and merits a great deal of support. Perhaps it won’t be too long before we can finish off our BIM-based designs, download them to the on-site server, and fire up the constructorbots!

Learn more about Tesseract Design, Crawford Smith, 3D printing, and related technology on Crawford’s blog.

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Nemetschek Acquires Bluebeam Software Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:18:36 +0000 Nemetschek gobbles up Bluebeam Software, and there was much rejoicing. It's nice to see Trimble and Autodesk aren't the only ones adding to their portfolio. Viva OpenBIM!

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Firms Combine Their Efforts to Make Project Collaboration Accessible to Everyone
Pasadena, CA (Oct 3, 2014) Today German software provider Nemetschek® AG (ISIN 0006452907) announced it is acquiring Bluebeam® Software, Inc., the leading developer of PDF-based collaboration solutions for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, for a $100 million purchase price.

“Today is an exciting day for Bluebeam Software and Bluebeam users alike,” said Richard Lee, Bluebeam Software CEO. “With its Open BIM philosophy, Nemetschek is committed to making project information available to everyone, a belief strongly held by Bluebeam as well. I look forward to working together to make digital project collaboration easier than ever.”

Nemetschek, Munich, is a globally leading software provider for the AEC industry. With its 11 brands including Vectorworks® and Graphisoft®, the Nemetschek Group now serves more than 1.2 million users in 142 countries from more than 40 locations worldwide. Founded in 1963 by Professor Georg Nemetschek, the company has been publicly listed since 1999 and quoted on the TecDAX. The company achieved revenues of EUR 185.9 million and an EBITDA of EUR 46.3 million in the 2013 financial year.

Both firms focus on enabling project teams to build better by digitizing project information. Bluebeam is used by 74% of Top US Contractors and 64% of Top US Design Firms, according to Engineering News-Record Top 50 firm rankings. Nemetschek solutions offer the world sustainable information technologies in all project phases and along the complete value chain.

With this acquisition, Nemetschek strongly reinforces its market presence in North America. Likewise, Bluebeam now has access to Nemetschek’s extensive European and Asian markets as the two organizations work together to make global project collaboration a reality, from project start to finish.

“Bluebeam is a perfect addition that strengthens our solution portfolio across the life cycle in the building process by adding drawing-based workflows to augment our model-based BIM workflows. As a result of the acquisition, we reinforce our goal of rising to become the world-leading open standards provider in the AEC market,” says Patrik Heider, CFOO and Spokesman of Nemetschek AG.

Bluebeam will continue operating with its current management team and as an independent brand company. The acquisition is expected to be completed in October 2014.


About Bluebeam Software, Inc.

Bluebeam Software’s innovative desktop, mobile and cloud solutions push the limits of digital collaboration to enable professionals, who work in the most document-intensive industries, to do what they do, better. Bluebeam’s award-winning PDF solutions are used by the world’s top architectural, engineering and construction firms, oil and gas companies, manufacturers, government agencies and municipalities to reduce paper usage by more than 85% and to increase productivity by over 60%. The Bluebeam Account Services team and global reseller network have been solving customer challenges in over 100 countries for more than a decade. Visit for more on why Bluebeam is changing the status quo and setting a new standard.

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How to Add IFC Properties to any element in ArchiCAD Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:42:59 +0000 Do you know how to add IFC Properties to any 3D element in ArchiCAD? You should. Here are two short videos that will show you how.

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…well any element that CAN have IFC Properties.

Many of us BIMnerds talk a lot about IFC. I am making a huge effort to bring it up in as many ArchiCAD related posts as I possibly can. You might have noticed this. We drop that acronym (IFC) like everyone reading knows what it means, knows what it doesn’t mean, and knows how to either use it fully or at least dabble. And I think we often just ignore that probably most readers don’t have a clue. Because if we didn’t ignore that sad fact, then all we’d do is explain the basics.

So today I’m going to explain some basics. No, not what IFC is. Or why you should use it. Or how you should use it properly. I’m just going to cover how freaking easy it is to add IFC Properties to an element in ArchiCAD. We can save the discussion of which things to add or how to create your own properties for another day.

Okay fine, so before we get to the videos, here’s a quick rundown of why you need to learn about IFC. If you want to attach text based data to your elements, using IFC Properties is the way to go because:

  1. Any IFC Property you use or create can be used as a criteria in Find & Select.
  2. Any IFC Property can also be scheduled in an Interactive Schedule.
  3. Any IFC Property can be shown in any view using the Label Tool (ArchiCAD 18 or newer).
  4. Any IFC Property can be attached to any 3D Element.
  5. All IFC Properties can be exported (along with the 3D elements they are attached to) to other AEC partners who use programs that support IFC and OpenBIM (which is every program worth using).

I plan on writing a post or maybe record a video digging deeper into why these points together are paradigm shifting.

ArchiCAD TIP #38: IFC Property Basics in ArchiCAD part 1
ArchiCAD TIP #39: IFC Property Basics in ArchiCAD part 2

That all said…

What would a blog post about IFC be without at least one mention of OpenBIM Sage Rob Jackson? I’ll tell you what it’d be: incomplete. So here’s a great post by Rob about why you should be using IFC. He’ll give you the BIG ANSWER. But remember the inverse of this question: “why should you NOT be using IFC?” There is no reason. No reason at all.

Are you impatient to learn about IFC mapping? Laszlo Nagy has a great tutorial for you on the ArchiCAD-Talk Forum. He’ll show you how to map properties AND then show them automatically in any view using the Label Tool (all of this needs to be in ArchiCAD 18 or newer).

Did you think my videos were too basic? Here’s a killer video by Tim Ball that covers connecting custom IFC properties to schedules (and labels in drawings). It’s one of the best ArchiCAD videos I’ve seen in a long time and will mention it again. And it’s based on a presentation Tim gave at ACUA Summer School 2014.

Subscribe to my blog to read more about the tricky world of being an Architect in the 21st century: Shoegnome on FacebookTwitter, and RSS feed. And now you can join the LinkedIN group too. And yes understanding IFC is increasingly important to that tricky world.

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How Twitter can teach you ArchiCAD Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:06:46 +0000 How does one go about learning ArchiCAD? Joining Twitter to follow one particular ArchiCAD guru is a good start.

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This is a story I’ve told thousands of times. When I first starting learning ArchiCAD I would spend a little bit of each day on the ArchiCAD-Talk forum—a few minutes in the morning, some time during lunch, at the end of the day when I was just dragging and looking for some inspiration. I would also jump on whenever I had a question or when my coworkers had issues I couldn’t solve. The forum and the ArchiCAD greats there taught (and continue to teach) me so much. I’ve written about those giants before, including my Top 5 (3 of whom I’ve now met in person). These days I have much less time to peruse the forum, but I do my best to regularly check in.

If you are in need of some inspiration from the forum, here’s my three main tricks:

  1. Look for posts with images—in the thread list you’ll see a little paperclip. Posts with images mean questions and/or answers contain a visual component (duh). The images are useful to understand the issues, but also often have bonus incidental content. So a question about schedules might also contain an image that reveals some other feature you didn’t know about. Plus if you’re tired or pressed for time, it’s easy to scan over the images to see if the text is worth reading.
  2. Look for posts with comments by your favorite people. I’m more likely to read threads that contain answers by some of my ArchiCAD heroes because I want to see their advice and/or because if they spent the time to respond, then it’s probably worth my time as well (especially if they can’t answer it, but I can).
  3. Use the Search function. From the Search screen you can focus on a particular interest you have—say angled curtain walls or spaceships—and search the entire 10+ years of the forum for answers.
  4. Click on a user’s profile. If you click on a user’s name in the thread list or on the profile button below a post, you can get to their profile page. From there you can bring up every post they have ever written. So if you need inspiration you can just scroll through everything one of your favorite posters has been writing about. I definitely still do that.

What to look for on the forum

Writing this post though I’m reminded of why I don’t check the forum that often anymore. It’s a rabbit hole for me. I jumped on to find example images for this post and then 15 minutes later I found myself just reading about cool Objects and various problems and solutions. I get sucked in and find so much of it interesting. So while my tips above will help you find good stuff to read, it won’t necessarily keep you from over-indulging in the magic of the forum.

Oh right, this post is supposed to be about Twitter

Laszlo Nagy is the ArchiCAD-Talk Moderator and Site Admin. He also happens to be a wonderful person—he gave a bunch of us ArchiCAD users a tour of Budapest when we were all there for the Key Client Conference earlier this year. He has just started tweeting, with the express purpose of sharing highlights from the forum. This is awesome. He hasn’t tweeted much yet, but go check out what he has shared. It’s all top quality stuff. Go follow him. And if you don’t have a Twitter account but use ArchiCAD, go get an account. Then follow him and maybe a few other ArchiCAD focused accounts. But really just Laszlo.

Laszlo Nagy’s ArchiCAD-Talk Tweets

Laszlo Nagy on Twitter

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