Architosh, the leading online publication devoted to Mac and iOS CAD and 3D software professionals and students, has announced its 3rd annual BEST of SHOW award honors for the AIA National Convention and Exhibition in Chicago in late June 2014.
Winners of these small honors will be happy to learn that in addition to the press coverage here at Architosh, a new section of our publication will add additional attention to the BEST of SHOW honors in the near future. Moreover, all winners this year will be granted a small promotional package at Architosh (please see forthcoming communications).
All winners of the Architosh 2014 BEST of SHOW honors for AIA National 2014 must conform to our eligibility rules stated in a previous news report here. While we were able to witness several exciting technology products at AIA—such as the CL3VER mobile-cloud technology product—all winners must be visible on the show exhibition floor.
A companion “perspectives” piece—much like last year—will provide an overview narrative behind this year’s honors and will be published later this week. Of particular note in that forthcoming piece is a focus on how new technologies like cloud and mobile are affording architects comprehensive means to provide analytic work up front in the design process. As the industry focuses further on ‘performance based design’ architects sit at a key juncture where they can take on a role to drive transformative processes back into the architect’s purview and instill further value into architectural services. In addition to excellent tools with excellent new features and expensive meaningful updates, by-in-large, the honorees below offer cutting edge abilities and transform workflow.
On a side note: This year AIA National Chicago came close to the United States’ Independence Holiday and our AIA reports have had to wait a bit longer than normal. Stay tuned for further AIA news in the coming days as well as show floor pictures and sight-seeing field trips in Chicago.
Without further ado:
Desktop Winner(s)—BEST of SHOW
This year Architosh chose to honor two desktop programs in this category. The first BEST of SHOW honor goes to Nemetschek Vectorworks Architect 2014, which was released last year in the fall. “Vectorworks Architect 2014 has already won other honors this year, including the 2014 Architizer A+ award,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP, editor-in-chief of Architosh. “What impresses me about this year’s version is that the company did a ground-up development of their own OpenGL rendering engine called Vectorworks Graphics Module. Akin to a combination of HOOPS and Unity Game Engine, version 2014 is loaded with tons of excellent new 3D features like its innovative new X-Ray Selection tool and sets the groundwork for exciting things to come.”
“Additionally, the overall product has solid new features in the area of BIM” adds Frausto-Robledo, “including modern IFC status and many other features like its Publish Command.”
The second honor goes to Dynamo, which is run like an open-source startup within Autodesk, with a particular nod at version 0.7 alpha. “Dynamo continues to evolve into an exciting option for visual programming with 3D geometry components and this latest release in alpha runs in stand-alone mode no longer requiring Revit,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, LEED AP. “Dynamo .07 alpha also runs on the Autodesk Shape Manager (ASM) geometry modeling kernel and contains a new scripting interface.” “Visual scripting and parametric modeling platforms like Dynamo will increasingly serve the field of architecture,” adds Frausto-Robledo, “as more analytics service the iterative architectural design process and building design in general becomes more performance-based.”
Runner-Up: formZ 8
“formZ was a winner in this category last year and formZ 8 looks to be a very solid update with its new Subdivision surface modeling features,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “It also has some important OpenGL improvements, 64-bit support for Mac users and a good array of improvements in the areas of 3D printing and materials.”
BEST of SHOW — Mobile Category
This year Architosh has also chosen two mobile apps for honors in the mobile category.
For the first winner the honor goes to GRAPHISOFT BIMx Docs. “BIMx Docs does something no other app in the world does,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo AIA LEED AP, “it has laid down the ultimate UI/UX paradigm for how to visually connect BIM geometry models to the visual world of 2D drawings, something the public for the most part still assumes architects spend most of their day doing.”
“The reason why this is so important is because society needs to learn how the profession is transforming and where drawings now come from and why this difference matters,” adds Frausto-Robledo. “It is of paramount understanding that, once gotten, will empower architectural clients to engage architects into deeper and more meaningful discussions and assignments, furthering their appreciation for and expanding their services with architects.”
“While BIMx Docs presents this connection beautifully the app itself lays down a superb foundation on which to build on,” adds Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP, “including data connections and even more importantly communication through the company’s new BIMcloud in future iterations.”
“Today BIMx Docs is an elegant and useful tool to bring BIM model data and their associated drawings into the field or the remote client office.”
The second winner for mobile is Autodesk FormIt.
“Autodesk FormIt won BEST of SHOW last year in this category and since that release has continued to improve nicely,” remarks Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “It remains an exemplar of the combined power of mobile and the cloud with its integrated Autodesk 360 cloud connections and utilization of Google’s maps technology to locate and use project sites.”
“In the latest release it also contains early stage building performance capabilities tapping into local climate station data,” says Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “This is quite exciting to see front-ended analytics right at the site, it is a tremendous example of the power of tablets connected to the cloud.”
Runner-Up: SketchUp Mobile
“Let’s face it, this is the app that millions of SketchUp users have been wanting for a while now,” says Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “While it may not yet dive into mobile onsite modeling, it is nonetheless a nice first implementation from a company that is in a commanding position in the schematic modeling space. And it does some neat things with the cloud and use of WebGL in tapping into the vast 3D Warehouse.”
BEST of SHOW — BIM Category
We added this category last year to address specific BIM workflows emerging in the field. A significant trend emerging is ‘performance based design.’ We have two winners in this category and the first winner specifically addresses trends in front-ending computational analytics in the design process.
The first winner in this year’s BIM category goes to Sefaira’s SketchUp plugin. “Sefaira’s software gives you real-time performance feedback while you are designing in SketchUp,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “Energy and daylighting performance feedback in early stage design is immeasurable and Sefaira is clearly leading the way. It is not surprising that some of the most important architecture and engineering firms in the world—like ARUP, Foster + Partners, Buro Happold, et cetera—are already using it.”
The second winner of this year’s BIM category goes to Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD 18 with BIMcloud™ technology. “Graphisoft announced BIMcloud in Japan earlier in the year and the technology and its usefulness is very impressive,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “Graphisoft’s delta technology is already in a class by itself because it reduces the transferred difference data (delta) down to 100 kilobyte chunks, something that is more than an order of magnitude smaller than its biggest rival.” “What’s really impressive to me,” adds Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP, “is that you can scale up through the cloud without stopping your teams and access to the BIM data.”
Runner-Up: Trimble SketchUp 2014
“SketchUp‘s latest release shoots a canon ball across the bow of leading BIM authoring environments like ArchiCAD, Revit and others with its introduction of IFC and open schema input,” remarks Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “This is a not-so-surprising development in an app that is now in the hands of a significantly large and formidable AEC software company. I expect to see many interesting developments with SketchUp coming in future years and interesting new competition within the larger BIM software market.”
BEST of SHOW — Innovation Category
This year we have a new category that wants to focus on answering the question: “what was the most innovative and promising new IT technology at AIA National and why?” The honor goes to two companies the first being Sefaira.
“Sefaira’s software gives you real-time performance feedback while you are designing in SketchUp,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “Energy and daylighting performance feedback in early stage design is immeasurable and Sefaira is clearly leading the way. It is not surprising that some of the most important architecture and engineering firms in the world—like ARUP, Foster + Partners, Buro Happold, etc—are already using it.”
“What is special and promising about Sefaira is that it utilizes the computational power of the cloud which will only grow over time,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “Typically designers reach a stopping end point in the design and then test for performance. And that process can often be non-graphical. Sefaira beautifully represents the next era of computing in architecture. I can’t wait to see more things like this and more from this company.”
The second winner in the Innovation category is solidThinking Inspire 2014. “Altair continues to push forward in AEC with its industry-leading engineering technologies and their fusion in early stage design tools like solidThinking Inspire 2014,” says Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA LEED AP. “Version 2014 fuses direct-modeling tools like push-pull faces and powerful Booleans with linear static and normal modes analysis, as well as geometry simplification and concentrated mass parts. Another exciting aspect of this tool is it works on both Windows and Mac platforms, empowering designers to consider weight-reduction and material efficiency prior to final engineering development. Inspire will continue to develop with interesting consequences for AEC.”
Jury and Closing Comments
As noted earlier in this release, Architosh will publish a companion perspectives article later this week on the technology shown at the AIA National Convention in Chicago and the decisions as to BEST of SHOW honorees.
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.
Anthony Frausto-Robledo AIA LEED AP, editor-in-chief
Anthony Frausto-Robledo AIA LEED AP, is a practicing architect in Massachusetts with more than 25 years of professional experience working nationally and abroad. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Architosh.com which celebrates 15 years in publication this year. Mr. Frausto-Robledo is the recipient of the Boston Architectural College 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for his contribution to the profession at the intersection of computer technology and the design process, informing the global architecture, engineering and construction communities. 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. He is an IT consultant for select AEC clients and provides strategic market analysis and guidance for software companies and start-ups in the architectural market.
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.