Architosh, the leading online publication devoted to Mac and iOS CAD and 3D software professionals and students, has announced its 2nd annual AIA National Convention and Exposition “BEST of SHOW” awards in now three categories for desktop and mobile software for practicing architects.
A New Philosophy for Evaluation
Architosh has developed a new forward-looking criteria for evaluating apps at each year’s AIA National that captures perspectives from a wider, leading edge lens. Rather than approach each year’s software on display with a pre-determined mindset for what should be touted, Pete Evans, AIA, senior associate editor, and Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, editor-in-chief, used a wide variety of ‘inputs’ and ‘reflections’ on trends and forward-thinking agendas for AEC software.
Architosh will amplify and explore criteria in a subsequent report on the awards to be published later this week.
“Pete is the ideal person to help me highlight the most promising software at each year’s AIA National,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, “his continuous years of work with the AIA TAP BIM AWARDS group puts him in some of the most high-level thinking about Building Information Modeling and new trends in the industry.”
This year the Architosh BEST of SHOW awards added a specific BIM category, to help recognize the emerging scaling of various BIM workflows and new processes.
Winners of BEST of SHOW Awards
Eligible products in the desktop software category must run on both Mac and Windows platforms within the release awarded. Eligible products for the mobile category must run on Apple’s iOS platform and are strongly encouraged to run on at least one other mobile platform. Eligible products for the BIM award must meet either of the two requirements above or run in the cloud and be supported on at least two web browsers on two or more operating systems. [Editor's note; see this post for further eligibility requirements.]
Without further ado, the honors for BEST of SHOW go to:
This year Architosh chose two desktop winners and both of them are modeling tools. The first honor goes to AutoDesSys for its completely rebuilt, modern and powerful 3D modeling software in formZ 7 (now at version 7.2). “In both our views this modeling package is without rival in power and ease-of-use,” said Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP. “The new bonsai inspired user-interface dramatically simplifies while making the power features more accessible. It is a virtuous and complete overall and one we think architects should strongly consider as a professional, complete modeling solution .”
Our second winner in this category is Trimble’s SketchUp 2013, including both its Make and Pro line. “We think Trimble has done something really special with its built-in ‘app store’ for extensions to SketchUp, linking users with a community of developers directly where you do you work.” said Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP. “Apple made it very clear in their special 2013 WWDC intro video that ‘Connection’ is the point where Social starts, today the barriers between end users and developers is changing and establishing connection between these two realms can foster both innovation and entire ecosystems.”
Runner-Up: Graphisoft ArchiCAD 17
Graphisoft’s annual updates are so thoroughly focused and this year was no exception. On a technical basis the BIM innovator’s latest version offers remarkable new features, including its Background Processing. (see below for more on ArchiCAD 17)
Also this year Architosh chose two winners in the mobile category. The innovation with the iOS platform is particularly strong. The first honor for Mobile goes to IMSI/Design’s innovative TurboSite app.
“TurboSite is an automated fieldwork application that leverages sensor input capabilities of a powerful mobile platform in iOS,” said Pete Evans, AIA, senior associate editor. “It is a tool that reshapes a laborious process into an efficient, ubiquitous, multimedia output in PDF or HTML.”
Our second winner in this category is Autodesk with its new FormIt 2.0 release. “FormIt is an elegant mobile sketching and solid-modeling platform,” says Pete Evans, AIA, “with the combination of push/pull ease, boolean power, and geospatial analysis for wherever and whenever design inspiration strikes. This is a well executed and conceived mobile design app paired with the tactile direct manipulation of iOS to create a powerful design output tool.”
Runner-Up: Vectorworks Nomad 2.0
Vectorworks Nomad 2.0 offers many more features than its earlier release and works across not one, not two but three mobile platforms, strongly endorsing an openness adoption model and recognizing the innovations across multiple leading mobile platforms. Nomad is a key piece in Nemetschek Vectorwork’s cloud BIM strategies as a whole. (see below for more information on Nomad.)
This year we added a specific BIM category to address the BIM workflows emerging in the industry. We are particularly interested in robust platform openness (or interoperability) and innovative technology distributed across heterogenous devices and computing environments.
There are many products and technologies that are touching on these core aspects in the field, some of them, sadly, did not attend AIA 2013 this year. But we were happy to see Gehry Technologies in particular show up and promote their innovative GTeam collaborative BIM platform.
Our last honor for BEST OF SHOW goes to Gehry Technologies for its GTeam collaboration BIM platform.
“The latest version of GTeam now works across both Mac and Windows desktop delivering key features equally and on mobile devices like iPad as well,” states Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP. “This is an extremely robust offering with proprietary model optimization technologies, excellent communication and dashboard features, and powerful features like live sectioning and snapshots for 3D BIM model investigation, discussion and markup.” (1)
Runner Ups: Vectorworks Cloud Services and ArchiCAD 17
The sister companies behind both of these runner-ups are delivering innovations each year to their respective BIM platforms. This year Nemetschek Vectorworks Cloud Services with its Nomad 2.0 mobile app establishes a clear round-trip cycle of operation for BIM workflows utilizing both cloud and mobile together with the browser. While these services may not have all of the features that its end users may desire it is clearly on its way.
GRAPHISOFT on the other hand continues to complete the total vision of what BIM authoring tools are all about. It’s ArchiCAD 17 product this year sets a remarkably high goal of keeping the BIM model live from project beginning to end. In order to achieve this the company needed to innovate on many levels from performance tuning and background processing to new advancements in how materials are handled in intersections between elements.
Jury and Closing Comments
As we noted earlier in this article, Architosh will publish a companion article later this week that will discuss further the criteria and internal discussion about the Architosh BEST of SHOW Awards for AIA 2013. It will further illuminate emerging trends and articulate perspectives about the state of software technologies and where many experts in the industry believe technology should be headed.
The Architosh BEST of SHOW awards at AIA National are aimed at focusing readers on key technologies and solutions they may not be aware of, particularly if they cannot attend the AIA conference each year. Winners are encouraged to copy the graphics above for marketing purposes and to contact us for further comments.
Pete Evans, AIA, senior associate editor
Mr. Evans is a practicing architect in Des Moines, Iowa, and is also involved in academia and various AIA committees, including chairing the AIA Iowa Professional Development Committee and the national AIA TAP BIM Awards since 2007. He has taught and presented in numerous conferences, including the National AIA and ICC conferences and workshops.
A passionate Mac user in practice, Mr. Evans has worked laterally with Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, on numerous publishing and research activities for Architosh.com, including co-publishing the Architosh 2010 BIM survey reports. His technology-focused articles have been published in the AIA This Week online as well as several PDF-related articles for Architosh’s ToshLetter publication. His full bio on Architosh is here.
Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, editor-in-chief
Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, is a practicing architect in Massachusetts and the founder and editor-in-chief of Architosh.com. A longtime champion of and advocate for architects practicing architecture on the Apple Mac platform, he attends conferences and symposia in the CAD industries and has spoken at events pertaining to topics of interest and expertise, including the Mac in professional 3D at the 3D New York Users Group and web-based digital tools in practice at ABX Boston 2012.
Anthony has authored hundreds of articles within the CAD and 3D industry and has written or co-written several industry reports, most recently co-authoring the Architosh 2010 BIM Survey reports with Pete Evans, AIA. For his full bio on Architosh go here.
[edit. note: a minor grammatical correction took place at note (1), 26 June 2014]