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AIA: Exhibit Report 1: Nemetschek North America and Graphisoft

We look at Graphisoft and Nemetschek North America at the AIA National Convention

Nemetschek North America – VectorWorks Architect

The VectorWorks folks looked to have a very good show this year in Boston. Their booth was not the busiest booth — that honor seemed to go to Bentley and their sexy GenerativeComponents technology — but nevertheless very well attended with their booth theater full and primed with presentations from several architects who use their software technology for practice.

The German-owned American subsidiary did have some new technology to showcase at the AIA. This year they introduced a new program called ThermoRender, which got quite a bit of interest from show attendees. Developed in Japan by Nemetschek North America’s distributor, A&A Co. Ltd, ThermoRender is a unique simulation and analysis tool for the thermal environment that can visualize surface temperatures, calculate Heat Island Potential (HIP), Mean Radiant Temperature (MRT), energy consumption, CO2 emission and more. The program is the recipient of the 2007 Architectural Institute of Japan prize. At the moment is it only available for the Japanese VectorWorks market.

In a sit-down meeting with Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek North America, he acknowledged that the company is possibly interested in bringing ThermoRender to the United States and other markets. Those interested in the program should fill out the form which can be found here.

Graphisoft Inc. – ArchiCAD

The Graphisoft booth was very busy with architects checking out ArchiCAD 11 as BIM was a major theme of this year’s AIA show. For years and years this well-known program from Hungary was considered by many as ahead of its time in producing a full “virtual building” 3D architectural CAD tool. Now that Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become a major focus within the AEC industry suddenly this 3D stalwart has become a “must evaluate” for many firms contemplating the transition from 2D CAD to BIM.

The story behind ArchiCAD has become even richer in recent times, as German software giant Nemetschek AG acquired the company in 2007 — setting itself up for direct competition with global rival US-based Autodesk and the Revit product they acquired from a spin-out of people and technology from Massachusetts-based Parametric Technology Corporation, makers of ProE.

I had a chance to sit down with Miklos Szovenyi Lux, Director of Product Management for ArchiCAD Development and Kurt Ameringer, of the Graphisoft offices in Massachusetts. In this meeting both gentlemen were able to show me upcoming technology being developed for ArchiCAD — some if which was being shown also in the ArchiCAD booth.

While I’m not able to publish details of this technology quite yet, I will say this: the technology Graphisoft is developing is very impressive. I am fairly confident in saying this company will be introducing at least a few industry firsts again. And one of those first is one that is particularly dear to my heart as both a writer of software technology and an architectural practitioner. And I am sure it will be well received by existing customers and new users alike. Especially those with a particular type of machine (hint!).

Next: Exhibit Report 2: Bentley and Generative Components

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