Is that a modern-day bus station in a Van Gogh painting? Students at Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences’ Landscape Information Center utilized the CameraMatch plug-in for Vectorworks software packages, and their imaginations, to insert a typical bus stop into an environment of their choice.

CameraMatch 7As part of a CAD internship under the guidance of Lecturer Mathias Rauh, these students from one of Germany’s premier green engineering universities unleashed their creativity, using the assignment as a chance to merge their knowledge of design software with playful and iconic scenery.

CameraMatch 4CameraMatch 8CameraMatch 6CameraMatch 3CameraMatch 5CameraMatch 2CameraMatch 1The CameraMatch plug-in allows designers to incorporate real photographs into their models created in Vectorworks software programs. To learn more about CameraMatch, visit our Partner Products page.

Coming this fall to a location near you (virtually, that is): Build New York Live! Organized by cloud technology company Asite, this 48-hour BIM design competition begins at noon ET on Monday September 21, 2015, and is the latest event in the Build Earth Live series, following other successful competitions in New Castle, London, Qatar, and Sydney.

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Commenting on our company’s commitment to openBIM as the event’s headline sponsor, Nemetschek Vectorworks’ Director of Product Marketing Jeremy Powell said, “Build Earth Live validates openBIM’s efficacy as a way for geographically disparate firms to coordinate BIM projects using an array of technologies through collaboration with an open standard format like IFC. We’re honored to be a part of such a highly anticipated event, and we look forward to the results from all of the teams participating.”


Build London Live 2012 “Best Use of BIM for Design, Drama, and Excitement” designed by BIM Unlimited.

Show off the power of working collaboratively in the cloud and gather some design colleagues from around the globe to form your own team. Participants can form their own teams or connect with potential team members when registering to participate.

Your team could walk away with a prestigious Build Live award and bragging rights for exhibiting the “Best Use of Design for BIM.” Register today.

Build Qatar Live 2012 "Best Use of BIM for Technical Assessment" by BIM Unlimited.

Build Qatar Live 2012 “Best Use of BIM for Technical Assessment” by BIM Unlimited.

The dance floor is packed from wall to wall, the three-tiered, kinetic chandelier is tilting wildly, and A-List DJ Calvin Harris is blasting music; this is OMNIA’s opening night. The 75,000-square-foot OMNIA Nightclub, the newest attraction inside the Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, is one of the hottest venues on the strip, drawing in celebrities from Miley Cyrus to Justin Bieber. And while club-goers are dazzled by the elaborate theatrics and decadent décor, the real star of this show is the intricate, technical design process that brought this dream-like space into reality.

© Al Powers, PowersImagery.comOne of the people responsible for OMNIA’s stunning visuals is Jim Rood from DMDS7UDIOS, a production design company that specializes in creative programming solutions for media servers, lighting, and complex entertainment venues like OMNIA, as well as concerts and stadium events. Rood and the team at DMDS7UDIOS created a 3D visualization of the club using Vectorworks Spotlight software and then optimized the design for programming within grandMA lighting consoles. And while Rood was used to working with large entertainment spaces, this innovative club still proved to be a distinct challenge.

r3 WM“None of the people involved in the project really knew how deeply we were going to go creatively with this space until we got there,” Rood says. “But as we were setting things up, we came up with new, imaginative solutions, which was a lot of fun.” This process required many steps, starting with taking the original schematics produced by AudioTek and The Rockwell Group and importing them into Spotlight via DWG files. “We weren’t asked to design the venue itself; another company did that,” Rood says. “We were asked to bring the room to life and integrate all the entertainment technology systems.”

OMNIA 3D RenderRood began by extracting vital data from the DWG and then creating geometry in Spotlight to flesh out the designs, as well as adding custom fixtures, which allowed him to experiment with the model and find the best way to seamlessly integrate OMNIA’s lighting, automation, and visual systems. The client, The Hakkasan Group, approved the resulting 3D model, from which the automation data was exported to the club’s multiple grandMA consoles and Ai media servers

OMNIA Light Plot“The work for OMNIA’s environment was done in Spotlight, and I imported it into MA 3D to program the movement of the chandelier, the centerpiece of the club,” Rood says. “That way, the clients could choose the positions they liked the best, and we were able to collaborate directly with Willie Williams and Tait Towers, who designed the overall lighting and chandelier itself, and streamline the cues for its different effects.”

r11 WMCollaborating among Spotlight and other software programs not only allowed Rood to bring the chandelier to life, it also facilitated the fusion of automation controls for all of the club’s connected AV and lighting systems into one master file.

5.1.15.OMNIA-Nightclub_Photo-Credit-Aaron-Garcia“Using Vectorworks Spotlight to create data sheets with fixture positions, nodes, and IP addresses, which can translate into a wiring diagram, is incredibly valuable,” Rood says. “I use the Extract Face tool time and time again to combine the faces of 3D polygons and optimize the geometry for our process. I also frequently use the Attribute Mapping tool to quickly map textures to objects, and I use duplicate array all day long. With any project I get, my mind focuses on the tools I have available in Spotlight. It’s my software of choice, and I’ve been using it for years.”

© Al Powers, PowersImagery.comRood used his abilities with Spotlight and his experience with this new Vegas nightclub to help integrate and program OMNIA San Diego, too, but exciting nightlife attractions aren’t all he’s up to. Check out their website to learn more about what the creative minds at DMDS7UDIOS are working on now.

For the sixth year in a row, we were honored to participate in the annual Renewal & Remembrance beautification project at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), the July 20 event drew more than 400 volunteers from across the United States to improve over a quarter of the cemetery’s historic grounds as part of the green industry’s largest day of public service.


Participants spent time mulching, upgrading sprinklers, cabling and installing lightning protection for the trees, pruning, planting, and liming and aerating the soil at the Arlington National Cemetery. This volunteer work provided an avenue for them to pay their respects to both those who’ve made personal sacrifices for our nation, as well as to those who mourn lost veterans and service members.


“We feel fortunate to be located so close to this historic landmark and have the ability to make an impact on its preservation,” said Eric Gilbey, PLA, landscape industry specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “Every year, our participation is a humbling act of pulling up our sleeves to honor those who’ve fallen while defending our country.”

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Some of the employees from Nemetschek Vectorworks at Monday’s event

While some participants, like Gilbey, have long been passionate about the landscape industry, Renewal & Remembrance has allowed for others to cultivate their own green thumbs. Each year, more employees from Nemetschek Vectorworks volunteer, allowing them to give back to their community while simultaneously engaging with the landscape industry.

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Reflecting on his six years of participation, Gilbey says, “It’s been great to watch more and more of my coworkers participate each year and grow to enjoy creating and nurturing green spaces. As a company supportive of green design, it’s so meaningful for us to be able to leave our mark on such sacred grounds.”

For the first time since its inception a decade ago, the prestigious “Best Architects” competition was opened to design firms from across Europe, rather than solely Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. This wider field yielded 354 submissions, of which 80 received the “Best Architects 16” accolade. Nine of those entries earned the coveted “Best Architects 16 in Gold” award for outstanding quality, including five buildings designed with Vectorworks Architect software.

Graber Pulver Architekten received two Gold awards for both the Energiezentrale Forsthaus in Bern, as well as the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève.

Energiezentrale Forsthaus Photo by Georg Aerni

Energiezentrale Forsthaus
Photo by Georg Aerni

Musée d’ethnographie de Genève Photo by Leo Fabrizio

Musée d’ethnographie de Genève
Photo by Leo Fabrizio

A Gold award also went to Roman Hutter Architektur for the Heidenhaus in Münster, which has already received the Prix Lignum award and the swiss-architects’ “Building of the Week” honor.

Heidenhaus Photo by Markus Käch

Photo by Markus Käch

Giuliani Hönger Architekten took home the Gold with the project Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst in Küsnacht, Switzerland.

Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst  Photo by David Willén

Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst
Photo by David Willén

Finally, the office of Andreas Fuhrimann/Gabrielle Hächler/Carlo Fumarola/Gilbert Isermann snagged a top honor with their project, Zielturm Rotsee.

Zielturm Rotsee Photo by Valentin Jeck

Zielturm Rotsee
Photo by Valentin Jeck

The jury, comprising of Professor Pia Durisch of Durisch + Nolli Architetti (Massagno, Switzerland), Professor Muck Petzet of Muck Petzet Architekten (Munich, Germany), and Christian Waldner of AllesWirdGut Architektur (Vienna, Austria), noted that this year’s competition was the toughest yet. We’re proud to say that over 40% all firms recognized this year are Vectorworks Architect users.

Check out the “Best Architects” gallery to see the full list of winners.

Carbon-based energy sources are becoming less relevant every day, and while solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power are all viable solutions for the world’s energy needs, the effectiveness of these methods varies by location. That’s where nuclear power comes into play. With the help of Vectorworks Designer software, a small design studio in Vermont, USA, digitalmechanics, used 3D CAD technology to understand the challenging internal geometry of a 1968 theoretical nuclear reactor that runs on thorium, the Earth’s most abundant, energy-rich natural resource. And while the concept behind this type of reactor was abandoned as impractical decades ago, taking a more in-depth look at the technology from a modern viewpoint could yield exciting insights into the future of nuclear energy.

1968.01.01 ORNL - 4528 UC 80 Reactor Blanket Salt In

Watch the following videos showcasing the design workflow for the project to learn more.

To learn more about the thorium reactor and its impact on the history of nuclear energy, read the full article from the Energy from Thorium website.

1968.01.01 ORNL - 4528 UC 80 Reactor Over All

They say the devil is in the details, but the details that give your work a competitive edge don’t have to hinder your workflow. That’s why this month’s tech roundup is all about making your designs the best they can be — whether that means adding an extra touch of style to a model or pulling valuable data out of work that you’ve already produced.

In the first video, we’ll explain how to model realistic curtains and drapes. While these detailed pieces of décor may seem overly complex, they’re actually very simple to make if you know what tools to use. Although, you don’t have to mention their simplicity to your impressed clients!

The next video is a little bit more complex, but it can provide a lot of value to your designs. In less than four minutes, we’ll show you how to pull out the contours of your site model for export to another application. Not only will this wow your clients, but it will also streamline your workflow with your projects’ contractors and anyone else involved in the construction process.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at or tweet at us @VectorworksHelp.

Max Conwell designs lighting for some of the most recognized names in music. But perhaps even more impressive than his list of clients, which includes Morrissey, No Doubt, and Incubus, is Conwell’s dedication to entertainment design technology. “When I started freelancing as a lighting technician, it was the infancy of moving lights and scrolling color changers,” says Conwell, founder of Naked Eye Lighting, a design consultancy in the United Kingdom. Those technologies have since matured, and his current work now incorporates exciting emergent techniques like 3D pixel and video mapping. With an established place at the forefront of the entertainment industry, Conwell’s style continues to evolve as he diversifies his portfolio with work in architectural and television lighting, as well.

mor202142121 copyConwell’s success is based on his consideration of both the artist and the audience. This process is highlighted in his recent work with Morrissey. Collaborating with the British star frequently over the last 10 years, Conwell designed an effective workflow where the pair bounce ideas back and forth to ensure that each song in a show is perfectly emphasized by the lights and corresponding video elements. He doesn’t stop with the artist, though. Even the audience is incorporated into the show’s lighting design. “The Morrissey crowd is passionate about him, so I use a fair amount of audience lighting, including spacelights as blinders and overlaying the moving lights and Phillips Nitro strobes, to connect them to the show,” Conwell says.

Conwell Plot copyThe tools in Vectorworks Spotlight software play an important role in Conwell’s workflow, as well, especially since his designs often have to be adapted for different stages in venues all around the world. “Since different countries often require a different set of lighting fixtures, I use Fixture Replace a lot in Spotlight to quickly swap one lamp for another and update patch information, so the local supplier and the touring operator have the same, correct information for each show,” Conwell says. He also takes advantage of the software’s interoperability with other programs like Lightwright and the connectCAD plug-in. “One of the great things about Spotlight is that it talks to everything. I can import and export to pretty much any format, and any changes that I make to my design get automatically updated to the various third-party programs that I use.”

Max-Conwell-L1000403[1] copyTo learn more about Conwell’s work, check out his in-depth case study, which explores how he got his start in the industry and how he’s grown as a designer alongside evolving lighting technology.

By David Seccombe, Director at Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects Ltd

At Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects in the United Kingdom, we are responsible for realizing our clients’ dreams within certain budgetary, structural, and planning limitations. And as a business consistently growing 20 percent a year, we also need to work efficiently. This can be challenging as our clients, who are mainly inthe residential sector, are not always spatially aware or able to make design decisions, requiring the re-issue of complex architectural drawings.

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For 12 years, we have sought to improve the quality of our drawings and our efficiency using Vectorworks software products, which has helped our business grow. We have learned to be patient and respect the tool, knowing that time spent preparing is time well spent. We began designing in 2D for several years, and our adventures in 3D were instigated by one of our recently graduated employees, who quickly realized you could build a 3D model and use it to create perfect sections, plans, and elevations if you took the time to get it right up-front. Our progress in 3D has largely been through self-taught modeling, detailing, hatching, and exploiting the many tools the software has to offer. We have created our own template and style—something any business can achieve.

In order to fully utilize the software, however, I knew we needed some outside support, so in 2012, I called Design Software Solutions, a Vectorworks reseller in the UK, for a consultation. In the space of a day, we saw everything we needed to see, tailored to our business needs and what we could afford. We have enjoyed both their encouragement and support, as well as help from the team at Computers Unlimited, the Vectorworks software distributor in the UK, through our Vectorworks Service Select contract. Together, they helped us continue to develop our unique style over the next several years.

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As our business grew and we took on more staff, I wanted to invest in becoming more efficient. To that end, we met with Tamsin Slatter from Design Software Solutions in 2014, who helped us upgrade our licenses from Vectorworks Fundamentals to Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks.

The speed, advanced tools, and functionality of Architect solved many business struggles for us. For example, the time taken to calculate complex volumetric roof shapes for permitted development has decreased significantly, and the lightning-fast PDF creation pays for the upgrade itself! And the small but significant benefits, like advanced window and door features, make the program a dream to work with.

While I am still a novice with Renderworks, its ability to make our models look fantastic and create realistic shadows has helped us to win planning bids, as well as sell our design ideas to clients. The purchase of Renderworks has been a revelation. We have stopped using other rendering software programs entirely.

We continue to reap the benefits of increased efficiency and create work that our clients can both understand and appreciate. We value the Architect with Renderworks program and have learned that our investment has, and will continue to, help our business grow.

Just like a young adult may struggle to find his or her place in the world, an architectural firm’s early years can be filled with anxiety and challenges. To succeed requires an impressive level of determination and skill, and it’s precisely this success that The Foundation Award honors.

Now in its sixth year, The Foundation Award recognizes young Swiss firms for their design portfolio and creative philosophy, and supports them as they work to achieve their architectural aspirations. The program was created by ComputerWorks AG, the Vectorworks distributor in Switzerland, and is also sponsored by HP Switzerland, web-based culture channel, the online platform swiss-architects, architectural magazine Hochparterre, the Swiss Architecture Museum, and Nemetschek Vectorworks.

The Foundation Award celebration at the Swiss Architecture Museum.

The Foundation Award celebration at the Swiss Architecture Museum.

This year’s winners recently gathered at the Swiss Architecture Museum to toast their future success. Placing third was Liliane Haltmeier and Luise Kister of Haltmeier Kister architecture, a two-person firm that typically produces residential designs in Zürich. The duo believes that a healthy work-life balance allows for architecture to operate every day with “passion, perseverance, and curiosity.”


Wohnüberbauung Schneebeliweg designed by Haltmeier Kister architecture

Runner-up Gerber Odermatt architects (GOA) is also a two-person office. Severin Odermatt and Roger Gerber stress the importance of inspiration as “a gift from the subconscious,” and emphasize the value in a holistic design process.

Second place

Fort House Chopfholz designed by GOA

This year’s first-place winner Alder Clavuot Nunzi architects, received free Vectorworks Architect software with a Vectorworks Service Select membership. Comprised of Matthias Alder, Silvana Clavuot, and Alessandro Nunzi, the office strives to incorporate the rich architectural traditions of the Bergell Mountain region into their work. With each design, they hope to ensure the future of their surrounding environment, from the construction of simple houses to the creation of abstract cable car stations.

First place

Funivia Albigna designed by Alder Clavuot Nunzi architects

Every architectural office was new at some point, and we’re happy to recognize these young, innovative firms for their hard work and resilience. Share this story now if you agree.