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Perspectives on the 2013 AIA BEST OF SHOW awards

In this special 2013 AIA Denver feature report we talk about perspectives on industry change in the information technology (IT) space and how it is offering transformational opportunities in architectural practice. Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP has also contributed to this article.

Continued from page 1

Talking About the Winners

On the BIM Winner

While BIM authoring apps keep getting better, a major theme emerging in the past year in the software space is collaborative BIM solutions. A few companies have figured out ways of neutralizing the diverse file formats for BIM and created optimized geometry models that are capable of queries, by-layer viewing and control, and visual interrogation in 3D. GTeam is currently a standout solution in this area.

Furthermore, GTeam reflects and embraces the new lessons from Social, where BIM is platform agnostic and accurately responds to changing platform demographics. A huge attraction to GTeam is its openness at the fundamental level of how the product works. The entire product works through the Web browser and utilizes an open standard in WebGL.

On Desktop Winners

The element of Social is “connection.” The Social revolution is transforming or destroying barriers between producers and consumers in every industry. A direct connection between end users and the products they love without the middleman is allowing newfound opportunities by producers in particular. SketchUp 2013‘s built in app store brings end users and software developers in contact directly from within the tool, while setting up for more social interactions among all participants in the future. Instantly, an ecosystem is formed and visualized, giving its occupants tangible terrain, borders and interaction rules.


In the era of intense computational power, the ability to sculpt as an artist with a tool that fosters a craftsmanship experience in the box is still emotionally vital to the artist within designers of all shades. Architects in particular need various-paced opportunities for deep contemplative design thinking. It isn’t always about iteration. formZ 7 is simply the most powerful combination of modeling power and ease of use out in the market and a trusted format for interoperability options for visualization and digital prototyping.

On the Mobile Winners:

Input at the conceptual and intuitive level places demands on mobile technology that is core to the success or failure of Autodesk FormIt. Tactile push/pull paired with real information such as geo-location for orientation or more become tools accessible to a wide audience ready to make 3D prototypes and feed directly into production with 3D sketches in the cloud.

Likewise, the same mobile technology empowers an unwieldy process on the opposite end of architectural services in the construction field–site observation. With TurboSite, using the geo-location capabilities of the mobile iOS device, and built-in cameras and mics, interactive reports can be automated in ubiquitous and archival PDF or HTML usurping any need for paper or time at the office with forms. This allows a very efficient utilization for direct recorded, geo-located observations prepared on the spot freeing up time for more creative tasks in and out of the office.

Closing Comments

These 2013 AIA BEST OF SHOW award winners exemplify the maturing and changing landscape of architectural technology on the Mac, iOS (or desktop and mobile platforms) and beyond. By developing solutions fitting a new social dimension through technology, addressing important transformations in mobility and computational power, and empowering architects and designers with (intentionally) fast and slow tools, these winners are defining new potentials for the transforming process and built environment architects are responsible for.

Sir Ken Robinson spoke on creative tools, “Tools themselves are always neutral (relying on a person’s intentions). It’s all about the possibilities people see in them and the opportunities the tools provide for imaginative work.”



(1) Wujec, Tom, Editor “Autodesk: Imagine Design Create,” from interview Sir Ken Robinson

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