ArchiCAD with an Audience

Eco Build 2012

I have a new gimmick for showing people ArchiCAD. I was at EcoBuild 2012 the first week of December and I spent one afternoon hanging out at the GRAPHISOFT Booth. A group of architects came up and started asking about ArchiCAD. They were new to the world of BIM and had some very specific questions about how ArchiCAD compared to the program they were currently learning. One of the topics that came up was object creation. This happens to be something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently: I am writing some blog posts about creating simple objects in ArchiCAD, Eric Bobrow recently created a great video on the topic, I’m finally learning GDL, and object creation was the topic of the December Minnesota ArchiCAD User Group meeting. So when these architects asked me, I was glad to talk about object creation. Well more than just talk about it. Show it. The group of us walked over to one of the display machines. I pointed to a semi-circular display stand that GRAPHISOFT had set up nearby and said “Okay, I’ll show you how to make that.” I opened the 3D window, created a Morph, did some extruding, changed some materials, and within a minute or so had a rough approximation of the display stand. All that was left to do was save the Object as part of the embedded library. My audience was suitably impressed.

Nothing fancy. But quick and easy. And I’m totally going to start modeling (more complex) objects I see as part of my presentation of ArchiCAD now. Expect to see it at a future trade show or user group meeting.

Michigan Beach House

Back in late 2007 I began a large model for a project at SALA. The plan was for me to get the model going and then a coworker who was learning ArchiCAD would take it over for me. I never ended up handing it off for someone else to complete. Well actually I technically did. After the house was under construction, the Project Architect (who had zero computer experience at the start of the project) had become skilled enough with ArchiCAD during the development of the project that he didn’t need me. I am so proud of that (the Project Architect eventually took over my role as BIM Manager after I left). Well before the PA was doing great with ArchiCAD, I was the one running the ArchiCAD show. This project went on for years, not breaking ground until 2011 (and in fact is still under construction now in late 2012). It started before we had BIMx in the office. So initially we’d just walk through the ArchiCAD model in client meetings. The clients loved this. They even came into the office when the PA wasn’t around so that they could just pay for my time to explore the model with them. We made changes on the fly and designed together in real time in meetings. Eventually we started giving them BIMx models and they would spend hours in those models. They spent so much time in BIMx that they would notice little details like the trim not being identical in every room (I think we neglected to model it in one or two rooms). How cool is that? The client spent hours and hours in their house, virtually, before it was even built.

Again this image isn’t the flashiest image I’ve produced in ArchiCAD. But it allowed the client to get real time feedback and feel more invested in the design process (more on that later).

A White Board and a Projector

At the firm where I originally learned ArchiCAD, they developed a cool trick after I left. They didn’t have a smart board but they had a projector and a white board. Their typical client meetings now go like this: They connect a mac to a projector, launch ArchiCAD, and use the white board in their conference room as the surface to project the model on. Then both the lead designer and the client, neither of whom are ArchiCAD proficient, can scribble on the white board over the model. Meanwhile the ArchiCAD user in the meeting can make changes to the model at the same time. It’s not direct pen to model, but with a savvy user, it’s pretty close.

ArchiCAD IN an Audience

I’ve got one more story for you. Like the first example, it’s from Eco Build 2012. There was one ArchiCAD pro who attended Ecobuild, but had lots of work waiting for him back at the office. He also found some of the sessions a little dry. So he decided to work while sitting in the audience of the lectures he was attending. However his work was on a large Teamwork 2 project that was sitting on a BIM Server on the other side of the USA. Additionally the wi-fi at the convention center was horrible, so connecting back to his office that way was out of the question. Fortunately he had his iPhone. He tethered his iphone to his laptop, connected back to his office on the other side of the USA over the cell network, got into the teamwork file and started working. Read that again. Using a laptop and an iPhone, while in a conference, he was able to message back and forth, redline, and make changes to a Teamwork 2 file in ArchiCAD 16. Oh and I’m sure he wasn’t worried about burning through his data plan either.

How have you used ArchiCAD with or in an Audience? I’d love to hear about more examples and share some of them as future blog posts.

1 Comment

  1. Patrick

    I’ve done a couple of presentations locally to designers, builders and code officials; talking about BIM (not specifically ArchiCAD). we usually go into the presentation prepared with a completed project (plus a few little fluff details that don’t make it into the project otherwise).
    It is amazing how the statistics and charts I see say 70%+ of the contractors out there, and 65%+ of the designers out there are using BIM software, but no one in our area seems to have ever heard of it…


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