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"X-Ray Vision" Headset Allows Architects to See Under the Surface of Construction Sites

09:30 - 15 June, 2017
"X-Ray Vision" Headset Allows Architects to See Under the Surface of Construction Sites, Courtesy of DAQRI
Courtesy of DAQRI

This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Augmented Reality in Construction Lets You See Through Walls."

Imagine you’re part of a crew constructing a new office building: Midway through the process, you’re on-site, inspecting the installation of HVAC systems. You put on a funny-looking construction helmet and step out of the service elevator. As you look up, there’s a drop ceiling being installed, but you want to know what’s going on behind it.

Through the visor on your helmet, you pull up the Building Information Model (BIM), which is instantly projected across your field of vision. There are heating ducts, water pipes, and electrical boxes, moving and shifting with your point of view as you walk along the corridors. Peel back layers of the model to see the building’s steel structure, insulation, and material finishes. It’s like having comic book-style X-ray vision—and soon, it could be a reality on a construction site near you.

Visualizations of the Most Used AutoCAD, Revit, and 3dsMax Commands

11:05 - 19 April, 2017
Visualizations of the Most Used AutoCAD, Revit, and 3dsMax Commands

The 'Customer Involvement Program' of Autodesk's research department has, over the years, compiled a database of over 60 million individual commands created by anonymized users. Each reveals shortcut paths and thought flows among its customer base. The team have visualized the product usage (here described as the Command Usage Arc project) by ordering known and new commands from the most-frequently-used to the least-frequently. Revealed as a sequence of infographics, the results demonstrate how people work – and how they often deviate from prescribed usage.

Autodesk's Generative Design Pavilion Plays with Properties and Fabrication Processes in Stone and Fabric

12:00 - 5 February, 2017
Autodesk's Generative Design Pavilion Plays with Properties and Fabrication Processes in Stone and Fabric, Courtesy of Quarra Stone
Courtesy of Quarra Stone

At Autodesk's 2016 conference in Las Vegas, a team from Autodesk's BUILD Space led by principal research engineer Andrew Payne collaborated with manufacturer Quarra Stone, engineers Simpson Gumpertz and Heger, and University of Michigan assistant professor Sean Ahlquist to unveil its new Generative Design Pavilion. The project is an exploration of materiality, with stalagmite stone forms that rise up from geometric floor panels to meet fabric that stretches down from a canopy above. The junction of textile and stone aims to emphasize the distinct behaviors of the two materials.

Courtesy of Quarra Stone Courtesy of Quarra Stone Courtesy of Quarra Stone Courtesy of Quarra Stone +20

The Ultimate Guide to Revit Shortcuts

09:30 - 18 January, 2017
The Ultimate Guide to Revit Shortcuts

This article was originally published on ArchSmarter.

For all the work you do in Revit, there’s a keyboard shortcut that can help you do it faster.

Here’s a roundup featuring some of my favorite Revit keyboard shortcuts to create and organize your model. Keep reading to learn how to create your own shortcuts.

This shortcut cheat sheet is also available in a convenient pdf form; simply sign up here to download it.

12 Top Apps for Architects on the Construction Site

08:00 - 8 January, 2017
12 Top Apps for Architects on the Construction Site

We have previously published the best apps for architects, many of which try to boost creativity and productivity for project design. Now, we’ve put together a series of helpful apps for the development and management of construction projects. From digital measuring tools to instant software-generated reports of work progress, we hope this new construction technology will be most useful to you.

6 Ways BIM Can Make Your Architecture Firm More Competitive

18:00 - 21 November, 2016
6 Ways BIM Can Make Your Architecture Firm More Competitive, Emerson College Los Angeles by Morphosis Architects, which won the AIA's 2015 Technology In Architectural Practice Innovation Awards for its use of BIM. Image © Iwan Baan
Emerson College Los Angeles by Morphosis Architects, which won the AIA's 2015 Technology In Architectural Practice Innovation Awards for its use of BIM. Image © Iwan Baan

Starting an architecture firm may sprout from one’s love for and interest in the discipline, but running a competitive business requires more than just a tendency to enjoy the work. BIM could be the edge a firm needs in order to stand out from the crowd. There are many ways a firm can make use of BIM to become more profitable on their projects and successful in winning those projects in the first place; read on to find out more about six of them.

Not Ready for BIM? Here are 5 Reasons You May Be Wrong

18:00 - 1 October, 2016
Not Ready for BIM? Here are 5 Reasons You May Be Wrong, Courtesy of Autodesk
Courtesy of Autodesk

Committing your firm to BIM may seem daunting, especially with the time and cost investments that come with adopting new sets of software and a new workflow. There are hidden parallels however, between BIM and other processes within a firm, and therefore these changes to a new way of working may not be as demanding as they first seem. Here are five ways you may already be halfway to BIM.

LIVE Design: Step Inside Your Design

11:51 - 27 September, 2016
LIVE Design: Step Inside Your Design, Join us Sept. 28, 2016 and Experience Autodesk Live for yourself with our VR Station.
Join us Sept. 28, 2016 and Experience Autodesk Live for yourself with our VR Station.

Bring Your Designs to Life

Join Motion Media and Autodesk to learn about creating stunning & immersive experiences with Live Design.

Live Design lets you create stunning interactive visualizations of your architecture or designs. The immersive experience lets designers explore their creations in the virtual world accurately. Live design is more than just viewing, it's feeling and experiencing your design.

Learn how you can use Autodesk Revit, 3ds Max & Stingray to create Live Designs that will captivate your customers and make sure your proposal is the one they remember.

How Do You Know if BIM is Worth The Investment For Your Firm?

18:00 - 16 August, 2016
How Do You Know if BIM is Worth The Investment For Your Firm?, Courtesy of Autodesk
Courtesy of Autodesk

While BIM is increasingly becoming a necessity in architecture, it is still difficult to quantify the benefits it is bringing to the industry. Currently, there is no industry-standard method for calculating BIM’s Return on Investment (ROI) and, due to the complexities of the calculation, many firms have not adopted any consistent measurement practices to determine the monetary benefit that the technology has brought to their practice. The difficulty centers upon the fact that traditional analysis of ROI is unable to represent intangible factors that are important to a construction project such as avoided costs or improved safety.

Therefore, as the leading providers of BIM technology, Autodesk was interested in researching the subject. Their study, “Achieving Strategic ROI: Measuring the Value of BIM,” reveals that the role of ROI in technology decision making is shifting in that leading firms are seeking a more nuanced view of ROI to inform their strategy of investment and innovation.

Transcending the traditional “profit versus cost” calculation, companies are looking into different dimensions of the company to develop well-informed quantifications of their ROI for BIM.

10 Steps to Simplify Your Firm's Transition to BIM

09:30 - 24 July, 2016
10 Steps to Simplify Your Firm's Transition to BIM, OHSU/PSU/OSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building by SERA Architects and CO Architects. Image © SERA Architects
OHSU/PSU/OSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building by SERA Architects and CO Architects. Image © SERA Architects

So you’re convinced that BIM will be a good addition to your firm. Unlike more conventional CAD, BIM is composed of intelligent 3D models which make critical design and construction processes such as coordination, communication, and collaboration much easier and faster. However, for these reasons BIM is also seen by many as a more complicated software with a steep learning curve, with the potential to take a large chunk out of a firm’s operating budget during the transition period. So how do you actually transition an entire firm’s process to BIM? Here are ten steps to guide you on your way.

The Top 12 Architecture Channels on Youtube

09:30 - 14 July, 2016
The Top 12 Architecture Channels on Youtube

There’s so much to learn about architecture, yet so little time. The smart architect knows to have a variety of sources for their architectural knowledge, and that's why we’ve put together a shortlist of our Top 12 Architecture Channels on Youtube, and picked some of their best videos for you to see. Read more to find out the best architecture videos, from sketching and rendering tutorials to architecture documentaries.

How to Adopt BIM: 3 Ways to Approach Your Firm’s Pilot Project

09:30 - 25 June, 2016
How to Adopt BIM: 3 Ways to Approach Your Firm’s Pilot Project, Courtesy of Autodesk
Courtesy of Autodesk

These days, BIM is becoming standard practice. Most people involved in the construction sector—from the architects and engineers who use BIM to the governments that are implementing mandates for BIM in certain project types—are well and truly sold on the benefits it brings, including efficiency, collaboration, cost-savings, and improved communication. As a result, many practices these days that haven’t yet switched to BIM give the same reason: the dreaded transitional period.

Of course, these fears of transition are not entirely unfounded, as new software, staff training and teething problems are an inevitable part of upending your existing workflow. These initial costs create a barrier for many busy practices who simply can’t afford the time or money right now that would enable them to unlock BIM’s benefits down the line. The key to solving this conundrum of course is to minimize the initial costs—and one way of doing this that many experts recommend is to start your firm’s transition to BIM with a single pilot project, in which you will be able to establish a workflow and define standards that suit your practice, and transfer these lessons onto later projects.

But what is the best way to select this pilot project? Should you work on a large or small building? A complex work or a simple one? Here, three early adopters of BIM share what they learned from their own pilot projects, each with very different characteristics.

New Autodesk System Streamlines 3D Printing of Large, Complex Objects

08:00 - 20 June, 2016

A team of engineers at Autodesk have been pushing the limitations of conventional 3D printing -- not by redesigning the machines themselves, but by creating a network to harness their collective power. Autodesk's "Project Escher" is a new printing system that utilizes the power of several 3D printers at once to fabricate complex parts in unison, reports FastCoDesign. The new system can increase production speed by up to 90%. 

Call for Submissions: Obama Presidential Center

10:30 - 21 April, 2016
Call for Submissions: Obama Presidential Center

1. INTRODUCTION
“The Obama Presidential Center will bring to life the vision and legacy of President Obama, including inspiring an ethic of citizenship, expanding opportunity in a global age, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity throughout the world.” (Source: Obama Foundation)

This competition challenges designers to create an exceptional presidential library for U.S. President Obama (OPL). We look for design proposals with wide reaching architectural interventions that deal with the challenging South Side of Chicago, and make a case for a sustainable urban and economic growth. There are currently two potential site locations – one on the east side and the other on the west side of the University of Chicago (see p1.jpg): The Washington Park site and Jackson Park site. You are asked to make a choice between the two sites. There were numerous alter-native site proposals, e.g. sites in New York, Hawaii, Chicago etc. The Obama Foundation has identified these two properties as the ones with the most potential, based on key assumptions, opportunities and limitations relative to their contexts.

7 Reasons Why Transitioning to BIM Makes Sense for Small Firms

09:30 - 25 February, 2016
7 Reasons Why Transitioning to BIM Makes Sense for Small Firms, Courtesy of Autodesk
Courtesy of Autodesk

The benefits and capabilities of building information modeling in large-scale architectural practices are well known. But is BIM really necessary for smaller firms? Many small firms have been operating using traditional CAD methods for some time now, and switching technologies can seem a daunting task, especially for companies that operate on small budgets and without the specialized personnel of large international firms. But this is 2016 and the economic landscape has changed, with more and more expected from architects all the time. Time is more valuable now than ever. Where BIM software programs were once seen as simply nice to have, their large range of benefits have now made BIM an essential part of the design process. And as the following reasons show, BIM is just as important a tool for small offices as it is for larger ones.

The Living's 3D Printed Airplane Partition is Designed to Mimic Bone Structure

13:00 - 20 January, 2016
The Living's 3D Printed Airplane Partition is Designed to Mimic Bone Structure, © The Living
© The Living

You’ve probably never given much thought to the seemingly basic interior partitions of an airplane, but building codes are a walk in the park compared to the exacting standards of aviation design. Those thin panels that separate the seats from the plane's galley must also be capable of supporting the weight of flight attendant jumpseats and providing a removable section to accommodate emergency stretchers - not to mention the rigorous safety standards and crash testing that aviation components must satisfy. With all of these challenges in mind, The Living, an Autodesk Studio, in collaboration with Airbus and APWorks, have developed the Bionic Partition Project, which harnesses generative design and 3D printing to maximize the structural efficiency of the panel, reducing the weight of an aircraft, and saving fuel. And while this particular application is specific to a single aircraft type, the technological advances could have far-reaching implications.

© The Living © The Living © The Living © The Living +11

The Architecture Software Revolution: From One Size Fits All to DIY

09:30 - 11 December, 2015
The Architecture Software Revolution: From One Size Fits All to DIY, Cedars-Sinai 360 Simulation Lab / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design. Image © Benny Chan
Cedars-Sinai 360 Simulation Lab / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design. Image © Benny Chan

We’ve always been a profession of hackers. Every building is a one-off made up of countless elegant hacks, each bringing disparate materials and systems together into a cohesive whole. But when it comes to the software that designers have come to rely on, most of us have been content with enthusiastic consumerism, eagerly awaiting the next releases from software developers like Autodesk, McNeel (Rhino) and Bentley (MicroStation).

It’s been 5 years since we officially launched our research program at the Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, and during that period we’ve come to understand the evolution of our process reflects the larger, changing relationship architects have with their means of production. Specifically, we've noticed that in late 2007 something changed. McNeel introduced a visual programming plugin called Grasshopper, and more and more architects began to hack their tools as well as their buildings.

Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign +7

What Is Sketching in the Digital Age?

09:30 - 17 September, 2015
What Is Sketching in the Digital Age?, Courtesy of Autodesk
Courtesy of Autodesk

Every good design should start with a sketch. The problem, as everyone knows, is that computers are killing sketching. Or are they?

To begin with, it’s questionable whether there really has been a decline in sketching, given the conviction with which so many architects defend the importance of hand drawing. Even for the most technologically savvy architects, many simply don’t see an alternative to the humble pen and paper.

However, this doesn’t mean that all is well when it comes to sketching. Often the hardest part of the design process is to maintain a great concept - usually discovered through a sketch - when translating a design into programs such as Revit which are necessary in modern architectural practice.