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AIA: Show Floor Galleries and Notes 2

The AIA National Convention and Exhibition was held this year in San Francisco at the Moscone Convention Center. Famous for hosting Macworld each January and the site of Steve Jobs’ famous keynotes, the AIA show easily filled all three halls at Moscone, something Macworld has never done in recent times.


auto-des-sys, Inc. was the other company with the brand new software to announce at AIA 2009. Well, truthfully there were others but besides EcoDesigner this was the next big announcement and I can’t stress enough how important of an announcement this really is. 

Interestingly, auto-des-sys, Inc. first introduced Bonzai 3D at AIA last year. A year ago it was an early beta that showed a lot of promise. This year, at essentially version 1.0, Bonzai 3D is vastly more mature and ready to go.

In our earlier report we have a bullet list of the key new features in Bonzai 3D. Of this list, the feature that is most significant in my mind is the combination of real-time Booleans with true class-A NURBS behind all the curved functionality. This product is a serious challenger to Google’s SketchUp. 

01 - both formZ and Bonzai 3D brought visitors to the auto-des-sys booth.

01 - both formZ and Bonzai 3D brought visitors to the auto-des-sys booth.

Bonzai 3D also has the easy ability to move data back and forth between it and its more mature and capable sibling, formZ. This direct-upscale capability is attractive from the perspective of those who want to start with a “sketch-oriented” modeler and move to a full-featured industrial-class modeler that features the same modeling engine and most of the same tools. 

02 - formZ and Bonzai on display at AIA.

02 - formZ and Bonzai on display at AIA.

Of course this workflow I’m describing between Bonzai 3D and formZ will get vastly better with a revamped formZ–which is in the works. Chris Yessios told me last year that Bonzai 3D is paving the way with new approaches to the interface and workflow and that some of this innovation will move over to formZ in the future. 

03 - Google shows off SketchUp 7 Pro.

03 - Google shows off SketchUp 7 Pro.

Google is now one of the big and popular software companies at AIA National. SketchUp Pro 7 is the latest version of the popular, easy-to-use modeler that now has a direct competitor in Bonzai 3D. Architosh published an in-depth interview with SketchUp 7 product manager John Bacus back in December. This is a must read for the details behind this release.

04 - Architects sit within the Google Booth Theater to check out demos of the SketchUp 7 product line.

04 - Architects sit within the Google Booth Theater to check out demos of the SketchUp 7 product line.

You can notice in this picture that even Google’s booth had empty seats in its booth theater, as did mighty Autodesk and the smaller companies like auto-des-sys, Inc. Don’t take any of this as a reflection of the vendors’ popularity at the show. The truth is, the AIA National this year had noticeably less people attending the show. Those empty seats reflect a severely troubled US economy. However the vendors who exhibited deserve credit for staying in the show and for pushing forward in troubled times. I encourage readers to follow these links and check out their products new and old.

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