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In Brief: Highlights from AIA 2016 Philly

Architosh is at AIA Philly 2016 and we will have extensive show coverage and a big picture gallery series as well. If you couldn’t attend this year, you have a missed a good one. Record attendance, great speakers and tech…and let’s not forget Philly herself!


This year’s AIA National Convention in Philadelphia has been a big success. At least that is the consensus view we have received from those we have talked to and from the undeniable numbers increase in attendance compared to past recent shows. The expo hall has been jammed with folks and there are some incredible technologies being shown on the show floor, which ends today (Saturday).

Highlights in Brief

From the AIA’s introductory announcements to make the organization into a “dynamic” and responsive group, to its new beta version website which embodies these dynamic principles, to the #ilookup film series that inspires the profession and communicates the values of architects to society, to the great keynote speakers talking or have already spoken at this show. Overall, this has been the best AIA National Convention in our recent memory.

01 - Trimble booth fun...demonstration of new SketchUp technology with Microsoft Hololens.

01 – Trimble booth fun…demonstration of new SketchUp technology with Microsoft Hololens.

For technolusters the Neri Oxman keynote Friday was likely the most engaging talk delivered in the context of a so many architects. By the way, 8,000 people packed the keynotes on day 1 and 2. Oxman’s work at the MIT Mediated Matter Lab is truly ground-breaking, as she engages in research projects for developing building creations with “single material systems” rather than multi-material assemblies. Using computational algorithms, 3D printing, robotics, and cutting edge fields such as synthetic biology, Neri Oxman’s work is nothing short of breathtaking and inspiring and amplified the show’s mantra of Imagine+.

While Oxman’s work at MIT looked rather futuristic and sci-fi, the information technology companies at the show—our purpose for attending—were in full force with their own innovations. Autodesk hosted an invite only event at the nearby Apple store one day to showcase their cloud and mobile and desktop tools on Apple’s platforms, while some of us in the press were uniquely treated to a peak at the work the company is doing with Project Fractal.

The Vectorworks folks were touting their computational design tech in Marionette, while Graphisoft and Bluebeam were showing many attendees their latest updates. Bluebeam now has a Mac version of Revu and ArchiCAD 20 is out with an amazing flexible system of graphic over-rides.

Trimble may have stolen the show this year with its alpha-level work with the Microsoft Hololens and SketchUp. And Chaos Group and CL3VER are both teaming on solutions that have excellent impacts on practice from multiple angles. On our final day on the show floor we will touch down with many of the other software firms in search of the next great thing. More to come!

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