Shoegnome | Shoegnome http://www.shoegnome.com Being an Architect in the 21st Century Ain't Easy Sun, 07 Sep 2014 23:19:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 How to Sharpen Pencils http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/09/03/sharpen-pencils/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/09/03/sharpen-pencils/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 05:05:35 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2302 Everything is about craft. Whether you are doing BIM or sharpening pencils, there is a right and a wrong way. There is a way to do it with care and a way to just half-ass it.

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Everything is about craft. Whether you are doing BIM or sharpening pencils, there is a right and a wrong way. There is a way to do it with care and a way to just half-ass it.

I’m not sure I have anything else to add to this video. Make sure you watch the very end.

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Graphisoft interviewed me at the Key Client Conference in Budapest http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/21/graphisoft-interviewed-key-client-conference-budapest/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/21/graphisoft-interviewed-key-client-conference-budapest/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:32:41 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2343 Graphisoft asked me some questions. I talked a lot.

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I checked the number of views on this video. It’s somewhere over 35,000 as of August 21st, 2014. So maybe you’ve already seen it. But if not, here it is. It covers why I’m excited about ArchiCAD 18 and beyond, why Shoegnome is called Shoegnome, and a few other things. Also it shows you what I look like after not sleeping for a few days. Enjoy.

By the way, you might have noticed a bit more silence from me on the Internet this Summer. That’s going to continue through September. Two years of moving again and again and again has finally caught up with me. That and for the next six weeks if you ask me what I do, I’ll say I’m a stay at home dad who is also an architect and writer. But I have hundreds of articles brewing and a number of guest posts that I need to get up. So not complete silence. Probably.

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GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud Solution Wins Silver Stevie® Award in 2014 International Business Awards http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/15/graphisofts-bimcloud-solution-wins-silver-stevie-award-2014-international-business-awards/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/15/graphisofts-bimcloud-solution-wins-silver-stevie-award-2014-international-business-awards/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:35:01 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2346 Winners to Be Celebrated at Gala Banquet on October 10 in Paris, France BUDAPEST, August 14, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud was named the winner of a Silver Stevie® Award in the Best New Product or Service of the Year – Software – Cloud Application/Service category in the 11th Annual International …

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IBA14_Silver_H

Winners to Be Celebrated at Gala Banquet on October 10 in Paris, France

BUDAPEST, August 14, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud was named the winner of 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.

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2014 IBAs received entries from more than 60 nations and territories.

Nicknamed the Steviesfor the Greek word for “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala awards banquet at the Westin Paris – Vendôme Hotel in Paris, France on 10 October.

More than 3,500 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Company of the Year, Website of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others. BIMcloud won in the Best New Product or Service of the Year – Software category for Cloud Application/Service.

GRAPHISOFT’s BIMcloud Solution goes far beyond basic cloud services offerings available on the market today. Thanks to its unique set of features, it is the only cloud solution that offers a true model-based BIM collaboration environment for companies and projects of any size. With the help of its mobile integration through the cloud, all stakeholders of the design-build process can actively participate in the collaborative work. Its private cloud setup option enables companies working on projects with extended security requirements to keep their data on premise and entirely under control, offering the benefits and flexibility of the cloud to all AEC projects without exception.

“We are pleased and proud to be recognized by the International Business Awards for our efforts on behalf of architects, engineers, and contractors around the world,” said Viktor Varkonyi, CEO of GRAPHISOFT.

Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 250 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process from May through early August.

“We congratulate all of the Stevie winners in this year’s IBAs,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The quality of entries we receive improves every year. This year’s judges were rewarded with the opportunity to review more than 3,500 stories of business achievement and innovation from around the world. We look forward to celebrating the winners’ achievements in Paris on October 10.”

Details about The International Business Awards and the lists of Stevie Award winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/IBA.

About GRAPHISOFT

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 archicad.com to see the most important milestones in ArchiCAD’s 30-year history.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in six programs: The International Business Awards, The American Business Awards, the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  The sixth program, the German Stevie Awards, opens for entries on 18 August. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

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GRAPHISOFT Releases BIMx Docs for Android http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/14/graphisoft-releases-bimx-docs-android/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/08/14/graphisoft-releases-bimx-docs-android/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:19:23 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2348 BUDAPEST, August 11, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT®, the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) architectural software developer, announced today that its award-winning BIM presentation app, BIMx Docs, has been released for Android phones and tablets in Google Play. This release makes BIMx Docs available on the largest installed base of any mobile …

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BUDAPEST, August 11, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT®, the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) architectural software developer, announced today that its award-winning BIM presentation app, BIMx Docs, has been released for Android phones and tablets in Google Play. This release makes BIMx Docs available on the largest installed base of any mobile OS in the world.

This newest app hosts the same functionality as the iOS version, but with a simplified license structure:

  • There is only one app available for download, which is free and opens Hyper-models in demo mode (3D only);
  • The full BIMx Docs functionality (for an unlimited number of models) can be purchased inside the app for $50.

In addition to making the entire workflow virtually hassle-free, GRAPHISOFT’s BIMx Docs for ArchiCAD saves architects considerable money and the misery that comes with printing plans. The BIMx Docs functionality for a user’s current and future projects can be unlocked in one step – all for the price of printing one complete documentation set. Clients and other stakeholders can follow a building project simply by asking their architect to send them the BIMx Hyper-model of the project to their mobile device.

To download BIMx Docs for Android, click here.

About BIMx Docs

BIMx Docs is a professional BIM project viewer featuring “BIMx Hyper-models,” a unique technology for integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation. BIMx Hyper-models offer extremely smooth handling and outstanding performance, even for projects with complex 3D building models and extensive 2D documentation.

About GRAPHISOFT

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 archicad.com to see the most important milestones in ArchiCAD’s 30-year history.cropped+-+1024-AppstoreArtwork

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ArchiCAD 18 rendering: World Cup 2014 Ball http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/11/archicad-18-rendering-world-cup-2014-ball/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/11/archicad-18-rendering-world-cup-2014-ball/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:43:48 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2337 Curious about how good the ArchiCAD 18 rendering engine is? Check this out.

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ArchiCAD 18 Rendering ExampleA lot of people (users and non-users) are curious about ArchiCAD 18’s new rendering engine. Here’s a video showing a quick ArchiCAD 18 rendering and celebrating the approaching end of the 2014 World Cup. Not too shabby, eh?

I’m fairly sure this video was done by the same awesome Graphisoft employee who did this Star Wars themed video for ArchiCAD 16 (and who I got to meet last month in Budapest). I’m going to go e-mail him about rendering that old TIE Fighter model in ArchiCAD 18. That would be super-freaking awesome.

So, has anyone had time to do some good renderings in ArchiCAD 18 yet? Share some links below.

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Four Years of Shoegnome = 560 posts http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/11/4-years-shoegnome-560-posts/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/11/4-years-shoegnome-560-posts/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:30:58 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2332 Four years of blogging. Next stop five years.

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Four years of blogging. In a few more months Shoegnome will have been my longest job. That’s pretty cool, and weird. Of course the first eighteen months were part time; but to be fair I thought about Shoegnome more than my day job during that time. And my “real” job was essentially part-time as well. So I’ll count the time as legit for both activities and not quibble over semantics. Except of course if you’ve read anything I’ve written over the past year or so, you know I love to quibble over semantics. Ah well. What would life be without complexity… (stock answer: hand drawing).

Statler and Waldorf

In response to the cartoon, oddly enough I don’t have much else I want to say today. Weird. Time to catch up on some ArchiCAD related work, or go to Costco. Probably go to Costco.

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Virtual Time Travel is now possible, Sort of http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/10/virtual-time-travel-now-possible-sort/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/10/virtual-time-travel-now-possible-sort/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:02:34 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2331 Google Maps has just made your life as an architect easier, or at least more interesting.

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Sometime in the late 1990s I read a science fiction book about time travel (Timemaster by Robert L. Forward). The details are hazy and the reviews of the book aren’t kind, but that’s okay because it’s what I remember (or mis-remember) about the book that matters today. In the book time travel was made possible via wormholes—the actual story (which was kind of weak) was basically just a vehicle to talk about how wormholes (in theory) make interstellar travel and then time travel possible. However one could only travel back in time to the point that the wormholes were created. This is one of those explanations as to why we haven’t seen time travelers yet. You can only travel back to the start of time travel, not the start of time. I like this concept, partially because it’s a great analogy for the world we live in today.

I document a lot of my life on Facebook, partially to share it with friends and family, and partially to preserve it for future reference—mostly to preserve it for future, easy access. That’s actually a big part of why I blog as well. I use Shoegnome all the time to look-up all sorts of things I found interesting at some point in the past.  So thanks to Facebook I can easily go back to review all the stuff I’ve done since the summer of 2009 (and for architecture related content Shoegnome can send me back to July 11th, 2010). It’s virtual time travel.

I think about how different it is for people growing up today. I was 28 years 6 months and 14 days old when I joined Facebook (thanks WolframAlpha); which to me is the start of my virtual time travel capacity. My daughters, who are now 3 and 5 both have their entire lives up there. And that makes me think about the access to history they’ll have. I know bits about my family’s history—vague memories from my youth, stories from my parents and brothers from before I was born, some second hand stories about my grandparents, and a fair number of hard to access old photos, though not much from before World War II; but most of it is a dark and fading haze. And little of it comes with commentary. If I want to learn more I need to pester my parents or get my 96-year-old Grandmother to reminisce about days long past. My daughters will have more options. They will have mountains of primary sources to dig through, both about themselves and their parents. Assuming access remains (and I don’t see why it won’t), my daughters will be able to, at perhaps any point in the future, travel back in time through my old Facebook posts, Tweets, blog posts, etc. They’ll be able to see and read what their mom and I were like when we were younger. When my daughters are in their 20s and 30s, they’ll be able to encounter long gone versions of their parents from a similar age. I know to some people this is frightening and eery, but I love it. Maybe this is because I grew up in Connecticut and was surrounded by our early American history. The town I grew up in was founded in 1633 and I spent many afternoons volunteering at the local Historical Society, typing up old hand written notes from long dead residents of the town. Every day I drove past homes there were one, two, and three hundred years old. The potential historical record of Facebook, LinkedIN, etc. is exactly the same to me. Except more detailed, more personal, and more enlightening to someone trying to understand their direct ancestors and historical context.

While Facebook and other social media sites allow that for our personal lives, Google is attempting that for the rest of the world. Already via the magic of web searches it’s easy to find articles from the past and all sorts of historical information. But there’s more.

Explore the Streets of the World like it’s 2007. Or maybe 2009, 2011, 2012…

Google has added an amazing update to Google Maps for architects. Well two cool new features (check the bottom of the post for the other). Google Street View now allows you to travel back to 2007.

My new house in 2008 My new house in 2011

The above images are what Google Street View has of my new house. My old house in St. Paul, Minnesota has four different images from 2007-2012, so the progression of time is even more evident. It’s interesting to see what’s changed at both properties during the documented time period. I’ll definitely be visiting my old house virtually for years to see how it continues to develop. I especially want to watch the tree I planted in the front yard grow, or perhaps get chopped down.

Google Street View and Google Maps (and Bing Maps) have become indispensable tools for me as an architect. So much of my work is remote, so I rely on these services to help me understand sites and existing conditions. And now I can add historical views as well. This will be great to understand changes. For instance I know now that the trellis by the street at my new house was built sometime between 2008 and 2011. As a curious home owner, that’s good to know. This information will only get more useful with time. Right now we only have about seven years of information, and clearly for some locations only a few measly data points. But if Google keeps this time travel option, and continues to document reality, we will eventually have decades worth of images to sift through. With this (and eventually other similar tools) at our disposal, when we are learning about a new property for a client, we’ll be able to tell things like how well the property was kept up over time, how old certain changes (or damage) might be, whether things disappeared…

Oh and as each image is taken at a different time of day and year, all these aggregated images also gives us a sense of how the seasons affect individual properties. Bonus thought: this will also make great before and after opportunities (eventually) for remodels and new construction. Either by finding old images or waiting for new ones to be added. Cool stuff. Bonus, bonus thought: need more documentation about a site? Think about all those images and videos we and our clients take of ourselves in our homes. I bet there’s a bunch of useful data there too. Or is that going too far and starting to make you feel uneasy? Just wait until all those photos contain depth data as well. It’s coming.

So what do you think? How will you use the ability to time travel with Google Street View to add value to your architectural services?

Want more news about Augmented and Altered Reality craziness from Google? Check out these other recent advances which will affect how architects practice:

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It’s been a while since Google sold SketchUp to Trimble; who should be gloating? http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/09/google-sold-sketchup-trimble-gloating/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/09/google-sold-sketchup-trimble-gloating/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:38:27 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2322 Who won when Google sold SketchUp to Trimble? Or more importantly what does it mean that Google didn't want SketchUp anymore?

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It’s actually kind of a complex answer. Let’s look at each of the three players.

SketchUp (and its users) for sure. Their favorite tool was sold from one mega-firm to another. And arguably a step up since Trimble is focused on the construction industry, while Google isn’t.

Trimble since they just acquired a mature, much loved tool used by architects and many others. They probably see posts like this one about what software skills firms are looking for in new employees and are thrilled that SketchUp is so much in demand. Trimble is smart. They know how well SketchUp fits into their vision of the future, a future that connects the documentation to the construction site and final built products. Their portfolio is more complete now with SketchUp as a growing power tool for architects. And they are wasting no time exploring and developing some awesome augmented reality and digital/analog merging technology and apps that build on access to SketchUp (this, for example). But then again that last link is about Trimble building on top of something developed by another company…

Google since they offloaded something they didn’t need. This should make us all sit up a bit. Google had a very nice 3D modeling software and then they got rid of it. SketchUp isn’t a global money maker. I’m sure it’s profitable and valuable in our AEC space, but it’s always good to remember that the money floating around that comes from us, not from what we produce (ie, the built environment) is tiny in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know the numbers, but do you think more money was dumped into research and development for BIM tools or for Social Media platforms in 2014? How about BIM tools or Candy Crush clones? Okay that last one is a bit extreme. But step back. BIM tools or video games? That’s a no brainer. (as an aside, I’d love to know how much the percentage of Autodesk’s profits come from AEC software, and how much that’s shrunk over the years). Anyways it should be clear that we’re not a huge deal.

Back to the original comment about Google offloading SketchUp. The awesome thing that helped propel SketchUp during the Google years (from my perspective) was its connection to Google Earth and Google Maps. There were once challenges to model cities and anyone could put their models into Google Earth for anyone else to view. That’s all still possible now, right? But there’s no need. Google has improved its reality capturing tools (cars with cameras, satellites with cameras, etc.) such that it’s pulling the 3D forms from reality. So now if you go to Google Earth or Google Maps, the 3D isn’t as clean and pretty as it once was, but it’s all more or less automated—or at least aggregated from collected data. So Google stopped needing SketchUp because it no longer needed to model reality. It could just scan reality. In just a few short years it made that leap. And while right now when I go to Google Earth I get annoyed because it doesn’t feel as nice as it did during the SketchUp era, that’ll change. Probably just another couple of months or a year or two. 3D scanning technology, like the Structure Sensor, is advancing so fast.

What does all that point to? Why am I talking about this so long after the sale of SketchUp happened? This isn’t about how good SketchUp is, but about the genre in general. I think about the coming day when everything is so easily scanned, so easily documented. At that point what happens to the age old domain of the architect? We’re clinging to old methods, or anachronistic facsimiles of old methods with digital tools (line weights on a limited number of building sections, precise hatches that follow old graphic standards, etc). And before we fully understand the value and power of our current advanced methods (BIM), that might become obsolete because all our kids have smartphones that can just scan and document the environment. Or they don’t even need to do that because giant corporations like Google have already done it all for them.

Are we all racing ahead to improve BIM and master the ability to model anything and everything just as changes to the technological landscape will negate some or all of the benefits? I know permitting departments need plans and will want them for years. And stuff will need professional stamps of all sorts…but change is coming. And…

We architects are slow. We are at risk of being eclipsed by forces unrelated to architecture. What then? How to do we survive the transition to a world where our special skills are dwarfed by ubiquitous access of easy to use, abundant, and ever present tech? No answers today. Just more questions.

Okay, one answer. Or a clue at least. A focus on information and design and a decoupling from documentation and traditional instruments of service offer one potential direction. Documentation and modeling will become automated in due time (already if you are still drawing elevations and sections you are doing it wrong). So while we need 3D modeling and 2D drawing skills for today, we need to focus on other skills and strengths for the future. In a few years all my rants about hand sketching will probably apply to manual 3D modeling. And yes I know documenting existing conditions is different from designing new, but the automation of one will definitely lead to monumental changes (and automation?) in the other. Don’t fall behind.

Draw draw draw model model model 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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Nemetschek joins buildingSMART International’s Strategic Advisory Council for better interoperability http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/09/nemetschek-joins-buildingsmart-internationals-strategic-advisory-council-better-interoperability/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/09/nemetschek-joins-buildingsmart-internationals-strategic-advisory-council-better-interoperability/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:15:32 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2329 Munich, July 9, 2014 – Nemetschek AG (ISIN 0006452907) announced today that, together with Autodesk, Trimble and HOK, it has joined buildingSMART International’s start-up Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) as a founding member to foster better interoperability between stakeholders in the built environment industries. The aim of the buildingSMART International initiated …

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Munich, July 9, 2014 – Nemetschek AG (ISIN 0006452907) announced today that, together with Autodesk, Trimble and HOK, it has joined buildingSMART International’s start-up Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) as a founding member to foster better interoperability between stakeholders in the built environment industries.

The aim of the buildingSMART International initiated Strategic Advisory Council is to gather a group of senior representatives from the world’s leading international businesses operating in or serving the built environment. The intent is to merge the commercial experience of major industry stakeholders with buildingSMART’s vision of a universal collaboration format for building models; enabling the efficient and quality exchange of information between the various software solutions.

Viktor Várkonyi, Member of the Executive Board of Nemetschek AG, said “The Nemetschek Group welcomes this strategic initiative. Nemetschek and buildingSMART share the goal of ensuring that open standards, such as IFC and BCF, become the undisputable standard for model-based collaboration in the AEC industry. Ultimately, we want to ensure that end-users can build their collaborative workflows based on the highest possible quality neutral data exchange. The guarantee for our success lies in the fact that all the Nemetschek Group Companies as well as Autodesk and Trimble are committed to this very same goal.”

In addition to the data format standards, an equally important component of success is to further develop the market engagement for the deployment of such open standards. A closely related, major role of SAC will be to advise buildingSMART International in its market evangelization activities. Nemetschek welcomes the immediate priority of buildingSMART to extend SAC membership to consultants, contractors, product manufacturers, operators and owners representing all major verticals of the AEC industry.500px-Nemetschek

For further information about Nemetschek, please contact:

Nemetschek AG

Stefanie Zimmermann, Investor Relations
+49 89 92793 1229
szimmermann@nemetschek.com

About Nemetschek AG

Nemetschek, Munich, is a leading global software provider for the AECM industry (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Management). From more than 40 locations worldwide and with its 12 brands, the Nemetschek Group serves more than 1.2 million users in 142 countries. Founded in 1963 by Prof. Georg Nemetschek, the Group has always focused on innovations such as, e.g. Open Building Information Modeling (Open BIM) for the AECM market of tomorrow. The company, which has been listed on the stock exchange since 1999 and in the TecDAX, generated revenues of EUR 185.9 million in 2013 with an EBITDA margin of 24.9 percent.

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GRAPHISOFT Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore Institute of Architects http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/07/graphisoft-signs-memorandum-understanding-singapore-institute-architects/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/07/07/graphisoft-signs-memorandum-understanding-singapore-institute-architects/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 21:48:54 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2325 SINGAPORE/BUDAPEST, July 7, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT®, the global leader in Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions for architects, announced today that a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA). The MOU signals a commitment to working together for the advancement of architecture and …

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SINGAPORE/BUDAPEST, July 7, 2014 – GRAPHISOFT®, the global leader in Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions for architects, announced today that a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA). The MOU signals a commitment to working together for the advancement of architecture and specifically to promoting Building Information Modeling (BIM) knowledge and enhancing professional BIM skill levels among architects in Singapore.

Singapore Institute of Architects
Theodore Chan, SIA and Tibor Stahl, GRAPHISOFT

The MOU was signed by Tibor Stahl, Director and Colin Kum, Sales Director of GRAPHISOFT Hong Kong Singapore Branch; Theodore Chan, President of SIA; and Mr. Ashvinkumar, Immediate Past President of SIA.

The MOU was designed to establish a SIA-GRAPHISOFT Partnership Program to boost collaboration and jointly host seminars, workshops, and events.

The Partnership Program includes sponsorship in the following areas:

  • Archifest and ArchXpo Sponsorship (2014, 2015, and 2016)
  • SIA Practice Convention Sponsorship and Knowledge Sharing (2015, 2016, and 2017)
  • SIA Design Awards Category Sponsor (2014, 2015, and 2016)
  • Professional Knowledge Seminars (2014, 2015, and 2016)

With this partnership, GRAPHISOFT is committed to sharing deeper knowledge of practical BIM application with architects and helping professionals in Singapore leverage BIM technology to enhance productivity and cost-savings.

About GRAPHISOFT

GRAPHISOFT®ignited theBIMrevolution 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 Groupsince its acquisition in 2007. Visit archicad.com to see the most important milestones in ArchiCAD’s 30-year history.

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Design like an Architect http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/06/26/design-like-an-architect/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/06/26/design-like-an-architect/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:41:16 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2211 How does one design like an architect? Here's a spoiler, the answer isn't tool specific.

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“I haven’t ever – I mean EVER – personally met an architect who I thought was a good designer who didn’t sketch.” —some architect other than me

I seem to be reading and hearing a lot about how we just NEED to sketch. A little everyday. To think, to dream, to be architects. That everyday we need to pick up a pencil and be an architect to help us be better architects (no type-o in that sentence). That if you can’t draw by hand you can’t design. Or that you can design but you are lesser than those that can design by hand. Recently I had a friend tell me about a job interview. The position was essentially for a BIM Manager/production lead at a high design firm. In the interview the boss made the “if you can’t draw, you can’t design” statement. How sad. A mentality like that hinders the proper adoption and integration of BIM and other modern workflows and tools that might (will definitely) improve the quality of design and the value of the firm. But wait, it gets worse. I even had a comment (which I deleted) from a previous post that saw my interest in teaching a class that focuses on other methods of sketching (not even designing) as proof that I was a poorly educated, ignorant, and inexperienced fool who needed someone wiser to school him. What the fuck is wrong with us?

Someone needs to stand up to this close-minded, regressive ideological brainwashing. How about this: everyday we need to open a BIM program and design. Just five or ten minutes. It doesn’t matter what. You just need to practice. You need to stretch your mind. You need to think in new ways. And then after you get comfortable designing with BIM, find something else. Find something more powerful or less. But expand your design process and expand your toolbox. Try writing about your designs for five to ten minutes a day (more on that at the end). How about that? Design through words rather than sketches or 3D digital models. Or how about clay?

Stop being close minded. If architects are still beholden to one primary method for creativity, good luck staying relevant.

If however we are interested in other methods of design, about becoming more valuable, about taking some risks, we must experiment with some other ways of designing. And yes, if you aren’t proficient at sketching, you should probably add that to your to do list. But don’t for one second think it gets priority above other avenues of creativity just because Frank Lloyd Wright or your boss designed that way. Sorry I sound like a broken record about this, but this is my crusade and I’m still searching for the right answers to why this affects me so deeply. It’s a barrier to our relevance, but there is something more…

There is plenty of value in sketching and using a pencil/pen as part of the design process. But yet we need a decoupling. We need to get other tools on an equal footing with that classic method. One way to achieve this is to knock down the reigning champion; the other is to uplift the other solutions. The purpose of all my writing about digital vs analog methods has always been to uplift the other. But I don’t always succeed in being clear with my intentions and, as I’ve learned from my days of discussing ArchiCAD and Revit, it is easy to take cheap shots. But as I review old posts and comments I’m also struck by the fear and anger in some of our reactions. Architects turning their backs on traditional methods? NO!!!! Apostate!

I had a post I’ve been mulling over for a few months. Well I have hundreds of posts that fit that description, but one in particular has been ever present, always haunting me. It was entitled:

To become a better architect I refuse to sketch by hand

Now I try not to be sensational for the sake of spectacle, so there was deep truth to that blog post title. My assumption was that the conscious act of not doing something so assumed and taken for granted within our profession would teach me something about that skill, that mentality, and about why we work the way we do. All things that would raise my awareness and make me a better architect. So for the past few months I have been doing my damnedest to turn to other methods for problem solving—BIM, writing, using a apps on my ipad or phone, anything other than picking up a pen or pencil. Why? It goes back to that quote from the beginning of the post. I read that on a prominent architecture blog and I had only one thought in my head: CHALLENGE FUCKING ACCEPTED! Are statements like that legitimate because no one can, or because no one has really tried. I mean REALLY tried to develop a non-hand sketching based design process. I wanted to find out. To be a purist, I figured the answer was to not touch a pencil or pen at all. That way there would be no question. Because when does a couple of scratches on a scrap of paper turn into “oh see, you NEED to sketch” to design. There obviously is a Venn Diagram of Sketching, Not Sketching, and Tricky Gray Area which would undermine my arguments. So I strove for purity. And let me tell you, I mean PURITY. It was/is/continues to be not easy. Over correction is never simple.

Are you Sketching

I made this choice not because I think it’s a better route, but because I don’t know. And neither do you or anyone else. Maybe sketching and analog tools are holding us back, making us weak and dumb. Maybe they are the crutch I fear they are. But perhaps they aren’t. We have no knowledge. We have no tests. We have no data. All we can say is here’s historical proof that this method functions. Not that it is the best or even good enough. Just that it has been used for ever. Thus I decided to be a guinea pig in my own pseudo-scientific experiment (this isn’t the first one of these experiments I’ve run, but those stories are for another day).

How would not sketching change your perception and relationship with the problem at hand? How would you problem solve differently?

My work space right now is just my laptop on our dining room table, so really the only analog tools at my disposal are a pen in my pocket and some Post-it notes that my daughters haven’t completely destroyed. This meant doing everything in the computer wasn’t too hard. And all my clients and team members are hundreds or thousands of miles away. So the more that is digital, the better: a couple of lines in ArchiCAD are easier to share than ten layers of trace. And since we are so spread out and I have so many different types of work going on, having a digital trail of who said what and who modeled what and what things looked like at any point in the past is super useful.

Unfortunately the problem with aiming for purity is that it’s near impossible and foolish. After a couple days (or weeks, I can’t remember), I was working on a house design and while doing something—the dishes, driving to daycare, or maybe lying in bed—I came up with a solution to a planning problem. The closest tools at hand were a ballpoint pen and a Post-It note. I didn’t want to forget the idea so I made some scribbles.

I_sketched

The above genius idea sat next to my computer for a day or two until I got back to the project and worked out the idea in ArchiCAD. I think it ended up sort of working. Ever since this Post-It, a few others have crept into my workflow. Yesterday I scribbled the different layers of a wall assembly on another Post-It because I was in the middle of a Skype meeting and was sharing my screen; the wall assembly was tangential to the conversation so I wanted to hide my distracted thoughts from the team.

So have I failed? Have I proved that every architect (good or bad) needs to sketch? Is that garbage above sketching? Or is that just a graphic note? I don’t know. But I realize it doesn’t matter. Purity was the wrong goal. If I had to, I know I could burn all the pencils, cray-pas, and pens in my house (though my daughters would strangle me). I could design with only one set of tools. But that is dumb. The real goal is to understand the value of all the tools at hand and exploit them to their fullest. To do that, we need to devalue some and elevate others. I wish we could just uplift, but I don’t think we are there yet as a profession.

What I’ve learned from this purity exercise is this: I need pens and paper handy because sometimes it’s the fastest way to not lose an idea. It’s not about resolving the idea, but about documenting it in a manner than can be thought about later. Thought about with tools I find more appropriate for the task. For instance, the scribble above. The way to understand if it works is to add accuracy and context—two things that are (for me) much more effectively done digitally. I can’t stress enough here that the reason I grabbed the pen in this instance was about short-term speed and efficacy. I had a 3 second idea that needed 3 seconds of execution. The complexity of the idea matched the speed of the available tool. The doodle was a placeholder for future thought.

Hopefully from here I can shift the conversation to how all tools have value. But sadly I think it might mean some more clarification of the values and problems with old methods because I don’t yet think we as a profession understand when the speed of pencil to paper stops being of value (speed seems to be one of the major arguments for those methods). When does that speed breakdown, hinder thinking, or fail to keep up with the complexity of the task at hand? As in I have an idea, it’ll take 5 seconds to draw. Or I have an idea, it’ll take 15 minutes to draw. Somewhere between those two lengths of time is the cut off. Somewhere in there is the moment when you are wasting your time by holding on to old methods, propping them up as necessary for good architecting. But I don’t know where that is. I know it’s not five seconds. But where is it? I think that’s my next challenge.

Final Tangent

It’s time to end this post, but if you are curious about the connection to speed and thought, check out this awesome article about typing, writing by hand, information retention, and creativity. I want to write more about this later (well about the speed of design in general), but it’s worth sharing here. Spoiler alert: there is an inflection point where typing becomes much more creative than writing by hand. And a speed below which typing essentially makes you dumber.

Perhaps my crusade for the elevation of BIM comes from my experiences with writing. When I started blogging four years ago I was an average typist. I don’t know what my WPM was, but nothing to brag about, probably below the proposed magical 60 WPM requirement for creativity. I took the test in the article above and I am now somewhere between 80 and 100 WPM, depending on the trial run, and if I slowdown to attain perfection. I could never write by hand that fast. For me typing is a very creative process, partially thanks to speed (and years and years of practice). In the past four years I’ve experienced the transition with writing that I’m trying to push for in our industry. At some point we get fast enough that what we are doing becomes invisible. We must find that inflection point with BIM and other modern tools. We must gain speed and understanding so that we can free ourselves to higher levels of creativity. If it can happen with typing and creative writing, then it can happen with more graphic forms of creativity, right?

My brain only works when I hold a pencil

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In Need of an Update http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/06/17/progressive-building-client-firm-lot-classics/ http://www.shoegnome.com/2014/06/17/progressive-building-client-firm-lot-classics/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 23:01:20 +0000 http://www.shoegnome.com/?p=2156 Quick! What year was this photo taken in? 2014? 1974? 1944? Our construction sites, on a macro scale, are due for a big overhaul, don't you agree?

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02142014 The above image is a view from my apartment on February 14th, 2014. Do you know what is being built? This hole is the first of three towers that Amazon is building on the edge of downtown Seattle. In the end these towers will house something like 15,000 employees and completely transform—for better or worse—this corner of Seattle.

If you read through all the available literature on this project (there is a ton online), the design is fairly advanced. The glass domes that will make up the onsite retail space were probably generated using some fancy software and it’s a safe guess that the phrase “perimetric design” was tossed around a lot in various design meetings (wild speculation, but is there any doubt?). I don’t know any of the details of the actual design process, but I can image like any modern skyscraper some BIM platform was used and there were enough computer generated renderings created to reach from Seattle to Portland (again a guess, but what modern firm isn’t producing tons of glossy renderings for fancy projects these days). I can also imagine that physical models were built too, maybe even using 3D printing. One can hope. All of this is cutting edge architecture office stuff, and let’s be honest: a bit run of the mill for most big firms. Not a slight here, just big architecture firms have the resources and drive to tackle all that stuff for large projects. In addition to the process of design being pretty forward thinking (I assume), so too are the buildings themselves. You can read details here. It’s all good and again not too surprising for a prominent architecture firm and client: shooting for LEED Gold, a mix of amenities for the public and the workers, some high design moments and some more reserved, but competent portions (buildings can’t be all flare…I’m looking at you EMP Museum).

Progressive Building, Client, and Firm, but a lot of classics too

It’s awesome getting to watch this building go up. Every day I stare at the hole in the ground that will be the first tower. My 24th floor apartment overlooks it. Which means my apartment has an awesome view of the construction, the Space Needle, and views north to Puget sound. But after the tower is done, my apartment (which I’ll have long since left) will have only the Amazon tower to look at—well in that direction. There are some cool stuff to look at directly to the west and southwest (sorry I digress). When I moved to Seattle, the construction site was just a hole with a dirt floor. Then it became a hole with a concrete floor. For the last few months workers have slowly been putting up the form work for subsequent parking garage floors and the main elevator shaft. Here is the first tower today, on June 17th, 2014. There has been quite a bit of progress in the past four months, sort of. 06172014Day in and day out I watch the construction site. I’ve watched plenty of highrises go up—one of the perks of going to architecture school in Houston—and I’ve walked more wood framed construction sites than I can remember, but there is something unique about having a bird’s eye view of the construction over such a long period of time. Different aspects come into view. Primarily my months long vigil has highlighted how archaic the whole process is. All the materials are delivered essentially by hand; sure the crane lifts things, but one truckload at a time. And at the start and stop of every lift is some guy (almost always a dude) on street level or deep in the bowels of the hole watching and helping guide the rebar, form work, etc. to it’s final spot. And of course then all the individual pieces of rebar or cabling or form work are placed by hand. One by one by one. At a small scale this is not that surprising or interesting; I’ve seen this done tons of times. But I’ve never really thought about it on the scale of a highrise. Or THREE highrises all in sequence. They will build and unbuild the main structure of these buildings out of wood and steel form work in order to actually build them out of concrete. They will build the main structure of these three highrises twice, by hand, each time out of different materials. Our gleaming future is built pretty crudely.NBBJ-AerialThink about it. Amazon is one of those companies that is fundamentally changing the way we live. They are legitimately researching and developing how to incorporate drones into their delivery scheme. Amazon, whether you love them or hate them, is pushing to change the world. Can you even remember when you couldn’t order ANYTHING you wanted online and get it as soon as you wanted it? It wasn’t that long ago. Here’s that company, hiring really smart, forward thinking architects, engineers, and contractors to design and build three really big and fancy buildings. And they are doing it by hand, just like we were doing it one hundred years ago, more or less. This construction site would make way too much sense to the builders of the Empire State Building or the Monadnock Building in Chicago. Sure one of those buildings was steel and the other iron and load-bearing masonry, but how much has changed? How different would those job sites look to a (semi) educated neighbor 300-odd feet up? Sure the cranes are bigger, there are GPS and laser positioning, cellphones are everywhere, and maybe there are even a few tablets, but how far back in time would we have to go to find a construction worker who wouldn’t be easily integrated into the team (once he got over the wonders of being a time traveling construction worker)?

I don’t have much else to add. I don’t have the solutions, but we need to do better. How much longer til we have a bit more automation on the construction site? Where are the constructo-bots? And what are we all doing to bring that future a bit closer to reality? These are some of the reasons why I’m so fascinated with BIM and some of those other topics I focus on. It’s my way of working towards a more integrated and exciting future for the construction industry.

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. If my career as an architect lasts as long as it should, I am going to be really grumpy if I never have a building built by robots.

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