Spring is here, and it’s time to embrace the great outdoors, as well as learn how your designs can benefit from integrating interior and exterior spaces. Grow your knowledge and earn some Continuing Education credits with Architect magazine’s recent article, “Merging Architecture and Landscape Designs.”

Auer + Webber image

Courtesy of Auer+Weber+Assoziierte GmbH

Learn how to approach the relationship between interior and exterior spaces to create more efficient, sustainable designs. You can also discover strategies to integrate indoor and outdoor design features, plan your design around the landscape, and coordinate with your design and build teams. The article provides ample tips for fusing landscape architecture and architecture techniques and several examples of designs that will inspire you to incorporate the landscape into your own work.

Read the full article and take the quiz to earn your educational credit here.

Florida-based design firm ROJO Architecture operates out of a former shopping mall with wide-open spaces that are as equally suited to tossing around a football as they are to collaborating on large-scale projects for a variety of clients. And whether they’re designing for the medical, religious, commercial, hospitality, or private sector, the team at ROJO notes that above all else, they’re working for their project’s end users.

The Portland building, image courtesy of Mark Borosch Photography.

The Portland building image courtesy of Mark Borosch Photography.

“We’re really working for our clients’ clients and responding to their needs and desires,” says John Saldana, cofounder and principal of ROJO. “We don’t necessarily bring a style to the job as much as we let the job bring a style to us, and then we focus on doing that correctly.”

A key component for meeting the demands of their clients (and the clients’ clients, of course) is BIM. Saldana and fellow cofounder and principal Rob Glisson were early adopters of BIM workflows, and they’ve been using the smart design tools in Vectorworks software to deliver project models that provide value throughout a building’s lifecycle.

Florida Orthopaedic Institute image courtesy of ROJO Architecture.

Florida Orthopaedic Institute image courtesy of ROJO Architecture.

Check out the full ROJO case study to learn more about their work with BIM, including converting a bookstore into an office for the Florida Orthopaedic Institute and their design for The Portland building, an affordable housing block that brings the aesthetic of coastal Oregon to the people of St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Atomic Age of design following the end of World War II saw the rise of modernist, purely functional architecture. But once the threat of an apocalypse passed, the world of design experienced a dramatic shift away from the modern aesthetic, embracing ornamentation and expression. If we’ve piqued your curiosity, then join Architect Steve Alden, AIA, as he explores this exciting period in history in the latest Art in Architecture webinar, Post Preapocalyptic Architecture: 1965-1985, and take the associated quiz to earn 1 AIA LU.

PoMoInterdictiveAfterward, sign up to continue your architectural journey through time with Alden as he explores PoMo Interdictive Architecture: 1985-2005. This AIA-accredited webinar airs on May 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET and will delve into how the architects of today, empowered by the precision of computers, are rejecting the design aesthetics of the past to experiment with shape and structure.

Our newly minted CEO, Dr. Biplab Sarkar, is less than a month into his tenure, and he’s already showing the design community some love by teasing exciting developments planned for Vectorworks software. Sarkar showcased upcoming advancements during his keynote speech at this year’s Vectorworks Design Summit in Chicago. The reveal was met by thunderous applause from 600-plus attendees from around the world, confirming that our future releases will make a resounding impact.

“Our driving philosophy is that the customer comes first, especially with our development process,” Sarkar said. “This approach to our technology life cycle delivers the tools they need to transform their workflows and dramatically impact the world of design. Today’s presentation served as a transparent medium through which we revealed upcoming features in future releases of Vectorworks software, as well as how we intend to employ user feedback to shape ongoing development.”

Learn more about the seven developments that are shaping the future of Vectorworks software.

  • A revamped, intuitive interface for accessing Vectorworks resources, the Resource Manager feature will enable direct browsing of resources from multiple library sources, including online libraries. Metadata tags will be attached to each resource to improve the searching, filtering, and discovery of resources based on user criteria.Resource Manager - browsing resources locally and online
  • The Structural Member Objects will empower designers to more easily and accurately model common structural elements. Key components of the feature include the availability of Polyline modes for creating curved structural members, the capability for interactive editing in 3D views, enhanced 2D Top/Plan representations of structural objects, and interactive manipulation of a network of structural elements. 
  • Irrigation Tools will aid in the design documentation and analysis of irrigation systems. These tools facilitate design by automatically performing calculations for many important factors including water pressure, water velocity, pipe sizing, gallons per minute, and water coverage.Irrigation Tools Option 1
  • With Vectorworks Analytics, the collected data from users who opt in to share data usage will be used to improve the workspaces and interface of future lines of Vectorworks software. This will provide customized interface optimizations, improved data collection, and analysis for diagnosing performance issues.Analytics
  • Previously unavailable to everyone, the advancement of Vectorworks Cloud Services for All will allow all professionals, clients, collaborators, and students to automatically view 3D scenes in the Nomad app and download files shared by other users.Cloud Services for All functionality
  • Significant performance improvements to the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) will include faster, smoother, and more accurate graphics during zoom, pan, and animated Top/Plan view changes. In addition, the new VGM engine will allow faster interactive drawing operations.VGM Top:Plan Enhancement
  • Web View/Virtual Reality will offer the ability to export designs from Vectorworks software to a web-based interface that works on essentially any hardware and operating system that supports a web browser. The feature will enable game-like controls and realistic walkthrough experiences of 3D models for improved communication with clients.Webview:VR

We’ll be revealing more insight about these features as they continue to progress, but in the meantime, we have an exciting day and a half left of our 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit. The remainder of the event will be filled with thought leadership sessions, tonight’s Customer Appreciation Party at the Art Institute of Chicago, and tomorrow’s design keynote by New York-based architect, curator, educator, and lecturer on experimental forms of art and architectural practice, Eva Franch i Gilabert, who currently serves as chief curator and executive director of Storefront for Art and Architecture. Follow #VectorworksDesignSummit to stay in the loop about our Chicago adventures.

In this month’s Tech Roundup, we’re going back to basics. Whether you’re a Vectorworks software expert looking to refresh your knowledge of core skills or if you’re new to the program and are still learning how to navigate the different functions, this month’s new crop of tutorial videos will help guide you through key fundamentals. The lessons in these videos apply to entire suite of Vectorworks software and are compatible with Vectorworks 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The first video tackles the use of layers, the fundamental unit of your design. Learn the difference between Design Layers and Sheet Layers, how to customize properties for each layer type, and ways to show or hide layers to suit your personal workflow.

Once you master layers, you can brush up on the ins and outs of classes, which are the categories you assign to objects within a design. Learn how classes are assigned, how to make your own classes, and how to change class attributes so that your ideas can flow unimpeded into your designs.

We’re also excited to announce a major update to one of our partner products, SoftGoods 2, which is a tool used to create hybrid models of straight and curved curtains, borders, and pipe-and-drape runs. SoftGoods 2 has partnered with Rose Brand, producer of theatrical draperies and custom stage curtains, to offer users their library of popular fabrics optimized for Vectorworks 2016.

With this new update, users can also mark drape panel breaks and panel overlaps, as well as control top and bottom trims. You can also benefit from improved panel count and recognition of a custom Texture library. Learn more about SoftGoods 2 to add flair to your event designs

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

BIMobject, the free repository of manufacturer-specific BIM objects, is now home to Vectorworks symbols, allowing you to develop, communicate, analyze, and add value to your design process. This development arose out of a partnership between Vectorworks and BIMobject, one of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing digital content management systems, after the two companies joined forces in an effort to better meet the needs of the AEC industry.

BIMobject-logo-e1441112901117Currently, there are over 700 objects representing 20 European manufacturers in Vectorworks native file format within the BIMobject database, with plans for more to follow. All of the objects are optimized, hybrid symbols with IFC and COBie-compliant data. In addition, each symbol file comes with a worksheet template for creating a report, which allows you to seamlessly integrate symbols from BIMobject into your existing schedules within Vectorworks software.

BIMobject catalog snippet“The availability of Vectorworks symbols will put essential and valuable data into the hands of those involved in the life cycle of a building,” says Robert Anderson, vice president of integrated practice at Vectorworks, Inc. “Our content team did great work in partnership with BIMobject to create a wealth of objects, meeting the increasing demand from Vectorworks software users to access information from the BIMobject Cloud portfolio.”

To access the objects for yourself, all of which are continually updated with manufacturer-approved data, head over to the BIMobject website.

We’ve recognized over 30 of the world’s most outstanding design students over the past two years with Vectorworks Design Scholarships. So to supplement this ongoing program and further our commitment to tomorrow’s visionaries, we’re sponsoring the 2016 Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA). This inaugural prize supports graduating architects, urban planners, and landscape architects in Europe, helping them to transform the world and create remarkable experiences with their designs.

Open to only European higher education institutions, schools must register and nominate their students’ best capstone projects from the 2015-2016 academic year by July 15, 2016. (Interested students should forward this article to their professors to ensure that their university participates!)

In October 2016, an esteemed panel of international judges will select nine finalists, each of whom be profiled in world-architects and receive a free license of Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks software. From there, the judges will determine the final three winners and award each of them €5,000 and a brand new laptop, as well as the opportunity to have their design highlighted at the EUMiesAward exhibition. As if that wasn’t enough, winners will also tour leading architecture firms across Europe to network with designers and maybe even meet their potential future employer.

The YTAA will be awarded every two years based on the decisions of a jury of specialists representing diverse schools and trends in the fields of architecture and architectural criticism. Visit YTAA’s website to learn more about the award or to register your institution for consideration.

The Story Behind YTAA

Organized by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, the YTAA is also backed by Creative Europe as an extension of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture—Mies van der Rohe Award.

The Barcelona Pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the inspiration behind YTAA.

The Barcelona Pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the inspiration behind YTAA.

“A pioneer of modern architecture and an avid supporter of design education, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe inspired the Young Talent Architecture Award, which honors the professional and academic drive he tirelessly exhibited throughout his life,” said Stewart Rom, chief marketing officer at Vectorworks. “We are therefore proud to support and honor Mies’ commitment by helping students in their journey to envisioning impactful, transformative designs that future generations will experience, enjoy, and admire.”

Traces of Mies’ legacy are visible all over the world, but he also left his mark on the iconic city of Chicago, Illinois. After leaving his native Germany in 1938, Mies headed the architecture school at the Armour Institute of Technology, which is known today as the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). In this position, he was commissioned to master plan the campus and design new buildings. All of his buildings still stand on campus, including his renowned masterpiece, the S.R. Crown Hall.

Mies’ S.R Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Photo courtesty of Naotake Murayama.

Mies’ S.R Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Photo courtesty of Naotake Murayama.

P.S. If you’re joining us for the 2016 Vectorworks Design Summit next week, we hope you can find some time while in the Windy City to explore IIT’s campus and discover some of Mies’ inspiring projects!

PanzerCAD’s CameraMatch plug-in empowers designers to align and compose a 3D view of a model with a photograph, helping clients to better envision a given project. If your designs aren’t camera-shy, you’ll be happy to hear that Vectorworks has acquired PanzerCAD’s technology and hired the company’s Founder and Developer Matt Panzer to join its engineering team as an architectural product planner, where he’ll work to improve Vectorworks software’s architectural workflows.


“Matt has an established history of providing Vectorworks customers with tools and utilities that are beneficial to visualization workflows in Vectorworks software,” says Darick DeHart, vice president of product management at Vectorworks. “The PanzerCAD tools, along with Matt’s understanding of designing valuable features, are a tremendous addition to the Vectorworks team.”

As part of the initial steps of the acquisition, we’ll be focusing on implementing CameraMatch into an upcoming release of Vectorworks software. In the meantime, the plug-in can still be purchased through CameraMatch’s store.

“I’m grateful for the valuable relationship that I’ve had with Vectorworks over the past years, and I look forward to this next chapter of officially joining their team,” Panzer says. “I plan to bring my expertise of software design and development into the mix right away for a smooth transition.”

Before and after CameraMatch renderings

Before and after CameraMatch renderings

Read more about the practical applications of CameraMatch in N2M Architeckten’s NaturParkHaus’ project highlight.

Working as a team is often an integral part of the design experience, but it doesn’t have to be painful. With the new Project Sharing feature (which is part of  Vectorworks 2016, by the way), you can work concurrently on the same file with as many people as you want without worrying about accidentally saving over someone else’s work. See? Painless! Although, we can’t do anything about that one teammate who isn’t pulling their weight. Sorry.

We recently sat down with two of Vectorworks’ own industry specialists to talk about the ins and outs of Project Sharing.

Vectorworks industry specialists Rubina Siddiqui and Wes Gardner.

Vectorworks industry specialists Rubina Siddiqui and Wes Gardner.

Wes Gardner, Senior Product Specialist – Architecture Industry: Getting started is pretty straightforward, especially because you can create a Project Sharing file whenever you want. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning.

Ruby Siddiqui, Product Marketing Manager – Architecture Industry: Yeah, say Wes is working on something in his own file, and we decide to use it as the basis for a larger project. We can make it a Project Sharing file and design based on his idea. Or, if you have site data to create a site model, you can make that a Project Sharing file, and everyone can base their designs off that.

Wes: Basically, you can start at any time! And once you create the project file, you just follow the four setup screens. The four screens walk you through the system setup, the first screen being, “Yes, I want to make an actual project file.” Then you can start adding users to your project.

Ruby: For example, if I know Wes is going to work with me, I can give him access to the file. But this isn’t a one-time action. If someone joins us three weeks from now, I can still add them then. It’s not a closed system.

Wes: Then you set up your master layers.

Ruby: What you’re doing at this point is designating a layer to contain information that is going to change very little during your design process. This includes things like known info and variables like site data and existing conditions. Then the last of the four screens is the backup policy for the file.

Wes: Then you hit “go,” and you’re good.

Ruby: One thing you need to be aware of is, since it’s based on Vectorworks software’s layer system, when you check out a layer to start drawing, it’s locked to everyone else. It’s a good thing because it protects people from overriding what you created, and it lets them know who is working on what. However, it can be limiting if you don’t sync your file frequently because sometimes people can’t meet their own project deadlines without knowing if something has changed.

Wes: But if you’re really pressed for time, and you need to work on a checked out layer, you can draw something on a new layer and transfer it to the project file later.

Ruby: It’s a great fail-safe against problems. Your symbols won’t get overwritten by accident.

Wes: It certainly simplifies the overall file structure of a project since all of the individual pieces of the project file come together so neatly. The setup and drawing processes are no different from drawing in a normal Vectorworks file. Saving, printing, and rendering are all unchanged from what you’d be used to as a single user, and no new hardware is required.

Ruby: And while I’m working, I can still see what Wes is working on since he has a certain layer checked out. You’ll need to be on a server to check your files in, but you can check out files and work offline at home and then sync when you get back to the office.

Want to see all these steps in action? Check out the Project Sharing tutorial videos on YouTube. If you run into any problems when you’re getting started, reach out to tech@vectorworks.net or tweet your questions to @VectorworksHelp. And if you’re joining us in Chicago on April 25-27 for the Vectorworks Design Summit, don’t miss our Ask The Experts Happy Hour, Monday training, and sessions with stories about how designers are using Project Sharing at their firms. The last day to register is April 17, so act fast!

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

There’s never a dull moment here at Vectorworks. Dr. Biplab Sarkar, a Vectorworks employee for more than 16 years who has driven the development of our software as chief technology officer (CTO) for eight of those years, has been appointed to chief executive officer (CEO). In other company promotion news, Darick DeHart is now vice president of product management and Steve Johnson is now vice president of product development. The three executives will work closely together in their new roles to pursue future technology advancements for the Vectorworks software lines.

Sarkar succeeds Sean Flaherty as CEO following a four-month selection process.

Dr. Biplab Sarkar

“Through numerous customer visits and with a steady eye on industry trends, Biplab has a clear vision of where we need to go as a company,” Flaherty said. “He’s a passionate leader who has built a large, multi-lingual, and multi-location research and development team, complementing our overall doubling of staff in the past three years. This proven leadership, coupled with an unending commitment to innovation, design, and technology, makes him the perfect choice to continue shaping the organization in a way that anticipates designers’ needs all around the world.”

Sarkar’s new role as CEO is a natural progression from his earlier position, where he continually sought out innovative technology and evaluated the competitive landscape to ensure that Vectorworks remained a best-in-class CAD and BIM solution for designers in the architecture, landscape, and entertainment industries.

During his time at Vectorworks, Sarkar was instrumental in the adoption of the Parasolid modeling kernel for Vectorworks software, helping to advance its BIM capabilities by improving architectural modeling tools and support for interoperability, and overseeing the evolution of Renderworks into a premier rendering application built on the powerful CINEMA 4D render engine.

“I’m proud of the role that I played during this important chapter in Vectorworks’ history, and I look forward to driving a strategy that will ensure powerful technological advancements and our continued evolution as a company that’s passionate about design,” Sarkar said. “I’m deeply honored by this appointment, and thank Sean for his many accomplishments and contributions that will enable our sustainable growth.”

Along with the appointment of new positions at Vectorworks, the Nemetschek Group Supervisory Board has appointed Sean Flaherty to the full-time position of chief strategy officer. To learn more about this announcement, read the Nemetschek Group’s press release here.