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AIA: Pre Round-Up Report from the Show Floor

We give an over-view of our upcoming 2013 AIA National reports on the coolest software and technologies we saw and learned about in Denver.


The 2013 AIA National Convention is over but we sure did have a busy time meeting one software company after another for a full two days including get-togethers at cocktail time, et cetera. For those architects in the US who have never been to the AIA National Convention we highly recommend you attend one.

For Architosh readers in particular, you can spend all your time in sessions on the show floor–in just the Software Pavilion–and not likely see everything. This year there were over two dozen companies on exhibit in the software and technology section of the exhibit hall.

Pete Evans, AIA, senior associate editor and myself, rounded the show floor getting a peak at all the key things that companies were introducing or showing. In addition, at least one of us hit up the key vendor press-only meetings, including a key one from Autodesk, as well as a few BIM or software related sessions. The short of it is this: we have a lot to share here on Architosh about the 2013 AIA National Convention and will rolling out reports for days and into the next couple weeks.

The Software Pavilion

All five major BIM authoring software companies were on hand this year including: Autodesk, Bentley, Gehry Technologies, GRAPHISOFT and Nemetschek Vectorworks. Everyone had the same size large booth except GT (Gehry Technologies) and that was too bad because their booth was jammed with interested folks. They made need to step it up next year in the big city of Chicago.

01 - Attendees gather around the AutoDesSys booth to see formZ 7.0

01 – Attendees gather around the AutoDesSys booth to see the new formZ 7.0, now at version 7.2.

Other lively and interesting booths included HP with its new DesignJets, Trimble SketchUp, IMSI/Design, AutoDesSys with its new bonzai 3D and formZ 7, and the many rendering software folks–including The Chaos Group. And while we didn’t get a chance to speak to everyone, we did get to majority of key players. We’ll be going over what we saw in several Floor reports coming up directly after this report in the next day or two.


Yesterday Architosh awarded its BEST OF SHOW awards for the AIA National 2013 event, the most notable software items in three categories, including Desktop, Mobile and BIM. You can read about the winners here (and search the #architosh hashtag on Twitter to see tweets about it). They include:

  • AutoDesSys – formZ 7.2
  • Trimble – SketchUp 2013
  • IMSI/Design – TurboSite
  • Autodesk – FormIT 2.0
  • Gehry Technologies – GTeam

Runner-ups were also mentioned on this page with some discussion. Architosh will be publishing a deeper discussion of the BEST OF SHOW award winners for this year later this week so please look for that–it will be informative.

Notable Items

We are just going to highlight some notable items here but will expand on all of this in separate detailed reports. In this report we will give readers a jumping off and an idea of what to expect over the next few days. HP had some very interesting new technology for printing on textiles for wall covering uses.

AutoDesSys gave us a thorough and exhaustive personal look at all that is key and new in formZ 7. It is without question the best push-pull solids modeling tool in existence. More on that later. Trimble’s booth was lively and fun and we have interesting items to share from our private talk with John Bacus.

IMSI/Design had a crazy busy booth with its TurboSite product-easily the star iOS (iPad oriented) product at the show this year. Although we are well aware of this product it was a joy to see it demoed personally and to ask questions. We also know more about where this product is headed and we liked what we heard. We saw impressive demos on ArchiCAD, Vectorworks Cloud and Nomad, plus many other things, including Gehry Technologies’ GTeam and some future products.

Notable Conversations

One of the more notable conversations at 2013 AIA Denver was with Altair Corporation. This industrial and aerospace engineering oriented company has some FEA (finite element analysis) technology that they want to bring to the AEC market and they shared with us some of their future ideas, their discussions and collaborations with the office of SOM and where their solidThinking product line can possibly go.

At the show the company was showing a wind-tunnel analysis technology used on large buildings–particularly skyscrapers–to design more material efficient structures by learning very early in the schematic design process what the impact of various shape configurations will be due to wind forces.

Because of the increasingly cheap cost of “compute” horsepower now available in the cloud, many of the most computationally intense technologies in existence may soon emerge via the Internet and SaaS (software as a service) delivery models as something that is affordably available to even small firms or individual practitioners. This is a very real emerging trend we will touch more later this week.  Stay tuned…we have some great stuff to share.

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