badge-beauty-shotThere were so many highlights from the inaugural conference, picking the ones that will fit in a neat and tidy blog post, a favorite moment, let alone a quote or “sound bite” from my talks with the attendees at GRAPHISOFT’s inaugural BIM User Conference has proved difficult. But here are some of the highlights and photos from the event that capture the energy and scope of the learning and networking that went on last week in San Diego.

GRAPHISOFT North America designed the event – to provide two full days of presentations, workshops, break-out sessions as well as a stage for the debut of BIMx Docs. Attendees kept current on credits – with each hour-long course being worth at least one AIA CEU. The conference provided training from top-notch experts in the industry – and of course, a chance to network with peers from firms of all sizes and the collective of ArchiCAD know-how and expertise.


The venue – the Coronado Island Marriot Resort and Spa – served as an amazingly beautiful and luxurious backdrop. The spacious grounds gave attendees plenty of opportunity to connect outside of the meeting rooms or retreat to their rooms for rest and solitude if that’s what they wished for. From my conversations with attendees, it was clear they noticed how much thought and consideration went into the venue selection process. To be sure, no one left the conference hungry – as the catered meals were top notch and as lovely to look at as to eat.


The conference kicked off with a welcome party by the pool – an informal gathering to let people get acclimated, grab a bite to eat and just talk. As I moved around the party snapping pictures, I noticed quite a bit mingling going on at this shindig. The occasional burst of laughter and general level of frivolity showed that everyone was having a good time. But it made sense that people were getting along and enjoying themselves, since we were all friends who in some cases, hadn’t met face-to-face yet.


Things started bright and early the following day with the opening presentations, keynote by GRAPHISOFT CEO Viktor Varkonyi. We were also treated to an engaging keynote speech from Russ Sanders from Orcutt | Winslow. When the breakout sessions began, attendees had a choice of topics ranging from project migration to advanced modeling to template creation and even a session on social media. The excitement was palpable and really maintained its upswing – but probably hit one of many high points when BIMx Docs was first introduced to the audience on day one. Just look on Twitter for the hashtag #fastashell and you’ll see why – thanks to Levi, the room was buzzing.


That night, the conference attendees stepped onto the Lord Hornblower for a dinner cruise complete with cigar rolling, whiskey tasting and gorgeous night views of the bay. The pictures really tell the story.


Day two started off with an informative panel discussion from several highly respected members of our ArchiCAD user community. Then the break out sessions took over again for in depth training on GDL, Open BIM and Standards, Advanced Rendering and Visualization and Integrated Energy Analysis.

When our keynote speaker, Jonathan Segal, FAIA took the podium, there was silence in the room. As he began to share his insights, he upheld the reputation he built for himself as a visionary architect. The audience was riveted by his compelling presentation on “Architect as Developer” – a theory and concept he has championed and pioneered with considerable success, put design first and the architect in full control to improve city environments, enhance community life and achieve financial satisfaction.

2013-10-24_1240The impact of Segal’s address can be summed up with this tweet from conference attendee Anthony Laney:

Following the mind-blowing Segal keynote, the entire conference was capped off with an outdoor dinner overlooking the bay with yet another delicious buffet. Over the two days, many new alliances, friendships and networks were made. We look forward to next year’s conference and hope to see you there.

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