Nathan Kipnis started his career as an architect when energy-conscious design was viewed as nothing more than a passing fad. However, he knew that the future needed people who understood that “green” features didn’t have to come at the expense of beautiful architecture. In this new Success Story video, Kipnis explains how he’s made it his firm’s mission to combine technical efficiency with a modern aesthetic, pioneering a movement toward stylish sustainability.

“The future of green architecture is interesting because even though people once thought of it as a voluntary thing, it’s become quite real,” says Kipnis, who founded Kipnis Architecture + Planning (KAP) in 1993 to inject sustainability into projects ranging from office buildings and residential homes to airport terminals and offshore wind farms.

KAP’s Sturgeon Bay Project
© 2014 Wayne Cable

Want to learn more about Kipnis, his firm’s High Design/Low Carbon™ approach to architecture, and how modeling with Vectorworks software allows KAP’s designers to show clients a simple but understandable 3D space? Then read the full KAP Success Story. Enjoy!

Building upon the release of our Vectorworks 2015 line of design software, we have released new functionalities including the BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) Importer and the Simplified Geometry Model View Definition (MVD). These two features are part of Service Pack 3, which also includes other improvements.

BCF Importer

The new BCF Importer allows users to read BCF files from collaborators to view project model issues directly within the context of the Vectorworks model. Now users can review and resolve issues that may require changes to the architectural model without having to switch between Vectorworks and another application.

Take a closer look at the BCF Importer in action by watching the YouTube video below.


Simplified Geometry MVD

To meet the expanding needs of users, Vectorworks software now offers an additional Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) export option for defining the model view. The Simplified Geometry MVD allows Vectorworks users to export IFC files optimized for other software programs that can only import a limited set of simple geometry types.

Additionally, a new option called “Export Walls/Slabs by components” has been added to the Export IFC Project dialog box. This option optimizes the export of IFC files for use by estimating software such as BIM2COST. These improvements increase interoperability between BIM software applications, as well as enhance communication among design disciplines.

“As the adoption of Open BIM workflows continues to increase among our users, we continue to develop new functionality to enable architects to collaborate in a flexible way and communicate using their Vectorworks building information model,” said Jeremy Powell, director of global product marketing at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “The Simplified Geometry MVD and BCF Importer allow for more flexibility and interoperability between Vectorworks software and other programs.”

To read more on these advancements or to see additional features of SP3, click here.

More people should be so lucky as to spend a day with the Exleys, the spirited husband and wife team behind Architecture Is Fun. We recently met up with Peter, FAIA, and Sharon who run their architecture and design firm in Chicago, creating spaces for children of all ages that are distinguished by beauty, art, and form. What we quickly learned is that the Exleys make the design process “fun” because they’re great listeners and creative problem-solvers. You can’t help but feel inspired by these playmakers.


Catch Peter at the Vectorworks Design Summit

If you want to hear more from Peter, catch his breakout session at our April 27-29 Vectorworks Design Summit at the Sofitel Philadelphia hotel. Approved for 1 AIA LU credit, Peter’s session on “Thinking Through Your Sketches” will prove that BIM software isn’t just a design and production tool; rather, it’s adept at helping the smart architect tell a compelling story. Peter will demonstrate a back and forth workflow between analog and digital tools, leveraging familiar software and conventional hand drawings to create captivating 3D sketches that communicate evolving design solutions to clients and AE colleagues.

Bringing together architecture, landscape, and entertainment design visionaries, Vectorworks software engineers, and global partner product providers, the Vectorworks Design Summit will provide dynamic keynote presentations, plus engaging thought-leadership breakouts, product development insight, fun evening events, and training to help attendees make the most of Vectorworks software. There’s also a special Customer Appreciation Party on April 28 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. View agenda and speaker details here. And be sure to register soon as early-bird discounts expire March 31!

Who needs a red carpet when we have the iconic “Rocky Steps” to welcome attendees to our April 28 Customer Appreciation Party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Marking one of the highlights of our April 27-29 Vectorworks Design Summit, the party will bring together architecture, landscape, and entertainment design visionaries, Vectorworks software engineers, and global partner product providers for a night of fun, which begins at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. ET.


“Having such an iconic museum as a backdrop to the software training and networking I will experience as an attendee at the Vectorworks Design Summit is such an asset to all members of the design industry,” said Luc Lefebvre, OAQ, senior project architect and BIM manager at King + King Architects. “The venue will serve as a perfect complement to the Summit’s ground-breaking discussions and networking events, providing additional inspiration through creative artistic and architectural achievements worldwide.”

Party attendees will enjoy many perks including dinner, an open bar, the music of Back2Life, a high-energy dance band, and access to world-class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings, and decorative arts, including the current Japanese exhibit, “Ink and Gold: Art of Kano.”

The celebration is just one of the fun events planned during the Vectorworks Design Summit, which will take place at the Sofitel Philadelphia hotel and provide dynamic keynote presentations, thought-leadership breakouts, product development insight, and training to help designers transform the world with great design. View agenda and speaker details here.

The Customer Appreciation Party is included with the cost of registration to the Summit, or event tickets can be purchased individually. Registration and ticket information is available on the Vectorworks Design Summit webpage.

Direct any questions to or 888-646-4223.


By Martyn Horne, Member of the UK Landscape Institute’s BIM Working Group

Landscape architects and designers may view Building Information Modeling (BIM) as something specific to architects. However, BIM isn’t a piece of software or a file format revolving around architectural structures; it’s a series of workflows enabled by information technology that can be used to create anything in the built environment. The “Building” in BIM isn’t a noun, as in “the building,” but a verb, as in “to build.” Understanding this twist of language opens many doors for landscape professionals to improve how they do business.

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Early white card visual and sun study of the BIM model, showing main site elements.

The key aim of BIM is to facilitate collaboration, communication, and effective data exchange between different members of a construction team, which occurs even without an existing building in a 3D model. There is still a wealth of information regarding the site in the model and its linked 2D plans, including elevations, sections, and construction schedules. Landscape BIM can be used to conduct a water flow analysis, or a minimum and maximum grading analysis; find water volumes; create tree surveys and tree protection plans, planting schedules, material quantities, and maintenance reports; and detect clashes with underground services like sewage and electrical equipment. All of this information can live within one 3D model, providing a valuable resource for every party involved in the development of a site from the designer to the construction team to the owner.

1.40 Water Flow Diagram

Same BIM model in Plan showing Water Flow Analysis mode. Both images generated in Vectorworks Landmark with Renderworks.

BIM will undoubtedly require landscape professionals to learn new processes and acquire new skills. But this is an exciting time for the entire construction industry, including landscape architecture, and by embracing this new technology, we can increase technical efficiency and make more time for creativity and design.

For more information about incorporating BIM into your landscape workflow, visit the Landscape Institute website.

Studio Roberto Rovira’s Sky Lounge Pavilion at Florida International University in Miami. Photo by Manuel Perez-Trujillo.

Landscape architect Robert Rovira leads a firm that is “detail-oriented, artistically obsessive, technically-inclined, and rarely satisfied in their mission to improve the built environment.” It’s this passion and vision that earned him a place among this year’s Emerging Voices, one of the most coveted honors in North American architecture.

Awarded to eight up-and-coming firms and designers whose “voices” positively influence the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism through their professional and academic works, the Emerging Voices are selected through an invited, juried competition held by The Architectural League of New York. The chosen practitioners’ realized works are not only the best of the best, but they also address larger environmental or social issues within the built environment. Rovira, a Vectorworks software user, is now a part of this prestigious lineup of creative visionaries.

Rovira, founder of Studio Roberto Rovira and chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at Florida International University, has a background in design, engineering, and fine arts. His firm is dedicated to creating projects of “uncompromising design quality that work at the edge of the built and the natural.” His investigative approach seeks to engage a project’s end-users by discovering connections between ecology, patterns, history, and time, and it caught the attention of the Emerging Voices jury. Rovira’s recent work includes the Sky Lounge Pavilion at Florida International University in Miami, which received an Award of Merit for Divine Detail at the AIA-Miami 60th Annual Design Awards, and Magnolia North Park in Opa Locka, Florida, which received the American Planning Association Florida Award of Excellence in 2014.

Congratulations to Rovira and all of this year’s winners. Learn more about their work, as well as the work of past years’ winners, at The Architectural League of New York website.

Need help giving your design a finishing touch that you know will impress your clients? We can help! Check out this month’s new tech tip videos from our YouTube page.

Realistic reflectivity and shading can be the difference between a good design and a great design, so this video teaches you how to use freely available bump and displacement texture mapping to enhance the look of your model in a matter of seconds.

Sometimes a personal touch can really draw in your client. While Vectorworks software already has multiple Door Leaf styles in the default content library, this video walks you through customizing one of your very own step-by-step.

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

How do you keep your creative edge? That is one of the many questions that will be addressed during our second installment of the Business of Creativity video series, airing Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Prior to the premier of the video, entitled “Staying Creative In Your Firm,” registered participants will receive an email detailing how they can view the discussion.

Whether making decisions about which projects to accept, driving a design’s evolution, or delivering an imaginative solution, architects must balance it all while ensuring creativity remains central to all they do. Architect Steve Alden, AIA, Nemetschek Vectorworks, will lead the discussion that addresses this challenge with additional panelists including:

  • Dylan Chappell, AIA, Dylan Chappell Architects in Santa Barbara, CA
  • Ali Honarkar, Division1 Architects in Washington, DC
  • Michael Timchek, AIA, The M Group Architects & Interior Architects in Reston, VA

“Designers are faced with many limitations that can impact creativity, including budget constraints, differences in vision among staff or clients, and more,” Alden said. “The Business of Creativity series provides an open platform for today’s visionaries to offer their varying perspectives on how they address such challenges and the many ways designers can channel creativity into their projects and run a profitable business.”

Register for the “Staying Creative in Your Firm” discussion here. Viewers are also encouraged to join the conversation on Twitter by following #DiscussDesign and adding their own comments to the mix!

And if you missed our first episode in the series, watch the previous Business of Creativity discussion that explores what it means to be visionary and how flexible workflows help designers discover new ways to imagine and construct their projects.

For more information about the Business of Creativity video series and to stay updated about future topics, email or call 800-413-0935.

For two decades after the end of World War II, experimentation in architecture and design led to the creation of a stylistic lexicon where structures defied gravity, cars flew, and buildings resembled lunar landers. This iconic, The Jetsons-esque era is the topic of this year’s first Art in Architecture webinar, “Atomic Architecture in America: 1945-1965.”

Atomic Architecture HeaderThe webinar will examine the work of celebrated designers like William Pereira and Albert Frey, and use their work to explore the wider social, economic, political, and technological movements of the time period.

“This webinar series is more than just an art history course. It puts architecture into context by examining the world in which it was built,” says series host Steve Alden, AIA, architect at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “And by learning how the past impacts design, everybody watching can perhaps find some inspiration for their next project.”

The Atomic Architecture webinar will air on March 12 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Viewers who register to attend will be eligible to take an associated Continuing Education quiz to earn 1 AIA LU.

And stay tuned for our other upcoming Art in Architecture episodes: “Four Japanese Architects You Should Know: Kenzō Tange, Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito and Tadao Ando” on May 14 and “The Art Nouveau Movement and its Influence on Architecture: Victor Horta and Charles Rennie Mackintosh” on July 9. Email for more info about the Art in Architecture series and to receive updates about future topics.

Do you dream of transforming the world? Then join a community of visionaries at the 2015 Vectorworks Design Summit on April 27-29 at the Sofitel Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. Attendees across all design disciplines will benefit from thought leadership sessions, engaging breakouts, product development insight, and more. Plus, you’ll get a chance to network with Vectorworks software engineers, power users, third-party partners, and other professionals, walking away with proven workflow successes, improved skills, and all you need to dazzle your next client!

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The Vectorworks Design Summit begins Monday, April 27 with optional, pre-conference training in Vectorworks software and a welcome dinner. Tuesday’s schedule opens with a presentation by CEO Sean Flaherty, who will discuss how Nemetschek Vectorworks supports the creative process and helps designers in their journey toward working smarter and more efficiently. His presentation will be followed by an inspirational keynote message from Leo Van Broeck, a founding partner of BOGDAN & VAN BROECK in Belgium, who will share his theory that the design of attractive, dense, and high-quality urban areas is a catalyst for changing how much space people think they need to lead enjoyable and meaningful lives.

On Wednesday, Nemetschek Vectorworks’ CTO Dr. Biplab Sarkar will provide unprecedented development insight into the Vectorworks line of CAD and BIM design solutions, including features that will be in Vectorworks 2016. Later that day, the Summit closes with a presentation by Adrian McGregor, FAILA, RLA, MAIH, MPIA, managing director of McGregor Coxall, an Australian landscape architecture and urban design firm. McGregor’s firm has completed work in six nations, focusing on sustainable design in the public domain and urban settings, going beyond the reduction of environmental damage and using regenerative approaches to actively advance each site’s ecology.

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Amid these engaging keynote presentations is a lineup of breakout sessions with speakers who represent firms and industry partners including ROJO Architects, MORRIS, Holcombe Norton Partners, Inc., Exhibit Logic, LEVENBETTS, The Small Group, Bluebeam Software, Architecture Is Fun, and more. Sessions will examine a wide range of topics from communicating design ideas, moving from 2D to 3D and using smart CAD tools for sustainable site design to utilizing Vectorworks as a BIM tool and rendering for success. Vectorworks engineers and product experts, as well as third party partners like MAXON Computer, Asite, and Synchro Software, will also provide product training and answer attendee questions in the Design Summit’s Expo Hall.

Register by March 31 to Save

The early-bird registration fee is $399 and expires March 31. There is also an academic rate for students and instructors of $99. Plus, attendees can  enjoy a discounted room rate at the Sofitel Hotel, the location of all conference activities except the evening events, situated only minutes from Philadelphia’s historic attractions.

Visit the Design Summit website to view the growing list of speakers, sessions, and events, and to register. We hope to see you in Philly!