If the thought of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is keeping you up at night, you don’t have to worry. You’ve already taken the first step toward implementing a BIM workflow by using design software. The second step is attending BIM Camp, a seminar we’re offering in cities across the United States over the next few months.

bim_eventbrite_header_982x350DesiAIA LUgned to help those who are ready to take their designs to the next level but may be unsure of how to use BIM technology to its fullest potential, BIM Camps are intensive, four-hour programs that walk designers from simple sketch to a finished BIM model, all while they earn 3 AIA LUs and 1 HSW credit.  Each BIM Camp is broken down into three sections that focus on aspects of a BIM workflow, which include:

Sketch to BIM: A Design Workflow Philosophy (1 AIA LU)

Based on a standing-room-only presentation at the 2015 AIA National Convention, Sketch to BIM examines how digital technologies impact design decisions and overcome the perceived separation between BIM and creativity.

Building Information Modeling as a Design Process: Part 1 (1 AIA HSW)

Explore the varied roles that architects assume and the ways design technologies affect how they engage with building owners and other professionals throughout the journey from inspiration to execution.

Building Information Modeling as a Design Process: Part 2 (2 AIA LUs)

The successful implementation of a BIM workflow is a matter of understanding some basic rules and principles behind the extraction of information. This session outlines the various tools available for BIM and leads you through an example workflow for the design, analysis, and documentation of your model.

Check out the cities BIM Camp will be traveling to in the next three months:

  • October 6 at Boston Society of Architects in Boston, MA
  • October 8 at AIA NY’s Center for Architecture in New York, NY
  • October 28 at AIA Chicago in Chicago, IL
  • November 10 at AIA New Orleans in New Orleans, LA
  • December 8 at AIA Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA
  • December 10 at AIA San Francisco in San Francisco, CA

Admission is only $25, with all proceeds going to the Vectorworks Design Scholarship, an international design competition that supports the next generation of creative visionaries. Save your seat today and start reimagining your workflows with BIM.

There are a lot of exciting new features in Vectorworks 2016, and we know you want to start incorporating them into your design workflow right away. That’s why we asked three designers who’ve been using these features to share some insight on what they’ve found to be best practices when it come to the latest release of Vectorworks software.

Project Sharing

“When starting a project file, it is important for team members to understand what level of permission they will have and what they will or will not be able to do. One member of the team should be assigned as the administrator of the project file, which will give this person control of the workflow. Carefully assign other team members with the proper level of permission, aligning his/her role on the project.”

-Luc Lefebvre, RA, OAQ, LEED AP, Project Manager and BIM Manager at King + King Architects

Learn more about how to use Project Sharing with these step-by-step how-to videos.



“The best way to get the most out of Energos is to start using it early in design. Start with basic propositions like orientation and wall assembly R-value, then test them. As the design matures, get incrementally more detailed in your energy assumptions as your confidence in the validity of the model grows. Mostly, have fun with it!”

-François Lévy, AIA, Author and Partner, Lévy Kohlhass Architecture



“Keep it simple at first. Learn to break up scripts into pieces so that you just deal with one operation at a time. Then, create an array and connect them. If you try to create a big array from the start, you can get lost very quickly, and it’s hard to troubleshoot if it’s too big and you’re unsure of where the mistake could be.”

-Stanley Rostas, AIA, LEED, BD&C, IIA, CNU, Principal at Shook Kelley


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at tech@vectorworks.net or tweet at us @VectorworksHelp. And check out the Vectorworks 2016 page for more information about the over 100 new features now available to help you transform the world.

Pack your bags! You’re invited to join us for a revitalizing three days of workflow-enhancing fun at our annual global conference! In its second year, the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit is taking Illinois’ Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park hotel by storm from April 25 to April 27. With keynote presentations by Vectorworks executives and industry leaders, a sneak peek into the future of our software, and networking opportunities with product engineers, power users, and third-party partners, attendees will leave feeling inspired to solve their next design challenge.


“The conference brings together a community of creative minds who rely on Vectorworks design software to conceptualize and transform their ideas into real experiences that can be shared with the world,” says Vectorworks’ Chief Marketing Officer Stewart Rom. “At our 2015 Design Summit, it was exciting to see so many people who share a passion for creative design, exchanging ideas, exploring concepts that give them a competitive edge and truly having a great time together. I know that our 2016 Design Summit will surpass expectations and deliver a meaningful three days.”

The standard registration fee for the event is $499, but with our “Get the Worm” special, fees are reduced to $199 for early registrants through October 31. Design students and instructors who register before October 31 may also take advantage of early registration discounts, paying $49 rather than the standard $99 rate. Register online to lock in these savings, as well as to book a discounted stay at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, situated minutes from many of Chicago’s historic attractions.

Call for Presentations is Now Open 

Your experiences give you a distinct story to tell, so we’re inviting you to share it at the Design Summit. As a speaker at our flagship event, you’ll offer your insights and empower a worldwide community of Vectorworks designers. Topics addressing emerging trends, innovative design solutions, award-winning projects, workflow strategies, and efficiency gains with Vectorworks software are highly valued. If you’re interested in inspiring others with your design insight, be sure to submit a proposal before the October 31 deadline. Selected speakers will be notified by November 30, and will receive complimentary travel, event registration, and hotel accommodations.


2015 Design Summit closing speaker Adrian McGregor, FAILA, RLA, MAIH, MPIA, managing director of McGregor Coxall

Exhibit Your Product

If you’re looking to showcase your company’s products and services to hundreds of professionals in the AEC, landscape, and entertainment design industries, then take advantage of a valuable, free opportunity to get face-time with our users. Space in the expo hall is limited, so interested companies should apply now. Selection is based on company relevance to attendees, any existing partnership with Vectorworks, and application date. Companies wishing to sponsor the event should reach out to designsummit@vectorworks.net.


2015 Design Summit exhibitor Synchro Software and an attendee engaged in conversation.

Follow #VectorworksDesignSummit or bookmark www.vectorworks.net/design-summit to stay in the loop about impending speakers, sessions, and other conference news!


By François Lévy, AIA, Author and Partner, Lévy Kohlhass Architecture

One of the cornerstones of my architectural design philosophy is taking cues from the climate. Whenever I start a new project, I explore the surrounding environment to determine a building’s best possible orientation, aspect ratio, and how to maximize shade. Many of the decisions I make are based on the quantitative validation of my own qualitative experience and training. With the Energos module in Vectorworks 2016 software, I have a new, powerful, active tool that gives me feedback on my design’s energy efficiency in real-time as I evolve the project model.

Energos 2The passive and active energy strategies appropriate to an architectural design are expressions of the climate it inhabits. The most direct way to determine the effectiveness of a given strategy or which design approach to use is to pull data from your model. Information-rich 3D models inherently contain data that can inform your design decisions. Vectorworks software, in particular, is useful for this thanks to its advanced suite of standard and customizable tools: worksheets, dynamic site modeling, and Heliodon sun/shade studies, to name a few. Custom worksheets are especially helpful for things like rainwater harvesting and passive ventilation calculations because they take the information for the formulas straight from your design. In previous versions of the software, I would take this data that I collected and use my own experience and intuition to take a first pass at climate-sensitive design. Energos adds a whole new layer to this design process. Instead of estimating the energy efficiency of my designs, Energos provides quantitative feedback about my model in the form of a color-coded gradient, from most energy-efficient (green) to least (red).

The real benefit of Energos is that it is responsive. With every update or change to your model, you know quantitatively whether or not that shift in orientation or additional shading improved your project’s energy performance. The building envelope calculations in Energos are great, too, and were very helpful on the project that I’ve completed with Energos so far: Hope House. This non-profit started decades ago as a home for children born with serious mental and physical disabilities. Fast forward to today, when medical advances enable residents to lead longer lives, and there’s a need for adult housing. The team at Hope House commissioned a residential duplex for their adult residents, and after meeting with the employees and the residents and learning about the organization’s mission, I was absolutely on board to design this project.

Energos 1One thing I’ve learned over the years about nonprofits is that it’s much easier for them to fundraise for capital improvements like a new facility, but it’s harder to sustain that flow of money to pay for day-to-day operations, like maintenance, lighting, and air conditioning, once the structure is built. That’s why Energos was so helpful; it helped me to ensure that the building envelope is as efficient as possible, so Hope House can spend more of its money on caring for its residents rather than worrying about paying the electric bill. After several design iterations, I used Energos to more closely investigate alternative design solutions for the building envelope. By modeling some cost-effective, insulated sheathing, my Energos rating improved for both overall insulation and thermal bridging, which will save Hope House money down the line.

In my experience, the Energos module has been easy to use. You can adjust the settings for detailed or streamlined energy modeling based on your familiarity with energy analysis. It’s important to note that entering flawed data will yield incorrect results, so avoid getting too detailed if you don’t understand the underlying science behind energy modeling as you might not even notice that your results are off. Another important distinction is that Energos is a design tool, not a certification process. The data you get from it won’t get you a LEED certification, but it can assist in designing more energy efficiently, which at the end of the day is the real goal. The value of Energos is that it lets you check your design decisions as you make them throughout the design process, validating your ideas or helping you to refine them. Just like the other great tools in Vectorworks software, Energos helps me make informed choices about my options as I’m exploring my design.

Many young architects dream of becoming the next Frank Lloyd Wright, creating iconic designs that inspire their contemporaries and future generations. But sometimes, the designs with the greatest impact aren’t the most distinctive or attention-grabbing; instead, they’re the ones that improve the lives of the people who experience them. This concept of designing to help the world, rather than become the next starchitect, is the subject of the latest Art in Architecture webinar, “Purpose-Driven Design: The Impact of Social Responsibility on Architecture,” which is now available on-demand on our website.


Green School

Issues like population growth, climate change, economic disparity, and resource management all affect the role that design plays in the built environment. Hosted by Architect Steve Alden, AIA, and Rubina Siddiqui, Assoc. AIA, senior product specialist—BIM solutions at Vectorworks, Inc., the webinar explores how forward-thinking architects are creating structures that address the public’s needs while still producing high-quality designs. “The advent of purpose-driven design is the result of architects not only wanting but needing to address a wider range of problems, rather than simply fulfilling a client’s needs,” Siddiqui says. “Architects have a greater responsibility to larger, global problems like the displacement of large populations and homelessness.” Throughout their discussion, Alden and Siddiqui highlight firms that are already contributing meaningful solutions, solving the problems of today, and ensuring the long-term stability of the environment into the future.

Purpose Driven Design Freeze Frame 2

Eco Cabanas, design by Kristofer Nonn

AIA LUAfter watching the webinar, be sure to take the associated quiz for the opportunity to earn 1 AIA LU. And then, explore the rest of the webinars and videos on our Inspiration page for more chances to earn LUs and spark your next great idea.

Purpose Driven Design Freeze Frame 5

New planning modalities think beyond the property line to determine—and even encourage—future land use patterns. Source: LEVENBETTS

By Luc Lefebvre, RA, OAQ, LEED AP, Project Manager and BIM Manager at King + King Architects

At King + King Architects, we approach each project with the client as our main focus, which is especially important since much of our work is across the education, healthcare, and community sectors, where architecture has a large impact on how people function within a space. With a staff of almost 50 architects designing construction and renovation projects as large as multi-building K-12 school, college, and hospital campuses, getting the most out of our software is integral to our firm’s success. That’s why the new Project Sharing feature in Vectorworks 2016 is revolutionizing our workflows.

Project Sharing WorkflowSo far, we’ve tackled three projects with the new workflow feature: a five-building K-12 educational campus for the Albion Central School District in Albion, NY, a community library for the Town of DeWitt, NY, and a middle school renovation and addition project for the Central Valley Central School District, NY. For each project, we typically assign teams of three to seven designers who work together using a referencing method with master and satellite files. But unlike before, when complications could arise due to team members not having properly referenced Vectorworks files or someone inadvertently altering a part of the project that another person was working on, everything is now streamlined into one efficient process. A single master file exists that everyone can work on individually, with each team member being assigned a specific aspect of the project to design based on their permissions, preventing people from working over each other. And when it comes time for everyone to save and commit their work, resource conflicts are detected and brought to the attention of the users, who can then choose whose changes to accept, assign new tasks for the group to address, and move the design forward.

Dewitt County Library rendering by King + King Architects

Dewitt County Library rendering by King + King Architects

Throughout the process of implementing Project Sharing, we’ve learned a few lessons along the way. When it comes to setting up permissions within the project file, be clear about who has what permissions and keep those settings consistent throughout the project. Otherwise, there could be issues when it comes to updating the file. And speaking of updating, make sure that your team adjusts their normal workflow to save and commit their work regularly. That way, when design layers are released to other team members, everybody is working on a current document. It’s a different way of working, but people quickly get used to it when they realize the benefits of designing in this way.

Project Sharing is a huge, tremendous shift for us, but we’ve had a very positive reaction to the change. You don’t have to manage multiple satellite files, and you can save your individual piece of the project file to your desktop so that you can work remotely. Mobility has been a huge benefit. Overall, I think the biggest advantage has been the time-savings. With Project Sharing, we don’t have to spend so much time focusing on the technical parts of the file setup and documentation process, so we’re able to fully dedicate ourselves to creating great design, which is the goal of everyone at King + King.

We’ve had a lot to celebrate this year, including our 30-year anniversary, the inaugural Vectorworks Design Summit, and the opening of our Atlanta office. But 2015 isn’t over yet, and we have two more things to celebrate: today’s release of Vectorworks 2016 software and the announcement of our rebrand as Vectorworks, Inc.


Our name change represents our continued dedication to supporting the creative process and showcases our identity as a company focused on helping designers across the globe to transform the world. As the first step in this journey, and still as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Nemetschek Group, we’re releasing our 2016 line of 2D/3D CAD and BIM software products. From streamlined project sharing, built-in graphical scripting functionality, and point cloud support to subdivision modeling and a system that measures a design’s energy performance, users will be poised to generate, define, build, and explore form and function through enhanced workflows and improved design processes.

“Designers know that the successful development of their best ideas requires flexibility and precision while leaving open the opportunity for discovery. That’s why Vectorworks 2016 software empowers creativity throughout the entire process – particularly in a BIM workflow,” says Sean Flaherty, CEO at Vectorworks. “Over our 30-year history, we’ve always looked to our users for feedback to improve our software. As we move forward under our new brand with the release of Vectorworks 2016, we will continue to turn to them, both as a company inspired by great design and as a creator of tools that work how designers think, enabling visionaries to explore, model, and solve their next design challenge all in one software package.”

As part of this customer-centric philosophy, over 70 percent of Vectorworks 2016’s more than 100 updates and features were born from customer feedback, according to Chief Technology Officer Dr. Biplab Sarkar, who led the research and development efforts for the new release.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 1.07.26 PM

“Delivering accurate modeling information while remaining true to a designer’s vision is the pivotal point of any artistic enterprise,” says Sarkar. “Vectorworks 2016 software’s first-class tools and customizable workflows give you more resources than ever to design with confidence and precision, no matter your discipline, while supporting the creative process.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 1.08.46 PM

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of Vectorworks 2016’s worldwide rollout. Members of our Service Select program can download their licenses today, and we’ll start shipping the English-language version to all other customers beginning September 23, 2015. Over the next several months, we’ll release localized versions in nine additional languages.

If you’re as excited about our release as we are, get social with us by using #Vectorworks2016. Over the next 10 days, we’ll be giving away swag, and sharing fun facts and testimonials about new features. Learn more about the release at vectorworks.net/2016.

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

One of the best parts of site modeling in Vectorworks Landmark, Architect, and Designer software is that we can take familiar design conventions from hand-drafting workflows and apply them using design technology. With making berms, or raised banks for aesthetic or functional purposes, site designers can make use of the same contour lines they’re accustomed to using in their on-paper plans.

In the last Landscape Lesson, the Grade tool was used to carve the terrain for swales, where its sharp, angular modifications are more expected. Using that tool to create a stiffly angular and raised landform would be less desirable. To avoid this, you can create your desired contour lines, then convert them to 3D polygons, molding the raised terrain to the desired smoothness.

Step 1: With Site-DTM-Modifier selected as the active class, use a polyline to create the linework for the base elevation, or “toe,” of the proposed mound.

Landscape Lesson 2 Berms Image 1Step 2: Using the typical convention of a 3:1 (mowable) slope, offset the mound’s base contour inward by 3 feet (0.9 m). Repeat this offset for as many contours as your berm has.

Landscape Lesson 2 Berms Image 2Step 3: Select all the newly created contours and convert them to 3D polygons (Modify > Convert > Convert to 3D Polys) and then assign their respective Z values (elevations). Z elevations can be assigned through the Object Info palette just under the Z and Y fields.

IMAGE 3. Image 3 will run with caption “Helpful Hint: If your berm has a lot of vertices, it may take a while to update. Try simplifying your number of polygons to speed up the process.

Helpful Hint: If your berm has a lot of vertices, it may take a while to update. Try simplifying your number of polygons to speed up the process.

Step 4: Select the site model and change the 2D Display to Proposed + Existing, and the 3D Display to Proposed Only while clicking the Update button, if needed, to update the site model after each change.

Landscape Lesson 2 Berms Image 4Landscape Lesson 2 Berms Image 5BLook forward to my next Landscape Lesson where I’ll explore some of the great new features coming in Vectorworks 2016 software. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see in a Landscape Lesson, reach out to me on Twitter @EricGilbey.

Educating others comes naturally to soon-to-be-elevated ASLA Fellow Mary Bates. With an elementary school teacher as a mother, Bates has been involved with the teaching process from an early age and has worked to educate others about the importance of the landscape industry throughout her entire career. As such, her recognition from the ASLA for service is no surprise—to everyone except her, at least. “It’s a bit surreal for me,” Bates says. “There are so many Fellows whom I look up to and whose work I follow, so it seems crazy to me that I’m included in this group of talented people.”

DSCF3131Bates began her involvement in the landscape industry back in college when she joined the student chapter of ASLA at Ball State University, where she ran LABash the year her school hosted the annual, student-led landscape architecture conference. From there, she became involved in the Florida Chapter of ASLA, where she coordinated the group’s Design Awards and ran the state’s annual landscape conferences for many years. While she served in just about every position on the Chapter’s executive committee, from section chair to president, she feels that one of the most rewarding jobs was working with children.

IMG_3945The Orlando Section of the Florida Chapter of ASLA partners with Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort near Orlando for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. “After working with Give Kids the World, and the Boys and Girls Club through a partnership that my first landscape architecture office had, my work with children grew exponentially,” Bates says. Today, Bates works with local Cub Scout packs in her new home of Colorado. She recently ran a summer camp over three days where she educated over 100 boys on the science behind some of the aspects of landscape architecture. “My favorite part of working with kids is their passion for learning new topics,” Bates says. “It’s really cool to watch them experience something for the first time and throw themselves into the subject completely. The things they take away from what you teach them are insights you’d never expect.”

photo (5)While she enjoys her work with children, Bates also takes the time to educate community leaders and nonprofits on the importance of landscape architecture. “Working with adults is more of a challenge since they come into the process with their own ideas and experiences,” Bates says. “While it can be tough to overcome those barriers, I also find groups who are passionate about the same things I am, and we can really accomplish a lot together.”

Bates’ work isn’t only in the field of public service; she’s also been involved with a wide range of landscape projects, from parks to resorts. Oftentimes, she tries to incorporate aspects of her volunteer work into her design process. “I work on a lot of public park projects, including schoolyards, so I try and get the kids involved by asking them what they want in their park, explaining that this is an intentional space,” Bates says. “The older kids take it seriously, and the younger kids say they want a castle and a bounce house. They push you to think of big, imaginative solutions.”


To help complete these projects, Bates uses Vectorworks Landmark software as a part of her design workflow. “The people who develop the Vectorworks line of software try really hard to connect with the landscape industry and understand what we do,” she says. “Vectorworks Landmark is a really effective tool during the site planning stage, and the tools in the software make it easy for landscape architects to quickly communicate their ideas. I use Landmark in combination with other tools, usually for site planning and planting plans.”

Currently, Bates works at DHM Design and is involved with two EPA brownfield projects in Montrose, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she has been tasked with revitalizing abandoned spaces. “Brownfield projects are really interesting because you have to think outside the box,” she says. “You’re not limited in scope by a client’s ideas of what they want. You get to come up with pie-in-the-sky ideas for how to turn a site that’s in disrepair into a community asset.”

Bullock_Site_Concept B.psdFor anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps, Bates advises that you get involved early and often. “I encourage all practitioners to get involved in ASLA and other landscape organizations,” she asserts. “Besides the leadership experience I’ve gained, I’ve had projects to design in the past that I know won’t win awards or become inspiring spaces, but connecting with other landscape architects at conferences and local gatherings refreshes my spirit. It reminds me that the next big project is out there, and that I shouldn’t ever give up trying to find it.”

Home to over five and a half million people, as well as the corporate offices of many international organizations, Atlanta, Georgia is now also the home of our second office in the United States. The new, 3,700-square-foot space is located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, can accommodate up to 25 employees, and will initially employ software engineers to further develop the Vectorworks product line.

Atlanta Office Image

Our second office is on Regions Plaza’s 19th floor.

“Several factors contributed to our decision to open the Atlanta office, but location was a prime reason,” says Dr. Biplab Sarkar, chief technology officer of Nemetschek Vectorworks. “We wanted our next location to be easy to travel to and in the same time zone as our headquarters in Maryland. The impressive Georgia Tech feeder system was also a highly attractive factor.”

Georgia Tech is graduating some of the best talent in the engineering industry. The university’s undergraduate engineering program was ranked 4th in the 2015 “America’s Best Colleges” edition of U.S. News & World Report, and was cited as one of the best values in American higher education by publications such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges, The Princeton Review, and Kiplinger Business Magazine.

Software Engineer Jack Gruendler is among the initial employees hired for the Atlanta office. “Writing Vectorworks software is the perfect career combination for my academic background as I have civil engineering and computer science degrees from Georgia Tech,” says Gruendler. “The Midtown location also drew me to the position because I was previously commuting out of the city to the suburbs, where most engineering and software development jobs are currently offered. Now, my commute will be significantly shorter, and I can have an eco-friendly and healthy bicycle commute on the Atlanta BeltLine instead.”

We’re always on the lookout for talented, motivated individuals to join our team as full-time employees or paid interns. Explore our current job opportunities on our Careers page or follow @VectorworksLife on Twitter to learn about our company culture and to stay up-to-date on Nemetschek Vectorworks news and job openings.