The national AIA show in Boston this month saw plenty of exhibitors and show attendees with Macs in their booths or hands, as the case may be. Both Pete Evans, AIA, associate editor withArchitosh, and I noted the sheer number of show attendees with Mac laptops in their hands. While the Mac is very popular in European countries in the field of architecture, it is generally noted that it falls far behind Windows in the United States.
That aspect is driven by the popularity of US-based Autodesk and its market dominating AutoCAD software, which does not run on the Mac since version 13. However, the architecture and building industry is transitioning away from the predominant 2D-oriented AutoCAD software and towards 3D-oriented BIM (building information modeling). This is causing firms to evaluate a range of BIM solutions of which two key suppliers (Graphisoft and Nemetschek North America) are avid Mac developers with superb and competitive solutions.
As both Apple gains increasing global popularity and as BIM takes further root in the industry both trends will naturally lead to more Mac use in the field of architecture within the United States. Another promising aspect of Mac adoption is the “halo effect” of the iPhone.
The iPhone is one of those products that would naturally appeal to the mind of an architect. So it should be no surprise that many iPhones were spotted at the show. Pete Evans, AIA, actually used an iPhone during one of his presentations at the convention. And there was additional buzz and talk about applications being written for the iPhone specifically for the architecture and building industry (more on that later!).
Some of these applications will be specific tools written through the use of the iPhone SDK presented by Apple in February, while others are simply Web-based tools and offerings that work through the Safari browser on the iPhone. For example, MADCAD.com and its plentiful online building code solutions work on the iPhone as noted in thisArchitosh report.