Neil Marshall’s role as a director and Chartered Architectural Technologist at The Design Büro in the UK covers everything from securing future work to delivering multimillion-pound schemes within the healthcare sector. One of his biggest roles over the past few years, however, has been overseeing the integration of BIM into the daily activities of the practice. Marshall believes that adopting BIM workflows at the start of the design phase inspires building users to engage with the design process and aids in the delivery of a better built environment.

In this new video, Marshall shares why he is passionate about Vectorworks Architect software as a proven BIM solution. His firm, which designs and builds sustainable environments for the healthcare, residential housing, leisure, and education industries, recently made the switch from 2D to 3D with BIM. Learn about their transition and what advice Marshall has for those considering adopting a BIM workflow.

After watching the video, learn more about The Design Büro’s proven approach to building design and view some of its high-quality, accurate architectural designs including its flagship BIM project, the Pathology Department building at Glan Clywd Hospital in North Wales.

For award-winning architecture and design team Peter and Sharon Exley, fun elevates the everyday. In fact, as founders of the Chicago-based firm Architecture Is Fun, this husband and wife have crafted their professional ambitions toward making meaningful, interactive places and spaces for families. One of their first clients was the internationally renowned Chicago Children’s Museum; other children’s museums, exhibits, and adult cultural spaces soon followed.

In this new Vectorworks Success Story, learn about three projects designed by Architecture Is Fun, beginning with the St. Chrysostom’s Day School, where the firm transformed an underused, 450-square-foot space into a bright and airy gothic garden where children explore and interact, paint, perform, tell stories, and sit with friends.

St. Chrysostom’s Day School. © Doug Snower Photography.

Next is the 22,000-square-foot Young At Art Museum in Davie, Florida, where the Exleys worked with the museum’s executive director to introduce art usually reserved for serious adult museums. They supplemented work commissioned from 75 acclaimed artists with highly sensory interactive pieces, including engaging sculptures, plush seating areas, curvy tunnels, soothing water play structures, and cozy reading nooks.

Young At Art Museum. © Doug Snower Photography.

Generating data-rich models with Vectorworks Architect software enabled Peter’s coordination with the building architect and consultant’s BIM models. Often, the exhibit concept was in development before the interior space, so having a comprehensive model informed the architectural design.

“The ambition of Vectorworks Architect is a robust example, illustrating a workflow that is familiar and analogous to traditional architectural design process while producing a forward-looking, data-rich, and coordinated BIM,” Peter says. “Compared to experiences of competitive products, Vectorworks Architect presents a superior outcome with less effort, that’s profitable to the architect and client partnership,” Peter says.

More recently, Architecture Is Fun upgraded the main floor family gallery at the esteemed Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University with small building blocks, tablet computers with proprietary activities, and comfortable child-height seating that invites people of all ages to explore in a non-linear fashion.

Frost Art Museum photo courtesy of Florida International University.

Peter notes that the Vectorworks model for this project was used to prototype scale models of furniture and millwork using a MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer, and digital files went straight to millwork fabrication with only minimal need for shop drawings.

Visit our website to read the entire Architecture Is Fun Success Story.

Mark Flamer, P.E., Registered Civil Engineer and General Building Contractor, Structural Engineering Consultant for Nemetschek Scia, and Software Engineer for Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.

Jeff M. Server, LEED AP BD+C, ASLA, Assoc. AIA, Architect Product Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. and Adjunct Professor at Morgan State University

One of the greatest benefits of BIM is also one of its biggest challenges. The ability to share information between designers and firms is invaluable, but since different designers use different software applications, exchanging this information accurately and efficiently can be tricky. That’s where open BIM can be a solution. Using the context of the Arboleda project, a multi-family, multi-story residential building in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, we’ll show you how open BIM improves communication and file sharing among project team members.

The firm that designed the Arboleda building originally used the BIM capabilities of Vectorworks software strictly for architectural purposes (Little BIM). More recently, we were part of a team that revisited the project as a proof-of-concept in order to explore and apply innovative features and technologies (Big BIM), such as new and open means of collaboration with engineers and contractors. The team members used various software platforms (e.g., Vectorworks Architect, Scia Engineer, Solibri Model Checker, DDS-CAD, IESVE for Engineers, and Synchro Professional), all of which are Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file format compliant and capable of open BIM.


The project moved from an initial freehand sketch, to a georeferenced BIM and site information model (SIM), to a detailed visualization complete with Structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) systems, and a complete energy analysis. This approach was possible because of the flexibility of open BIM and collaborative workflows. Each industry professional used their preferred tools, meaning they didn’t have to learn their team member’s software, but they could still exchange, coordinate, and validate the design throughout every phase of the project, while retaining control of their part of the model. In other words, they could see and interact with all the data available without having their design information edited without their approval.

Beneficial changes were made to the building because team members collaborated from the onset. For example, they were able to reduce the depth of the floor plates using a post-tensioned slab, allowing the architect to add a new floor or adjust floor-to-floor heights. Also, the engineer and the architect benefited from streamlined communication and the ability to filter out objects and information within the file, which helped everyone work faster and more easily.

Open BIM collaboration saves time, money, and energy for all of the people involved in the design and construction of a new building. Plus, with all the information combined into one master design, the building owner has the tools necessary to make changes in the future. If you’re interested in additional details about this project, read our article in the Journal for the National Institute of Building Sciences. You can also learn how to incorporate BIM into your Vectorworks software workflow on our BIM in Practice webpage.

What is it about being an architect that you really love? Is it the exploration down a path of discovery to solve a difficult design challenge? Is it creating award-winning work, collaborating with accomplished team members, or grinding through a set of construction documents?

We asked three Vectorworks designers what they enjoy most about being architects. Listen in to hear what Brian Cearnal, AIA, LEED AP, and Joe Andrulaitis, AIA, LEED BD+C, from Cearnal Andrulaitis Architecture & Interior Design and Michael Timcheck, AIA, at The M Group Architects & Interior Architects revealed to us.

Share what you love about architecture with @Vectorworks.

We’re thrilled to showcase the talents of another Vectorworks user. In this new video, Karen Lewis discusses how office trends and meaningful materials impact the projects she creates as an interior designer at The M Group Architects & Interior Architects in Reston, Virginia (USA). The 17-person firm is sought after by building owners and corporate and industrial clients for office building architecture and interiors, as well as by government contractors and agencies for mission-critical and secure design. Their work varies from 5,000-square-foot tenant spaces to building complexes totaling one million square feet.

Then, in case you missed it previously, Lewis is joined by her colleague, Michael Timcheck, AIA, in this video, which details the firm’s design approach, some favorite projects, and how Vectorworks Architect software helps them bring their creative visions to life.

Be sure to visit our Success Stories YouTube channel to watch other Vectorworks users share their insights on the future of design, projects they love, and more!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our Vectorworks tech support Twitter handle on this month’s Tech Roundup! You can now tweet to @VectorworksHelp with any tech support questions you may have.

We’re also highlighting two new videos to help designers make the most of their Vectorworks software.

This video explains how to utilize Autosave, a convenient back-up utility, efficiently.


The following video shows how to create a volumetric lighting effect in Vectorworks.


Subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow @VectorworksHelp on Twitter to stay up-to-date on any #VectorworksFacts.

What do people outside the design profession think of when they hear the word “architect”? Perhaps it’s a simple answer, like someone who defines space, someone who draws, designs, and models. But perhaps there’s a deeper question we should be asking, a more philosophical one: What do people think architects really are?

In this video, SPG ArchitectsEric A. Gartner, AIA, LEED AP+, shares how he hopes people view architects as problem solvers. After watching, tweet to @Vectorworks and share how you’re a problem solver.

And, read our user Success Story to learn more about SPG Architects and how its designers are changing lives and communities one project at a time with Vectorworks software.

By Eric Gilbey, RLA, ASLA, Prof. APLD, Landscape Architecture Industry Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks

Having joined the site design industry over 25 years ago, I’ve witnessed several evolutions in the types of issues designers tackle when planning projects. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, designers worked Integrated Pest Management into the specifications for new projects and included it in many site maintenance contracts. Right after 2001, security became their main focus followed by environmental sustainability.

Today, the hot topic among site and community designers is resiliency, which is the practice of designing projects to be resistant to possible variations in an environment. In other words, if your design is properly resistant to adverse conditions, it will remain functional after a potentially devastating change occurs. (Economic and demographic changes also fall under the umbrella of resiliency planning.)

The topic of resiliency has risen to the forefront following recent reports of public spaces that failed due to a calamity event. For example, heavy rainfall in April 2014 caused a Baltimore, Maryland street located along railroad tracks to sink into the ground, damaging cars and displacing residents for weeks. Had the street’s design or an assessment by City officials the year prior addressed subgrade flash flooding, this incident might have been prevented.

Weiss/Manfredi photo

In an ironic example, the now completed first phase of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park in New York City was “storm tested” even as it was being constructed. The site expects to take on rising sea levels due to climate change, and while the architects and landscape architects integrated resiliency into the park’s design, along with the nearby infrastructure and roadways, they likely did not expect the storm event that Hurricane Sandy delivered during construction. Thankfully, the park bore the impact, and the finished space is all the better for it. Projects like this help all design players see the need for resiliency in our growing urban ecology and recognize its success.

A design can be also resilient to more than just the environment. Vectorworks Landmark user Adrian McGregor, director of Australian landscape architecture and urban design firm McGregor Coxall, incorporated cost efficiencies into his design for Ballast Point Park, assisting in the economic resiliency of the project. McGregor reused post-demolition oil tank metal sheets that existed on the site to create a structural frame onto which he incorporated wind turbines. We often view self power-generating features as improving only sustainability or energy efficiency. However, when considering that a community could potentially forgo access to the electrical utility due to economic setbacks, or that a physical breach in connectivity could occur and disrupt the functionality of the park, features like these wind turbines make the park resilient to energy crises.

I encourage readers to learn more about how various design industries are embracing resiliency, including and beyond flash floods and storm surges. There are many ways to incorporate resiliency into project designs, and design technology supports it. Whether integrating GIS data such as flood mapping into your site design or model, or maximizing the analytical opportunities within smart, hybrid objects, smarter design with intuitive and intellectual tools may be the best way to study how disaster-proof your project could be. Start planning your projects to be resilient against future problems with Vectorworks software and our many plug-ins from industry partners.

By Jeff Server, LEED AP BD+C, ASLA, Assoc. AIA, Industry Product Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks

When I was a young graduate student studying architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning at the University of Colorado, I was constantly exploring ways to “merge” the design disciplines and focus on holistic, sustainable approaches and solutions to projects. A professor of mine, Alan Berger, understood what I was trying to achieve and introduced me to a seminal redevelopment project called Emscher Park.

Image by Carschten

Located in the Ruhr Valley in Germany, the project was designed and led by a landscape architecture firm called Latz + Partner. The park is a popular community center that was redeveloped from an obsolete industrial site, creating an asset for a community rather than simply ignoring a contaminated, derelict site. Latz’s Emscher Park inspired me to pursue work that focused on making something more out of existing or abandoned sites in a sustainable way, rather than wasting time, money, and resources by wiping the slate clean.

Keeping Emscher Park in the back of my mind, I spent the next 15 years as a practicing architect and landscape architect before applying those skills to my current position at Nemetschek Vectorworks where I help make improvements to their design software. Earlier this summer, I learned that our office was hosting a meeting of the Maryland chapter of the ASLA where a landscape architect was going to talk about his work and firm. Out of simple curiosity, I decided to stop by, and there was Tilman Latz, owner of Latz + Partner, the firm whose work inspired me to take the direction I did in my career path all those years ago.

Latz offered tremendous personal insight into the Emscher Park project, while also sharing advice on the challenges that could be faced within that type of work. He warned that the level of collaboration needed between public agencies to create redeveloped, sustainable projects like Emscher Park is harder to achieve in the US, but that the rewards would be well worth it. Incorporating pre-existing features of the site into the design not only saved time and money, but it also captured the area’s personality and charm in such a way that visitors still travel to the park from across Europe.

Every designer draws his or her inspiration from somewhere. We want to hear your story. Tweet to @Vectorworks to tell us about what or who inspires you.

BuildingSMART International, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the use of Open BIM standards for AEC industries, is accepting submissions for its inaugural Business Gain Through Open Technology award. Entries, due August 31, must demonstrate how using Open BIM standards improves interoperability and offers major business gains to all participants involved in the building process from the designer to the contractor to the owner.

The winning designer will be recognized at the international buildingSMART meetings in Toronto this October. In addition, the top 10 finalists will have their designs displayed on the organization’s website, and special awards will be given to the best proposal from a small and medium enterprise and to a proposal sharing end-user experiences.

Anyone may submit a project for consideration, including non-buildingSMART members and clients, as long as one or more of the buildingSMART tools and standards are used, which include the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), buildingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD or IFD), Information Delivery Manual (IDM), Model View Definition (MVD), and BIM Collaboration Format (BCF). Entries will be examined by a panel of judges chosen from buildingSMART chapters around the world.

Visit our BIM in Practice page to learn how Vectorworks Architect software supports Open BIM standards and allows designers to work in 2D or 3D to easily move BIM projects along to others involved in the building process.