The days were warm, the nights were cool, and the shows were hot at Rock in Rio: Lisbon. Over our week in Portugal, we worked hard and played hard, taking every opportunity to interview the lighting designers working at the festival.

Behind the scenes in the Vision Studio at Rock in Rio.

Behind the scenes in the Vision Studio at Rock in Rio.

Our time behind the scenes at Rock in Rio: Lisbon offered an inside look at the way Vectorworks Spotlight software users pull a festival together, including how each designer took the available stage and lighting and made it their own. With a few custom pieces of lighting and a little work in the Vision Studio, lighting designers like Stereophonics’ Brent Clark can take a lighting concept that was created to suit many diverse acts and tailor it to the sound and feel of a specific band.

Not only did they customize the existing festival rig, but they also did so quickly and under the pressure of expectant crowds waiting for a show. Even show-stopping headliners installed custom lights and previsualized their shows in a matter of hours. When you have multiple shows on the same stage on subsequent nights, you don’t have an option. To quote Queen (who was there, by the way), “The show must go on,” and so you load in, breakdown, and move on to the next act quickly and efficiently.

Customizing a single stage to highlight that sort of diversity is no easy feat, but the talented lighting designers at Rock in Rio: Lisbon are doing it. Want to listen to some of the biggest tracks from the main stage performers, including Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Avicii, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, and Fergie? Check out our Rock in Rio Spotify playlist!

Scale up your design skills with two new video tutorials in this month’s Tech Roundup.

This first video will teach you the nuances of scaling in Vectorworks software by changing the geometric properties of drawn or imported objects using the Scale Objects command. Whether you’re working 2D or 3D, you can master the art of the symmetric scaling, symmetric scaling by distance, and asymmetric scaling options.

Next, Spotlight software users can learn how to export their designs to ESP Vision software by reducing file size and complexity, using Vision library symbols, making their own symbols Vision compatible, and organizing lighting types to run the Edit Vision Data command.

If you have any questions, reach out to us at or tweet us @VectorworksHelp.

By Liz Bauman, Content Marketing and Strategy Manager at Vectorworks, Inc.

When I started with the marketing team at Vectorworks a year ago, I didn’t expect that I’d be writing a blog post from a lawn chair at a rock festival in Portugal, but here I am at the 30th Rock in Rio at Parque da Bela Vista in Lisbon.

Pictures from my time so far in Lisbon, Portugal

Pictures from my time so far in Lisbon, Portugal

It’s cool in the shade, but — because I know it’s raining back at Vectorworks headquarters in Columbia, Maryland — I’m soaking up the rays and typing away. Rock in Rio The Musical is rehearsing on the main stage, and their gorgeous voices are coming together to hit every note of every song. Right now, they’re performing a cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” for their opening set, in case you were wondering.

So, you may be asking yourself: why is anyone from the Vectorworks marketing team writing blog posts from Rock in Rio? The answer: we partnered with PRG to power the previsualization of the whole show and ensure a seamless festival experience. As the leading supplier of entertainment and event technology solutions, PRG brought all of the lighting technology and related rigging. Vectorworks brought the equipment and software for the Vision Studio.


The Vision Studio at Rock in Rio

While PRG has been working with Rock in Rio for 13 years, this is our first time providing assistance at the festival. Together, PRG and Vectorworks are demonstrating the workflows made possible using Vectorworks’ newly acquired ESP Vision software to previsualize each lighting designer’s concept, empowering them to finesse their designs before the festival crowds arrive on Thursday.

The Vectorworks team joining me here in Lisbon consists of Joseph Simons and Joe Dimaio (our video specialists who are better known as “The Joe Show”), and Stewart Rom (our chief marketing officer), as well as Brandon Eckstorm and Frank Brault (our industry and product experts). Frank and Brandon are joined by Vickie Claiborne (one of PRG’s lighting specialists), who has worked diligently to manage the logistics of the entire Vision Studio.

Lighting designers and operators focusing lights for the big show.

Lighting designers and operators focusing lights for the big show.

As the festival has come together, stages are being built, and lighting designers are cueing. Our video specialists are carefully documenting the hard work that Brandon, Frank, and Vickie are doing behind the scenes to make sure each show is stunning. So, you can look forward to some amazing Rock in Rio videos demonstrating the power of Vision software in action.

Tomorrow, the show kicks off with Bruce Springsteen and continues for 10 days featuring Queen + Adam Lambert, Maroon 5, KoЯn, Ariana Grande, Hollywood Vampires, and Avicii.

The Rock in Rio main stage is ready for 10 days of incredible music.

The Rock in Rio main stage is ready for 10 days of incredible music.

For now, it’s time to go interview Woodroffe Bassett Design’s Terry Cook, the lead lighting designer for the entire festival. Stay tuned — we’ll have lots more to share as the week progresses!

Since announcing that this year’s annual Build Earth Live competition would focus on designing a high-speed Hyperloop station connecting Dubai and Fujairah, the concept has gone from experimental to tangible. In the past, this 48-hour competition called for designers around the world to come together as teams and create innovative structures using BIM workflows and cloud technology, but these designs were never more than models. This year, Build Earth Live organizers Asite, supported by headline sponsor Vectorworks, have partnered with Dubai Future FoundationDubai’s Road and Transport Authority, and Hyperloop One, a company developing the world’s first Hyperloop, to potentially bring the winning design to life.

HYPERLOOP IMAGE“Hyperloop One is excited to sponsor the Build Earth Live Collaborative, which will bring together some of the best and brightest architectural and engineering minds in the world to design a Hyperloop station for the United Arab Emirates,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One. “As the leader in developing the next mode of transportation, Hyperloop One is committed to making Hyperloop a commercial reality for freight and passenger transportation in the near future, and the BIM Competition is a great first start.”

The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had already planned to build the Hyperloop infrastructure between the two cities in the near future, but when they heard about this year’s competition, they reached out to Asite to join forces in search of a potential designer for the project. Because of this change in scope, the competition dates have been moved later in the year to Monday, September 26, 2016 at noon GST until Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at noon GST.

The UAE will host representatives from the finalist teams in Dubai for judging and the awards ceremony alongside Asite, Hyperloop One, and Vectorworks. The winning team’s design will be assessed by officials from the UAE, and if approved, they will have the opportunity to work with the government to deliver the future project.

“This year will be the most exciting Build Earth Live competition with the possibility for participating teams to win work, and we couldn’t be happier to be the headline sponsor,” said Jeremy Powell, product marketing director at Vectorworks. “We wish all of the competing teams the best and can’t wait to see the creative solutions they design for this challenge involving Hyperloop technology.”

To register your team, visit the Build Earth Live website. You can also read more about the competition here.

In its inaugural year, the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) International Prize for Architecture recognizes the most significant building of the year that demonstrates visionary, innovative thinking and excellence of execution, while making a distinct contribution to its users and to its physical context. Unlike any previous RIBA award for architecture, the RIBA International Prize is open to any qualified architect in the world.

With hundreds of entries from 50 countries, RIBA recently announced the shortlisted buildings for the prize. We’re ecstatic to see some Vectorworks users gracing the top 30 projects, which range from large urban infrastructure schemes, private residential projects, and cultural destinations to civic spaces, academic buildings, and places of worship. Best of luck to our superstar users: Studio Andreas Heller Architects & Designers, dRMM Architects, Agence d’architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP), Peter Stutchbury Architecture, and Neutelings Riedijk Architects. Check out their work below.

European Hansemuseum in Lübeck, Germany by Studio Andreas Heller Architects & Designers

dRMM Architects

Rundeskogen in Stavanger, Norway by dRMM Architects/Helen and Hard Architects


The Ring of Remembrance, International WWI Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Albain-Saint-Nazaire, France by Agence d’Architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP)

Peter Stutchbury

Invisible House in Hampton, Australia by Peter Stutchbury Architecture

Culture House Rozet in Arnhem, Netherlands by Neutelings Riedijk Architects

The RIBA awards committee will visit the shortlisted projects this summer to narrow the list down to the top 20, which the Grand Jury will tour and subsequently choose six finalists this autumn. The winner of the first RIBA International Prize will be announced in December 2016.

The Grand Jury is chaired by Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Fellow jurors include Billie Tsien, founding partner of New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, Kunlé Adeyemi, founder and principal of NLÉ, Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA, the dean of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Fine Arts, and Philip Gumuchdjian, founder of Gumuchdjian Architects and Chair of RIBA Awards.

You can learn more about RIBA’s International Prize here.

Vectorworks celebrated its 30th anniversary with the release of MODUS news 5, showcasing designs that capture unique interior-exterior relationships between structures and their surroundings. From a living roof in the center of a bustling city to an open-air art museum that follows the natural topography of a rolling landscape, this issue highlights how visionary designers use Vectorworks software to change the way we understand the interactions between design and the natural world.


The latest edition of MODUS news includes award-winning work from the world-renowned design firms below.

  • Belgium: Studieburo Mouton and Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Canada: PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.
  • France: Epicuria Architectes
  • Germany: Klein & Sänger Architekten
  • Italy: Studio Manfroni & Associati Srl
  • Japan: Office of Ryue Nishizawa
  • Netherlands: KCAP Architects & Planners and De Bever Architecten
  • Portugal: Gonçalo Neves Silva Arquitectos Associados, Lda.
  • Switzerland: Sollberger Bögli Architekten and :mzld
  • United Kingdom: Hoskins Architects
  • United States: Antoine Predock Architect PC

You can get your own complimentary copy of MODUS news 5, complete with project descriptions, designer insights, and, of course, beautiful images, by emailing Still need more inspiration? Check out the online editions of MODUS news 1, MODUS news 2, MODUS news 3, and MODUS news 4, or head over to our Inspiration page.

The acts of directing people through a museum, expediting fans’ exit from a football stadium, and simulating the evacuation of entire cities for natural disasters all share one common thread: they benefit from SimTread pedestrian simulation software. Developed by the Japanese Vectorworks distributor A&A Co., Ltd in partnership with Waseda University and Takenaka Corporation, this Vectorworks software plug-in tackles an array of crowd control needs such as analyzing pedestrian traffic flow, evaluating evacuation times, and verifying a design’s circulation patterns. With version 2.4 released today, anyone responsible for disaster preparedness, public safety, facilities management, or event, municipal, or campus planning will be better poised to handle circulation studies and flow analysis.

A SimTread software simulation of a city’s evacuation time

A SimTread software simulation of a city’s evacuation time

“There is great power in SimTread’s capabilities, as it can save lives, so it’s of the utmost importance that the program continues to be improved,” said Dr. Takeshi Kimura, manager of research and development at A&A. “The latest version keeps with this mentality and includes several beneficial visualization features that can help those responsible for disaster preparedness, public safety, facilities management, and event planning, all with the point of safety at the forefront.”

Three key enhancements made in the latest SimTread release are:

  • The “Create Measurement Result” command offers a new way to display reports to clients using a color-coded map on top of a floor plan, which helps to identify potential egress bottlenecks. Specifically, it displays occupant density within a specified measurement area of a Vectorworks document. Previously, SimTread only offered a movie file as the visual representation of the simulation result, and, although it intuitively showed the nature of the crowd, this new command provides a more qualitative, visual report.

SimTread 2.4’s Create Measurement Result command is shown on the right in comparison to the previous version on the left.

  • The visual reporting feature, “Plot Travel Time” command, will plot the time it will take for each individual occupant to evacuate from a building model within a Vectorworks document. After the simulation, SimTread displays a circle over each occupant’s starting position, color-coded to indicate how long it took each individual to evacuate. The demand for such reports arose from the need to plan for city-wide evacuations.

SimTread 2.4’s Plot Travel Time command is shown on the right in comparison to the previous version on the left.

  • Vectorworks objects that appear as holes in plan view, such as columns, will be recognized in the updated simulation software.

“Among SimTread 2.4’s many updates, the improved graphical presentation of the program’s results will help articulate the benefits of large-scale evacuation planning,” said Jeremy Powell, product marketing director at Vectorworks. “These new visualizations came from our research and consultancy work, so we hope it will benefit other users, as well.”

To learn more about SimTread software’s capabilities, visit our partner page. Or, if you’re attending #AIACon16 in Philadelphia on May 19-21 come by our booth #2345.

If you weren’t among the more than 600 attendees who joined us in Chicago for the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit, you might feel a little left out.


So here are some highlights from what you missed over three days of inspiration, innovation, networking and fun that also included a sneak peek into future Vectorworks software features.

And if press members were this eager to break the news, imagine how Summit attendees felt! See for yourself how some designers shared their excitement on social media.

If you’re having some regrets about missing this year’s event, don’t worry. There are always future events! You can sign up now to receive updates on future Summits.

While some architecture firms in the U.K. are still striving to adapt to the required BIM Level 2 delivery for public sector designs, the firm bpr architects is on the cutting edge of BIM implementation. Director Paul Beaty-Pownall has adopted a BIM-inspired collaborative strategy into all elements of the firm, and in 2014, he transitioned the company’s business structure to be employee-owned, helping build relationships among employees that increase the effectiveness of BIM.

With a “we’re all in this together” attitude, and the help of Vectorworks software, bpr was able to not only adopt BIM but also improve their practices and engage more deeply with clients and each other. In addition, bpr took their office’s presentations one step further by using Renderworks software’s advanced graphics capabilities to create photorealistic images and animations to express their designs.

bpr imageRead the full story over on Architizer. Then, be sure to request your own copy of the Strategic Planning Guide for Adopting BIM at the bottom of the article. This document covers everything from setting attainable goals to creating a BIM implementation plan for future projects.

By Frank Brault, Product Marketing Manager – Entertainment

frankly_speakingMarchI’m invested in the future of design technology as part of my job at Vectorworks, but my investment in future designers may be even more important to me, which is why I also teach Special Topics in Theatre: Vectorworks at Towson University in Maryland. Part of being an educator, at least for me, is to be constantly looking for better ways to train and inspire the next generation of creative professionals. That’s why I’m a supporter of Flipped Learning, a movement in education that I think can have a big impact on the design industry.

“Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.”–The Flipped Learning Network

Wait. Let’s backtrack a bit. I came across the Flipped Learning concept in a roundabout way. You see, I was trying to find a way to save myself time. Whenever students missed class, they would end up asking me to go over what I had already covered in the previous lecture. While I’m always happy to help out my students, having to repeat the same content takes away from time that I could spend teaching new, more advanced concepts. So, I really needed to find a way to spend my office hours helping students grow instead of just helping them to catch up.

I eventually started recording the lessons that people missed and posting them online, making it easier for students who couldn’t be there in person to understand the key points of my lectures. And after reading more about the benefits of providing lectures online to solve my own problems, I discovered that having students watch lectures at home is part of the Flipped Learning concept. This idea really comes down to doing activities typically associated with classwork at home and working on things you’d normally do as homework in class. Simple enough, right?

Here is an example of an online lecture from my own class.

I’ve found that flipping the teaching process like this has a lot of benefits. For example, if all of my lectures are online, then students can learn at their own pace and in the environment in which they’re most comfortable. And by doing homework in the classroom, students can put the things they’ve learned into practice in an interactive group setting, receiving feedback from their peers and me in real time. This form of education is also great because when one student asks a question, everyone can benefit, so every individual problem propels the class forward.

This style of teaching is also perfect for design students because it encourages them to take bigger risks with their projects, rather than just going with the safest bet because they want to get a good grade on their homework (and wrap up their work and go hang out with their friends). They can also dive deeper into the concepts we’re practicing because I’m there to answer any questions they have as they’re executing on their ideas. As an educator, I think it’s incredibly valuable to be there for the moment when a student doesn’t know what to do next.

Students working with design software can also benefit from physically flipping a classroom. Instead of lecturing from the front of the room, instructors guide students from the back of the classroom or arrange the desks to face the sides of the room. In a technical design class, everyone is on their computer. If I’m in the front lecturing, I can’t even see what people are working on, if they’re having problems, or if they’re even paying attention. By flipping my location, people don’t have the chance to get lost. This classroom layout is crucial for beginning designers who are just learning the concepts of design software. They get to practice a hands-on workflow with their instructor in an engaging way, all while executing on a concept they’ve already learned because they watched the lecture on their own before class.

Here are some images I created to show the benefits of teaching from different positions in a classroom.

Here are some images I created to show the benefits of teaching from different positions in a classroom.

“So what’s the hold up?” you ask. Well, the simple answer is that running a “flipped” class in this way takes time. Instead of lecturing during class, educators have to record every lecture up front on their own time. And, instead of just following a regimented lesson plan every class, the teacher will have to adapt what they’re doing to fit what the students need during each session. For professors who have been comfortably lecturing at students for most of their career, the idea of changing it up like this may seem like more work than it’s worth.

And the pressure isn’t just on the professor, either. Students have to be willing to commit to watching each of the lectures in a timely manner. This could be tricky for those who procrastinate on their homework and try to do everything at the last minute. However, it’s less challenging than being asked to write a paper every week. You’re just turning on a computer and watching something. So who knows, maybe this will help procrastinators since all of the challenging parts of your coursework will be done in class.

If you can get past the initial uncertainty, Flipped Learning is a great idea for students and professors. I’m already working to implement the concepts of a flipped classroom in my own teaching. And if you think that you could benefit from learning in this way, tell your professors to look up the Flipped Learning ideology, and feel free to share this article with them!

P.S. — Do you have your own ideas about the future of education and design? Want a professor’s perspective on school, careers, or the design industry? Then reach out to me. I’m always open to input about new topics for this column, and I want to write about what you want to read about!

This article first appeared in our bimonthly academic newsletter, For the Love of Design