What’s “Green” Anyway? ShapedEarth’s Accurate, Carbon-Based Alternative

Courtesy of .com

“Green” measures nothing. Which is greener: a building that saves water or a building that uses certified carpet? There is no obvious answer to this question – this is why trying to quantify “green” is biased and leads nowhere. Using as a metric, on the other hand, makes sense. This is something you can accurately measure and therefore reduce. Going “low-” not only contributes to fighting climate change but also totally redefines construction (choice of materials, energy sources, etc.).

This is why shapedearth.com, the first free online calculator for assessing the whole life embodied carbon of building projects, is such a useful tool.

If Architects Love Technology, Why Are Their Websites So Bad? 5 Tips for a Better Site

The original version of this article, entitled “Why (Most) Architects Don’t Get Digital,” first appeared on UXB London.

For super smart people who spend so much time imagining the future, it seems odd that, when it comes to digital, architects are so stuck in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I love architecture and hold the profession in high regard. But I’m mystified as to why the digital revolution has been largely ignored by a profession so proud of integrating emerging technologies.

We recently carried out some research as part of a commission to develop a digital strategy for an established practice in London. We wanted to check the state of mobile adoption in the sector. We figured a good place to start would be the big guns, the award winners, and the ones that others want to be.

We made up our list* and visited each practice on a smartphone. Oh dear. I wouldn’t advise you to do this – it’s a dispiriting experience that could make your fingers hurt and your eyes bleed.

SketchUp 2014 Incorporates BIM Capabilities

Courtesy of Trimble

Trimble Buildings Group have recently released SketchUp 2014, the latest version of its   platform for architects, engineers, design and construction professionals. With “more than 30 million unique activations in the past year”, SketchUp is claimed to be the most widely used 3D modeling software in the world today. The latest incarnation of the simple tool features a new 3D Warehouse and some interesting integrations into the world of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

“Invisible Cities” App Turns the Data of City Life Into an Extraordinary Landscape

The social life of cities is complex. Where once the networks which operated within cities could be understood – to an extent – through their physical infrastructure, in the internet age much of the network that supports city life is hidden, existing only through intangible data.

Invisible Cities is an app which makes this network tangible, using geocoded data from Twitter and Instagram to morph the landscape, displaying where the most activity is occurring. These hills of activity can then be linked by lines representing keywords, showing underlying affinities between different geographical areas.

Adobe Photoshop Becomes a Tool for 3D Printing

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Adobe has unveiled a major update to Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) with the hope that a “radically simplified printing process” will make their software the “go-to tool for anyone who wants to print a model.” Their new software allows for designers to create a model from scratch or refine an existing design leading to perfect print ready models. Since one of the most common problems with printing is the human errors in virtual modeling, Photoshop includes automatic mesh repair and will insert a support structure if necessary to ensure that the model will print reliably and without faults.

You can find out more about Adobe Photoshop and here. This update to Photoshop is already available for those who are subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

VIDEO: Angles on the View with Parametric Design

This two-minute video with NBBJ’s Andrew Heumann highlights a valuable capability of parametric design; whereby the architect can optimize the shape and orientation of a building to appropriate a variety of viewing conditions at the client’s request.

The aptitude for quick, cost-effective variation and the capacity for intuitive visual re-presentation of scripting plug-ins like this one (Grasshopper for Rhino) is a gold star for parametric design.

LEGO®, Chrome Launch Virtual LEGO Game (Prepare for Procrastination)

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Architects and ® Bricks. For many, it was love at first sight.However, playing with at the office – fun as it may be – is not exactly something you can justify doing (at least not everyday).

Well, no more. For your procrastination pleasure, Chrome and LEGO® have paired up and created “Build With Chrome,” a game that lets you play with LEGO online. Good-bye productivity.

Learn more about “Build With Chrome,” after the break..

Zahner Launches Software for Design and Fabrication

Original design by Crawford Architects on the Headquarters in North America / Mike Sinclair. Image ©

Zahner, one of the world’s foremost fabricators of façades, have launched new software to assist in design, fabrication, costing and delivery. CloudWall, part of Zahner’s ShopFloor platform, is a web based programme which provides an interface for users to design and fabricate curving in metal. It is a tool that uses Zahner’s ”factory floor like a massive rapid prototype machine”.

ArchDaily’s Content Now on “Field Trip”

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You can now use ArchDaily’s content on Field Trip, an which notifies you when you get close to something architecturally interesting. With ArchDaily’s daily now embedded within the app, when you approach a building we’ve covered your phone will alert you and provide you with photos, facts and information. More info, after the break…

The Morpholio Project Launches Trace 2.0

Courtesy of The Morpholio Project

The Morpholio Project, the team of architects and designers behind Morpholio (for building/sharing your portfolio) and Morpholio Trace (the app that lets you draw on top of images as if using tracing paper), have just launched Trace 2.0. The new version introduces three fantastic new tools that hope to “put [the design] process in hyper drive.”

As Co-Creator Anna Kenoff puts it: “The goal of the app was to embrace and enhance the fast paced and messy process of idea building, bringing back hand drawing to a culture no longer beholden to the desktop computer.”

Check out the three new features of Trace 2.0, after the break…

5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Website for Your Firm

Courtesy of http://www.archimelie.com/ – built with IM Creator

It’s unavoidable. In today’s world, in order to reach out to your target audience and promote your services, you need to have a website. And just any won’t do. Keep in mind that if you are an architect, people expect creativity out of you and from your website. An efficient, well-built, and good-looking website is the most convincing marketing tool you have at your disposal.

So, we’ve come up with five tips that explain (1) why a good website is so important; (2) what you should have in mind when creating your website (including what to avoid!); and (3) how to get started immediately, after the break…

Top 10 Apps for Architects

Following our readers poll last year, here’s an updated list of what we think are the best ten for architects. From condensed versions of large scale programmes architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an that could improve the way you work.

The Latest App from GRAPHISOFT: BIMx Docs

GRAPHISOFT’s latest iPhone and iPad App, a companion to ArchiCAD, has just been released. The heart of the technology, designed for easy BIM project viewing, is the “Hyper-model,” which enables the full integration of 2D and plans. This makes navigation not only more intuitive, but a magnitude smoother and faster than most other -related model or documentation viewer mobile apps.

Get a more detailed look at the technology in action, after the break…

Giveaway: ArchiSnapper, the App that Makes Site Reports So Much Easier

Courtesy of ArchiSnapper

ArchiSnapper is a new, powerful tool for architects which takes away the time and effort required for producing construction site reports. Consisting of both an online portion and an for iOS or Android devices, ArchiSnapper allows you to collect information while on site and quickly and easily assemble it once you’re back at the office.

In collaboration with ArchiSnapper, ArchDaily will be offering 5 Business licenses (worth $119 a month) to our readers. To participate, all you need to do is become a registered ArchDaily user and answer a simple question in the comments section of this article.

To find out how ArchiSnapper works, and for your chance to win one of 5 free licenses, read on after the break…

ArchDaily 3D Printing Challenge

Printing has opened up a whole new world for architecture. Technology that was once restricted to fabrication labs is now available to the end user – and at an affordable price. Of course, this new technology has also created the necessity to easily share data over the web.

With this in mind, we have partnered with Gigabot – the biggest, most affordable 3D printer (it can print models up to 60x60x60cm) – and with Sketchfab, a new platform that is bridging the gap between the 3D models on your desktop and on the web.

We want to encourage users to start using this new technology, and what better way than to start printing the buildings we love? We invite you to model your favorite architectural classic and receive a real-life physical model, right on your doorstep.

The process is simple: model any building that is already on the AD Classics section, upload it to Sketchfab, and submit it using the following form. You’ll have two opportunities to win: ArchDaily readers will vote for one People’s Choice Award winner, and, together with Gigabot, we at ArchDaily will pick one winner as well. Both winners will be printed and shipped anywhere in the world. We’ll also make all the models available to the ArchDaily community, so anyone can add an extra layer of building information to these classics.

Submissions are open until October 1st; winners will be announced on October 7th. Read below for the full rules.

SUBMIT YOUR MODEL

4 Tips for a Lean, Mean CAD Team

Courtesy of Gili Merin

This article, by Shaun Bryant, CAD consultant, comes to us via our friends at Line//Shape//Space.

In my previous article, I mentioned that I had been a CAD manager in a past life and that there were many hats I used to wear. One of these hats was training manager for the CAD department. I was the guy who liaised with HR, organizing and budgeting for the training my CAD employees needed. The big question was, what sort of CAD training did they need? Did I send both permanent and agency (freelance) CAD employees to take the courses, or did I let the agency folks fend for themselves? No matter what, they are your CAD team and everyone should get the same training, but the agency guys should be careful of their tax position when accepting training from a client under contract. All of this has to be taken into account when you have a finite training budget to spend.

But training on CAD is imperative. Your CAD employees need to be the best on the they use and not develop bad habits. They need the core training, plus the experience, plus supplemental training on new versions as they are released. (Each year in the case of , right?)

Get the 4 Tips to Getting the Best CAD Team you can, after the break…

ArchDaily App Guide: Sketchfab

ArchDaily’s Architecture App Guide will introduce you to web and mobile apps that can help you as an architect: productivity, inspiration, drafting, and more.

computer modeling has become a ubiquitous tool in architecture and design, but – even now – there’s no real solution to the problem of easily displaying or sharing models. An exciting new tool, however, might just change this. It’s called Sketchfab, and it displays 3D models natively in the browser – no plugins necessary, and no need to download to your desktop. A resource like this allows any viewer or reader to glimpse into the future of publishing and communicating architecture online.

Users sign up for and upload models directly in 27 native 3D formats (including .3ds, .stl, .kmz, .dwf, .lwo and others); these models can then be embedded anywhere. Not only will this allow architects to showcase finalized projects, but designs can be followed as they evolve and change. It will be particularly valuable in the remote review process that occurs between the architect and 3D visualizers. And ’s platform has an integrated comment and like system to foster discussion and critique.

Is the Price of Software A Barrier of Entry to Architecture?

Courtesy of the Parametricisit Manifesto

From the prevalence of unpaid internships to the power of the C-suite, architecture is, according to writer Ann Lui, an “unlevel playing field.” Of the many obstacles facing young designers, one (that you may not have considered) is the prohibitive costs of design software for architects trying to start their own firms.

As Lui points out in her article for Archinect, the times have changed since Maya Lin won the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial competition “with a blurry, hand-rendered sketch of a thick black line in the haze.” Today, “the winning entries of recent widely-published architectural competitions, like eVolo, are thick with unearthly renderings. Recently issued RFPs and many contract docs, even for small projects, include deliverables. LEED certification — or other more holistic methods of “sustainable design” — require energy modeling; and new advances in thermal calculations and daylighting rely on digital building data. Whether or not we continue analog methods for design and how they are integrated in an architectural process is besides the point: to be competitive, cutting-edge digital design programs are integrally necessary. [...]

Yet when it comes to purchasing software, the costs of programs like Autocad and could be resulting in a self-selecting pool of designers who are able to compete, at least initially, at a higher level.”

Do you think Software is a significant barrier to entry in architecture? Should software be more accessible to all? How could we alter the profession to be more inclusive? Let us know in the comments below.

Read Lui’s article in full at Archinect