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Vectorworks Design Summit: Initial Thoughts

Some thoughts on the Vectorworks Design Summit going on this week in downtown Philadelphia, as more than 300 users from around the world join with global Vectorworks experts, trainers, resellers and visionary designers to learn, share and explore the future of Vectorworks and design fields.

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This week I’ve been at the Vectorworks Design Summit, in downtown historical Philadelphia. Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc., typically hasn’t hosted one of these events every year, choosing instead to host them every few years and typically timed for some major announcement.

This year, the company seems buzzing with excitement—for several reasons representatives say. One of those reasons is because the company is doing something for the first time at the conference—giving attendees a sneak peak at the future of Vectorworks (the subject of an upcoming Architosh report). But there are other reasons for the excitement, including the projection that the company will begin hosting such an event annually.

30 Years: From MiniCAD to Vectorworks

The tenor of the event is very celebratory. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of Vectorworks, back when Richard Diehl founded the company in 1985 and took out a $10,000 bank loan so that he could buy an Apple Lisa computer, at the time the only computer really powerful enough to actually program a sophisticated 3D CAD program for the then nascent, but stunningly innovative, Apple Mac.

01 - Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. gives the opening Keynote Address at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit in Philadelphia.

01 – Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. gave the opening Keynote Address (yesterday) at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit in Philadelphia. The picture shows the CAD software company’s beginnings with Richard Diehl, founder shown at left and Flaherty.

Flaherty’s keynote address was both informative, thought-provoking and even charming, as he took the audience back through time to the earliest days of the company, back then known as Diehl Graphsoft. He noted that Richard Diehl later admitted some regret about the name MiniCAD, explaining that back in the mid 80’s there were three types of computer systems, mainframes, minicomputers, and microcomputers. None of these terms mean a heck of a lot to most users today, but back then early software firms named themselves with similar reference. Microsoft is one well known obvious case-in-point.

Leo Van Broeck, founding partner of the Belgium architecture and urban design practice BOGDAN & VAN BROECK gave the “design keynote” talk. Focusing on a more global picture of humanity’s environmental challenges, Van Broeck covered topics like percentage of areas without human occupation in order for an ecosystem to be successful and the densification or lack thereof in his home country and countries in general.

02 - Leo Van Broeck, architect and co-founder of BOGDAN & VAN BROECK in Belgium delivers a fascinating design keynote talk.

02 – Leo Van Broeck, architect and co-founder of BOGDAN & VAN BROECK in Belgium delivers a fascinating design keynote talk.

Spending a good percent of his more than 70 slides in his talk, Van Broeck carefully framed his arguments, including a (perhaps) counter-intuitive assessment that the more densification humanity will accept the more vital the role of the architect in order to foreshadow what is necessary to keep the peace among neighbors and provide comfort and privacy so vital to human life.

Though I have not confirmed this, it is my understanding that the main presentations at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit have all been filmed and may be available for broader viewing by Nemetschek Vectorworks at some point in time.

Overall as we head into the last day of this conference, attendees I’ve spoken to say they have enjoyed the format of this conference as it strikes a nice balance between all the core activities and is hosted in a fascinating city. On a personal side note, the hotel, the Sofitel, has a nearly ideal setup architecturally for this event. It’s just the right size.

Stay tuned as Architosh shares more on the news coming out of the Vectorworks Design Summit.