From the new Resource Manager to innovative irrigation tools, Vectorworks 2017 has introduced many great features and tools. For this roundup, we’re breaking down how to use some of the most useful updates of the new release.

The first video takes you through the new Slab Drainage tool. Explore how to create and edit drains and connections, and how to understand the information attached to each drain.


Next, learn how to use the Railing Fence tool that allows for easier creation of custom railings and fences with BIM workflows.


Now you can elevate your drawings with the Interior Elevations tool. This tutorial shows you how to generate and update multiple interior drawings linked to a drawing marker.


Once you learn about door and window styles, you’ll be creating and editing objects with greater efficiency.


Lastly, you can now convey information more quickly by using viewport data visualization. Watch this video to learn how to control graphic attributes of smart objects based on data.


To keep learning about the new features in Vectorworks 2017, head over to our Feature Videos playlist. And if you’re completely new to Vectorworks software, check out our playlist Vectorworks 2017 – The Basics to get started.

If you need any help, reach out to us at or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

Veteran lighting designer and Vectorworks software user Jeff Ravitz knows a thing or two about being the boss. After all, Ravitz is not only the Emmy-award winning founder of lighting firm Intensity Advisors, but also has been the lighting designer for The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, for three decades.


Courtesy of Flickr user Alive87.

Ravitz recently spoke to Live Design for an exclusive webcast, “Lighting Perspectives with Jeff Ravitz,” about his experiences creating and evolving the vibrant shows for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, as well as lighting tips and techniques for other designers.

Here are three of Ravitz’s most enlightening pieces of industry wisdom:

Know Your Artist: Since partnering with the band for their Born to Run tour in 1984, Ravitz has learned the general flow of a Springsteen show and mastered techniques that accent the show’s energy. “For me, it was always about lighting the band and then creating the environment of light around them,” Ravitz said. “I took it as my obligation to not get in their way, but rather enhance what they’re already doing.”

After 32 years working with The Boss, Ravitz knows exactly what lighting Bruce loves in his live shows — and also what techniques to avoid. For instance, because Springsteen loves making sure all audience members in the venue can see the stage clearly, Ravitz has avoided using backdrops that might obscure the sightline to the stage. For Springsteen’s latest tour, he mounted vertical strip lights to the upstage railing to add depth to stage while still empowering Springsteen to make use of as much of the space as possible.

Go With What Works: Ravitz says that while the band’s performances have retained the same basic framework over the past several decades, new songs have been added to the band’s roster and the technology has improved greatly. He is always looking for new lighting technology that will complement the show and meet the performer’s needs.“I’ve always been a big fan of keeping what works and improving the rest,” he said. Ravitz’s designs for The River Tour 2016, which celebrated the re-release of Springsteen’s 1980 album “The River,” demonstrated that while lighting technology evolves, designers can still draw from classic styles to create a wow-worthy show. In fact, Ravitz specifically worked to emulate lighting techniques that would have been used at the time of the original album’s release with modern technology.


Hang plot over the stage, courtesy of Intensity Advisors.

Refine Your Style: Throughout the years working and touring with Springsteen and a number of other performers, Ravitz has gotten his designs for shows down to a method. Knowing what styles work for different types of songs and shows, and how different lighting equipment affects the stage, helps Ravitz to “sculpt” the performers out of the darkness with carefully composed displays that enhance a mood or moment.


Jeff Ravitz highlights key lighting techniques in the webinar.

Ravitz has refined the composition of his shows so that a great deal of attention is paid to the three key elements: toning vertical surfaces, creating a color environment, and separating the musicians from the color. Ravitz uses all the tools at his disposal, including floor lighting, back and side lighting, textured and patterned washes, and a bold color statement on the stage surfaces, to help set a mood, direct the crowd’s attention, and create interesting visuals for audience members who view the stage from a variety of angles.

“Utilizing the tools at our disposal, we really can make each song look individual and unique,” Ravitz said.

Ravitz also gave webinar attendees a look at some of his preferred lighting fixtures and past lighting plots, as well as insight into how he uses Vectorworks Spotlight:

“It allows us to put all the data for every light onto the plot, create paperwork that goes out to everyone for patching purposes, as well as the team putting the system together in the shop, and we can share that back and forth with one another,” he said. “If I want to move a truss six feet higher or lower or closer or further, I can do it in a couple of seconds and I love that.”

Watch a recording of the full webcast and learn more of Ravtiz’s rocking techniques for painting stages with light over on Live Design. And if you’re going to be at LDI this week, stop by booth 337 to learn more about all of the tools and features in Vectorworks Spotlight software that empower Ravitz to design.

An international judging body has selected Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner to design the extension of the Beyeler Foundation Museum, a structure originally designed by Renzo Piano. Chosen from among the proposals of 11 other prestigious architecture firms, including SANAA, Sou Fujimoto, Smiljan Radic, and Souto de Moura, Zumthor’s project will be built on a previously private plot in the Iselin Weaver Park in Riehen, Basel.

Photo of Peter Zumthor by Martin Mischkulnig.

Photo of Peter Zumthor by Martin Mischkulnig.

“Peter Zumthor brings the sensibility and experience needed to design a structure of excellent quality for this special place,” comments Sam Keller, director of the Fondation Beyeler, regarding the judges’ decision. Zumthor has extensive experience in the design and construction of museum buildings, including the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Kolumba in Germany, and his current project, the new Los Angeles County Museum of Art building. Now he will bring that expertise to the Beyeler Foundation Museum, near the Swiss-German border, which has established itself as the most visited art museum in Switzerland. Since its opening in 1997, 6.2 million have visited the building.

Zumthor is best known for the minimalist aesthetic of his works and for his exploration into how the materials and physical qualities of a space evoke experience. These ideas are manifested throughout Zumthor’s portfolio, including the Therme Vals in Switzerland.

Photo of Therme Vals courtesy of Pepechibiryu.

Photo of Therme Vals courtesy of Pepechibiryu.

The 2009 Pritzker Prize winner is excited about the opportunity to contribute meaningful work to his birthplace. “The sky above Basel, the city, and its surroundings — those are the landscapes of my youth. It warms my heart that I am able to design an important building here,” says Zumthor, a longtime Vectorworks software user.

“We are happy to have one of the world’s best architects as a partner for the project,” says Hansjörg Wyss, chairman of the Beyeler Foundation. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner’s full design for the museum will be presented in the coming months.

To learn more about projects from other notable Vectorworks software users, head over to our case studies page.

Long nights, early mornings — it’s tough being a student sometimes. On top of the large workload, you have to think about the cost of tuition, materials, and all the other odds and ends that accompany college life. That’s why we want the hard work you put into your projects to be worth more than just a good grade, so we’re launching the third annual Vectorworks Design Scholarship. Now your all-nighters can score you up to $10,000 USD, a major resume booster, and free publicity that will get you noticed by potential employers.

Connect with us on social media using #FundMyVision.

Applying is an easy two-step process. First, submit your best individual or group project, whether you completed it for a class assignment or if it’s a project you worked on just for fun. Then, just answer three questions in 150 words or less each. Another major bonus is that you can enter as many times as you’d like. We’ll accept entries from students currently enrolled in an accredited design program and registered for at least six credits, or students who have graduated during the 2015 or 2016 school term.

After you apply, you can sit back and relax until Friday, August 18, 2017, the day winners are announced. The program includes two rounds of judging. Notable panels of judges from around the world will evaluate submissions based on design integrity, originality, the effective use of computer technology, and communication of design vision. First round winners will receive $3,000 USD and the opportunity to compete for the grand prize Richard Diehl Award, worth an additional $7,000 USD. Plus, if you win, your school will receive free Vectorworks design software and complimentary training for faculty and students, basically earning you some seriously good karma with your school.

Winning designs from previous years of the Vectorworks Design Scholarship.

Winning designs from previous years of the Vectorworks Design Scholarship.

So put your ramen-fueled all-nighters to good use and apply for the Vectorworks Design Scholarship before the final deadline of July 15, 2017. Make sure you share your excitement with us after submitting using #FundMyVision on social media.

While much of the world engages in an eternal Apple vs. Android product debate, designers and architects face an even bigger decision when it comes to choosing technology.

Recently, Competitionline, a leading platform for architectural competitions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, asked their audience a simple question: “What software do you use?” More than 300 architects and planners in fields ranging from building construction and scenography to interior design and landscape architecture participated in the poll.

The results speak for themselves. For 3D workflows, Vectorworks software is the second-most favored program and is tied for first place pertaining to 2D workflows.

2D and 3D poll results from all participants.

2D and 3D poll results from all participants.

Landscape Architecture versus Architecture 2D and 3D poll results from all participants.

Furthermore, another one of their illuminating studies found that Vectorworks users may have more job opportunities. Competitionline evaluated all job ads published on their online job market from 2013-2016 and discovered that experience with Vectorworks software was the second-most asked for out of all software programs on job listings.

Learn more about how we continue to develop tools and features that empower designers to create unmatched experiences by checking out our Vectorworks 2017 software.

A Backyard Retreat


Tucked away in a 26-meter-wide lot in the historic Buenos Aires suburb of San Isidro is a small family home that has garnered a large amount of attention. Though from the street the building seems simple and elegant, the back of the house, which sprawls into a verdant, vibrant yard, is jaw-dropping in its ability to redefine the space around it.

front of house

The house, called Casa Mirasoles, was designed with Vectorworks software by Andres Fernandez Abadie, an award-winning Argentinian architect and professor at the University of Buenos Aires. His breathtaking project has been featured in publications and on several websites, including Divisare.


While the house occupies all of the buildable area right up to the perimeter of the lot, it makes the most of the limited space. By creating a simple, private façade facing the street, Abadie is able to create a beautiful environment within the limits of the lot that blends the interior with the exterior landscaping. The neutral tones of the building add to its earthy feel, and the wood detailing on the house and porch unify the environment; the house seems to melt into the back lawn.


Using a clean linear design and ample windows to integrate the features of the yard, including lush foliage and a bright swimming pool, into the house itself, the geometry of the building and surrounding lot are combined into a very bright, natural space, perfect for the young family that lives there.



Interested in learning more about design that explores the relationships between the built and the natural environment? Read all about it in MODUS News 5.

An important step in convincing your client to bring a project to life is showing them exactly how the design will look in the real world, which is why the integrated Renderworks feature set in Vectorworks 2017 software is vital to the success of your future projects. And since we’re dedicated to your success, we’re bringing you the Remarkable Renderworks tutorial series highlighting the best practices of rendering expert Daniel Jansenson of daniel jansenson architect.

Once you’ve watched the videos, download the project files that Jansenson used in these tutorials to start practicing your own rendering techniques.

Remarkable Renderworks Ep. 1: Renderworks Workflow


Remarkable Renderworks Ep. 2: Basic Visualization

Download the project files here.

Remarkable Renderworks Ep. 3: Create a View or Scene

Download the project files here.

Remarkable Renderworks Ep. 4: Perspective or Cropped Perspective

Download the project files here.

Remarkable Renderworks Ep. 5: Sketch

Download the project files here.

This is just the first installment of episodes in the Remarkable Renderworks series. Stay tuned for future updates on rendering techniques and best practices over the coming weeks. If you can’t wait for more videos from Jansenson, check out this video series exploring the capabilities of rendering tools in Vectorworks software.

Happy World Architecture Day! Today is the International Union of Architects’ annual celebration of the built world, and since this year’s theme is “Design a Better World,” we’re highlighting how design helps alleviate human suffering, reduce planetary burdens, and enhance the quality of life for communities through a selection of blogs, articles, and videos. 

Quick Reads

Designing for Disaster with Pedestrian Simulation Software SimTread

Directing people through a museum, expediting fans’ exit from a football stadium, and simulating the evacuation of entire cities in response to natural disasters all share one common thread: they benefit from SimTread pedestrian simulation software.

Environmental Consciousness Meets Urban Development

Landscape architecture and urban design firm McGregor Coxall is dedicated to preparing the built environment for increased population density, as well as environmental and economic changes in the coming decades.

Offshore Windfarms and the Future of Green Energy

One of the projects that architect and long-time Vectorworks software user Nathan Kipnis is most passionate about is the advanced development of an offshore wind farm on the Evanston, Illinois shoreline.

Articles for Credit

Resilient Building Design (1 AIA LU/HSW; 1 GBCI CE Hour)

Discover how when eco-friendly tools offered in digital technologies work together, they can yield remarkable results.

Sustainability, Modular Design, and BIM (1 AIA LU/HSW)

Architects who recognize these emerging movements and are able to incorporate them into their practice will see benefits with their projects, clients, and firms.

Merging Architecture and Landscape Designs (1 AIA LU)

Examine the sustainability benefits that stem from fusing landscape design and architecture.

Webinars for Credit

Introduction to Energy Modeling Using Energos (1 AIA LU

Investigate how using an integrated energy analysis tool in the early stages of a BIM workflow can optimize schematic design.


Purpose-Driven Design: The Impact of Social Responsibility on Architecture (1 AIA LU)

Architectural design begins with a desire to fulfill a client’s specific needs. But what if the design also needs to address the aspirations of an entire civilization?

Celebrate With Us In Person

If you’re attending Greenbuild 2016 this week, continue your celebration of eco-friendly architecture at booth #543 with us! We’ll be giving away two FLIR ONEs, t-shirts, and two editions of BIM in Small-Scale Sustainable Design by François Lévy of Lévy Kohlhaas Architecture.