Building Together

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 2020-08-01 Views: 2,712 Tags: Construction, CAD, Graphisoft PDF Version:
Graphisoft's online user conference, Building Together, delivered a powerful package of software upgrades and then trumped them all with a new paradigm for Integrated Design

Graphisoft's Building Together digital event certainly had the shock of the new. Two days of online video streaming - the only viable way to host global user conferences whilst countries are shut down and airlines grounded due to Covid-19 - building up to the release of Archicad 24, followed by learning sharing tools for the Archicad user community, and all rounded off by rationalising the way architects and engineers can work together simultaneously on the same model.

That last announcement represented a new paradigm for the industry, which until now was quite happy to work on separate but federated models in each discipline and wait until the system gets round to updating, sharing and incorporating the design changes. And, of course, there is Archicad's new corporate identity - not just getting rid of the capitalisation of Archicad, but introducing a new set of logos for each of its modules - Archicad, BIMcloud, BIMx, Learn and Community.

Emphasising the role that Graphisoft's Archicad plays in the industry was a brief study of one of its most interesting recent projects, the Merdeka 118 tower in Kuala Lumpur, which will be the second highest building in the world following its completion in 2024 (you will find a case study of the Merdeka 118 development elsewhere in this issue of the magazine).


As creative as architects like to think they are, the most successful projects are based around teamwork and the ability to share designs and ideas with other disciplines and technologies. The driving force behind effective collaboration is, of course, BIM - a workflow that Graphisoft has been associated with from the very beginning. Enhancing its data sharing capabilities further, Graphisoft has developed an advanced cloud-based team collaboration solution in BIMcloud, one of its industry leading applications that has benefitted from the software enhancements released alongside Archicad 24.

In a major upgrade, BIMcloud, together with the new Integrated Design capabilities outlined below, enables architects and engineers to work together to co-design, for instance, the loadbearing structure of a building, using a powerful 'BIM Track Changes' workflow. Smart Model Compare, another new feature, allows two different versions of any two BIM models to be compared in order to view various design options and compare content from consultants.

Extending this further, users can utilise the updated Issue Management function in Archicad 24. This allows users to share models and suggest design variations and organise the results into smart issue lists, assigning names and priorities in an issue log managed in BIMcloud. A couple of other enhancements allow OPEN BIM workflows with BCF 2.1 support and PDF markups, and the ability to import and export .RVT and .RFA files out of the box.

It shares the limelight with BIMx, a web-based presentation and coordination app available to all project stakeholders: architects, engineers, the public and the clients. One of its best features is the BIM Hyper-model, which provides a 'game-like' navigation experience that helps users explore a building model and interact with it using model cut-throughs, in-context measuring and project mark-ups. Additional APIs allow BIMx to connect to 3rd party ecosystems and to control external datasets that will affect the building model.


Automating the publishing of documents lets architects get on with what they do best, namely creating great buildings. Archicad has long been renowned for its automatic drawing and layout generation, automatic dimensioning and other tools for simplifying the creation and publication of document sets. This has now been enhanced further with the introduction of higher-level languages like Python to create automation scripts and complete command chains from outside Archicad.

Visualisation has also been improved by adding over 500 new materials to the palette of visualisation tools, enabling architects to make even richer and realistic renderings. These are accompanied by library updates of modern furniture - all of which can be visualised on mobile devices using the new BIMx 3D engine. Twinmotion 2020 is also now included with Archicad 24, bringing with it real-time raytracing and other capabilities.


Creating intelligent or parametric objects within Archicad such as furniture and similar elements previously relied on a user's ability to handle a certain amount of programming. Archicad 24 provides an alternative method of building GDL-based custom content with PARAM-O, but more importantly, it allows the average Archicad user to create their own parametric designs. And there's also an oft-requested update for Mac Users - who get their very own Dark Mode!


The most significant thing about the Archicad 24 release, though, is that it enables architects and engineers to work on a shared model - a first for the industry. Instead of disciplines working within their own silos, Archicad 24 provides both architects and engineers with an integrated design environment.

This is not just a Graphisoft initiative, but stems from the parent company Nemetschek, and includes two major applications from its extensive catalogue of software solution providers: SCIA Engineer, with its detailed engineering analysis, and RISA-3D's analysis and design software, which allows users to design all types of structure - towers, skyscrapers, airports, stadiums, bridges, rollercoasters and everything in between - in a range of materials.

This new, disruptive workflow integrates architects and engineers in a shared BIMcloud environment, dramatically enhancing the capabilities and working processes of the broader project team.

Graphisoft describes it as moving from a 'bureaucratic model' with all its connotations to an 'Agile' team - autonomous, cross-functional and replete with interactions between team members. It provides synchronous and seamless workflows between each of the disciplines, all working on the same model, eliminating model duplication and redundant work between architects and structural engineers. All team members are provided with instant access to model changes in an enhanced environment even when they are working remotely or from home, thanks to its reliance on BIMcloud,

Being able to remove structural and architectural coordination errors through real-time collaboration allows teams to create structurally correct models that ready for construction in shorter timescales. Described as a new paradigm in collaborative design in the industry, Nemetschek's Integrated Design brings the sharing of design tasks well and truly into the 21st century.


Graphisft Learn has been rolled out, or rather relaunched, as a cloud program, available through The Graphisoft Learn Portal. It offers a Basecamp, BIM classes for various levels of BIM users from novice to BIM Manager level, and a full BIM curriculum. It can be provided for individual members of a team or for groups of any reasonable size. It also includes an assessment programmes and sampling which enables managers to assess the level of expertise attained by members of a team.