Naturally Animated Architecture: Book Review


Kevin Nute’s Naturally Animated Architecture is a fascinating, cross-disciplinary examination of how contemporary architecture could more naturally integrate its exterior environment with its internal experience. More than simply an aesthetic endeavor, Nute provides a compelling argument for why such integration is important to the performance and wellness of the human beings that inhabit these buildings. It is important, he explains, to see the movements of the wind, see and hear the rain, glance at the shadows the sun casts on walls.

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Allplan 2019


This review explores the new features and enhancements in the 2019 version of Allplan, including a new Planes palette which makes it easier to set up and manage the building structure of the project, the ability to create freeform 3D surfaces and use them as reference planes, a new Stair Modeler tool that can be used to create complex stairs more easily and accurately, a brand-new dedicated add-on for parametric bridge design, and several other enhancements for modeling, detailing, and interoperability.


BIM Handbook, Third Edition


It has been 10 years since the BIM Handbook was first published, when it emerged as the definitive guide to BIM for both practitioners in the industry as well as students and researchers in academia. Extensively researched and meticulously written by a team of leading researchers and experts in AEC technology, the third edition of the book has just been released. Coming seven years after the second edition, this review explores how the new edition of the book captures all of the many developments in the world of BIM that have emerged in the intervening years.




As with each new release of ARCHICAD, the new version that was released a few weeks ago also revolves around a theme named after a breakthrough improvement. For ARCHICAD 22, the theme is “BIM Inside and Out.” The “inside” in this case refers to the many enhancements for modeling and managing the information within the BIM model, while the “out” refers to the dramatic improvements in the Curtain Wall tool which greatly speed up and simplify the design of building façades, whether they are composed of straight lines or irregular shapes.

These two key features are explored in more detail in this review, along with the many additional improvements related to productivity, workflow, and performance in ARCHICAD 22.


Aditazz Design Synthesis Application


In an AEC technology landscape that has an overall dearth of “smart” tools, the Aditazz Design Synthesis application has the potential to become one. It is focused on creating libraries of rooms for different project types that are pre-validated for code-compliance, which means that when they are used in a project, they can come with the assurance that they already satisfy the internal requirements of that space. Its objective is to make it easier and faster to design projects with highly regulated design requirements such as hospitals, hotels, schools, and so on, using rooms that are already code-compliant. The application comes with a Revit plug-in that has bidirectional integration, allowing the rooms to be placed in a Revit project and still continue to be monitored for code-compliance.

The application is still in a very early stage with several interface enhancements required before it can be commercially released, but the underlying concept is intriguing and represents a unique way of thinking about rule-based design and how it can be applied in AEC.


Solibri Model Checker


Solibri Model Checker, the model-checking application for BIM models, actually pre-dates the term “building information modeling”—I was introduced to it at an “interoperability” workshop all the way back in 2001 when the term “BIM” hadn’t even been introduced yet. Since then, the application’s repertoire has been expanded to include a much wider range of capabilities in addition to model-checking, including multi-disciplinary coordination, clash detection, model comparison, quantity take-off, and issue management. This review takes a detailed look at its interface and functionality, and some examples of how it is being implemented by AEC firms all over the world.


AECOsim Building Designer CONNECT Edition


I last reviewed Bentley’s multi-disciplinary BIM application, AECOsim Building Designer, in 2012 when it was in the V8i generation. A lot has changed since then with regard to Bentley’s technology. It has a brand-new CONNECT generation, which features dramatic improvements over the earlier V8i generation including speed, connectivity, mobile support, cloud capability, and interoperability with other applications. Bentley first introduced the CONNECT edition at its 2014 YII (Year in Infrastructure) conference and has been gradually releasing the CONNECT editions of all its applications, starting with ProjectWise, MicroStation, and Navigator at YII 2015 and many more of its design, analytical, construction, and reality modeling applications at last year’s YII conference. The CONNECT edition of AECOsim Building Designer has just been released and this review takes an indepth look at it to explore the new features and enhancements in this major generational update of the application.




Those familiar with ARCHICAD know that each new release of the application revolves around a theme named after a breakthrough improvement. The theme of the new release of the application, ARCHICAD 21, which was launched earlier this summer, is “Step Up Your BIM.” It’s a smart way of capturing both the two main highlights of this release: one, dramatically improved means of modeling staircases and their accompanying railings; and two, the advent of truly smart design tools in ARCHICAD, which significantly ramps “up” its ability as a BIM tool.

This review explores the new rule-based Stair and Railing tools in detail, along with the many additional improvements in interoperability, Grasshopper integration, and productivity enhancements that have been made in ARCHICAD 21.


FenestraPro Premium: A Generative Tool for Façade Design in Architecture


This review explores FenestraPro Premium, an add-in to Revit for façade design whose scope extends to three main energy-related analysis categories—thermal, solar and daylighting—and how they are impacted by the façade design of a building. The tool is positioned as a design tool, in particular as a generative design tool, rather than as an analysis tool for façade design. In addition to exploring FenestraPro Premium and how it works, the review provides a broader commentary on generative design, including the question of “Are We There Yet?”