The full line of Vectorworks 2015 software products will be available in Spanish on Monday, November 24, bringing innovative new features and game-changing improvements to Spanish-speaking designers around the world. As part of the global rollout of the software, all Spanish-language users are invited to participate in a live webinar launch event, where Vectorworks experts will highlight the new features of the release on November 24 at 10 a.m. ET.

Vectorworks 2015 software contains over 100 updates for architects, landscape architects and designers, and entertainment designers. With upgrades to its 3D modeling capabilities and Building Information Modeling (BIM) enhancements, the 2015 release allows users to tackle larger, more complex projects. “Vectorworks 2015 is a powerful release that encompasses design without limitation,” says Jeremy Powell, director of product marketing at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “The extension of 64-bit throughout the entire product line and improvements made to the Vectorworks Graphics Module help designers bring their visions to reality better than ever before.”

For additional resources, check out our Spanish-language page and visit Vectorworks Worldwide to find your local distributor.

Finding room for open, natural spaces in over-developed major cities isn’t always easy. However, The Office of James Burnett (OJB) recently stepped up to the challenge, and we’re happy to announce that their design for Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park, a pedestrian-friendly, urban park built over an existing freeway, earned the 2014 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Urban Open Space Award. The annual competition recognizes public spaces that socially and economically enrich and revitalize communities.

Photo by Thomas McChonnell

“Great cities have great parks, and Klyde Warren Park has quickly become the new heart of downtown Dallas, a place to gather, full of activities and fascination features, where everyone is welcome,” says OJB’s President James Burnett, FASLA, who guides the firm’s dedication to designing landscapes that transform perspective, evoke emotional responses, and create unique and unforgettable sensory experiences.

Built over the recessed, eight-lane Woodall Rodgers Freeway, the 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park connects uptown Dallas to its thriving downtown and arts districts, thereby strengthening surrounding communities and driving foot traffic through the urban area. Burnett’s design is meant to create a sense of discovery as visitors move to different “rooms” that include a children’s park, reading area, great lawn, restaurant, performance pavilion, fountain plaza, games area, dog park, and botanical garden arranged around a sweeping pedestrian promenade. The park is also sustainably designed with native botanical gardens and over 300 trees that provide a green haven in the heart of one of the largest cities in the United States.

Photo by Mei-Chun-Jau

“By giving the community a central gathering space in the heart of our city, Klyde Warren Park has become one of Dallas’—and the region’s—top destinations,” said Park President Tara Green. “The visionary leaders behind this project are to be applauded for their vision and hard work.”

OJB utilized Vectorworks Landmark software in its planning and design processes to illustrate conceptual designs and create diagrams for presentation and coordination purposes. “Using Vectorworks allowed us to quickly create multiple design options and to effectively communicate our thoughts and design ideas to the client,” says Kyle Fiddelke, principal for OJB, who led the initial design phases of the project.

To read about more award-winning work from The Office of James Burnett, check out their success story.

The year is 1917; Russia has just pulled out of World War I, the last of the Tsars have been deposed, and Konstantin Melnikov walks out of architecture school, degree in hand, ready to make his mark on the world. The rapidly changing political, economic, and social landscape of the time was reflected in many forms of art, including architecture, whose practitioners rallied into two camps: the constructivists, who believed that buildings should exist solely to serve a function, and the rationalists, who argued for the place of idealism in the design process. Melnikov seems to defy this binary at every turn, creating projects that could fit into both categories and wouldn’t look out of place among the works of today’s “modern” architects. His visionary designs are dissected and analyzed in the first installment of Nemetschek Vectorworks’ Art In Architecture webinar series, “Melnikov: Early Sparks of Russian Iconic Architecture.”

Presented by Steve Alden, AIA, architect at Nemetschek Vectorworks, the continuing education webinar focuses on not only the evolution of Melnikov as a singular architect, but also how the influences of his time have a direct impact on iconic architecture of the modern day. His use of large graphics, sizeable glass walls, and expressive, deconstructive design components can all be linked to current architectural trends. Understanding Melnikov’s work gives designers a deeper understanding of their creative roots, as well as inspiration for future projects.

Though Melnikov’s career ended in the late 1930s as his emotive designs were blacklisted during the rise of Stalin, the movement toward iconic architecture endured, and we’ll continue to explore those ideas in our next Art In Architecture webinar, “Small Iconic Architecture,” which will be held at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 19. This session focuses on the emergence of dramatic and expressive architecture, picking up after the end of Melnikov’s heyday and moving into the era of early software design. Participants who sign up with their AIA number will be eligible to recieve one AIA Learning Unit.

Listen to the full recording of the Melnikov webinar, and then take the test to receive your AIA LU (Log in or create an account to view the questions). Also, don’t forget to register for upcoming Art in Architecture webinars, and follow us on Twitter @Vectorworks using the hashtag #ArtInArch to share your thoughts on iconic architecture.

Neil Marshall, director at The Design Büro, says that sometimes the most challenging part about switching to Building Information Modeling (BIM) isn’t the technology, but the mentality of the architects themselves. “People have a trusted way of getting their work done, and people naturally want to do it in a way that they understand,” he says. “You have to take a step back and show people that there is another route to delivering that information, which might take longer in the first instance, but once you get used to it you’ve got a model that is a single source of truth.”

With the UK’s new Government Construction Strategy dictating that all sizeable government projects have to be completed using BIM by 2016, the architects at The Design Büro, having no previous BIM experience, had to work quickly to prepare themselves. They chose Vectorworks Architect software to lead their workflow transition, starting with the Pathology building at the Ysbyty Glan Clywd Hospital in North Wales. The project helped the firm learn how to model in 3D and led to a new business management strategy that provided step-by-step instruction on preparing 3D models for project delivery while improving collaboration.

Seeing how simple and efficient 3D modeling can be was lightbulb moment that propelled The Design Büro into the world of BIM and ensured they could meet the new standard. To learn more about the firm’s workflow evolution and new business management strategy, read their success story.

BIM! BAM! BOOM! When put together, these three words harken back to days of action-packed, cartoony excitement. But for the Nemetschek Vectorworks team that participated in the Orlando chapter of The American Institute of Architects’ second annual BIM BAM BOOM event, the words generated a spirit of cooperative competition that resulted in a fun day for all in sunny Florida.

The BIM shoot-out between top technology product vendors included our own Vectorworks software industry specialists, who tested their knowledge of BIM in a hands-on, 3D modeling challenge alongside representatives from Applied Software and Graphisoft. Teams were asked to reconstruct a historic church designed by renowned architect Le Corbusier in Ronchamp, France. With a timeframe of only 90 minutes, the Nemetschek Vectorworks team showcased the advanced BIM capabilities of Vectorworks Architect software and its benefits to the architectural community, as well as students, contractors, and developers.

“The team gave it their all,” said Luis Ruiz, architectural industry specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “In a typical office, you have days to come up with a comprehensive design and presentation, but this event is all about clicking the mouse in a smart and efficient way. There wasn’t any time to make mistakes since our laptops were broadcasting live to a large screen on the wall. Fortunately, we were able to not only present a finished product, but also focus on showing attendees the BIM modeling process.”

The team collaborated to create their own interpretation of the building, including its iconic roof, shaped walls, recessed windows, a site model, and the surrounding landscaping, all within a cohesive 3D model. Along with the typical output from a BIM model, the team demonstrated Vectorworks software’s latest cloud technology and wowed the audience with the software’s pedestrian simulation plug-in, SimTread.

All participants in the competition were recognized for supporting the technological advancements of the architectural industry, as well as for reflecting on Le Corbusier’s visionary design.

To learn more about how to incorporate BIM into your workflow, visit our BIM in Practice page.

Following the English release of Vectorworks 2015 in September, localized versions of the new software version are now available in German, French, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, and Norwegian. Visit Vectorworks Worldwide to find a local distributor.

“We’re very excited to provide the new Vectorworks 2015 version to our European markets,” said Stewart Rom, chief marketing officer of Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. “This has been an exciting release for us this year since we’ve equipped Vectorworks with full 64-bit functionality and made other notable enhancements to our 3D modeling and other capabilities. It’s a version we’re eager to share with the world of designers who enhance and transform the world with their visions every day.”

The Vectorworks 2015 software contains more than 100 updates and new features in the areas of architecture, BIM, urban planning, and entertainment design. In previous versions, the power of 64-bit was only available in the platform’s photorealistic rendering engine, Renderworks, but has now been integrated throughout the entire Vectorworks 2015 product line, providing designers with the ability to handle larger projects, as well as better performance and stability. In addition, designers will observe a revolutionary graphical experience from advances made to the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM), which was introduced last year.

Find out more about the new features available in Vectorworks 2015 by visiting

By François Lévy, AIA, Architect, Principal at Lévy Kohlhaas Architecture

Designers expect more from their software than just the ability to draw and model freely and produce gorgeous outputs. In fact, while spending time in the Nemetschek Vectorworks booth at the recently concluded Greenbuild 2014 conference, the most common question I heard was whether Vectorworks Architect has any sustainable design tools. The answer is a resounding “yes,” and here are my favorites, beginning with some built-in features you can take advantage of right away.

First, Vectorworks Architect’s “sun object” is much more than a directional light source. The Heliodon tool is georeferenced and accurately generates shadows for your project based on its location. If you don’t see your locale in the extensive pull-down list, just add your town and type, and its latitude and longitude. Plus, with the integrated Renderworks module, you can either view solar animations interactively on the fly or export standalone movies—either from a fixed vantage point or from a view of “what the sun sees.” Roof overhangs and window placement can thus be tested, refined, and validated to minimize summer heat gain and maximize passive heating potential in the winter.

Second, Vectorworks Architect software’s site model is almost like your personal civil engineering genie. It generates a variety of styles of 2D drawings and 3D site models from your 2D contour data, and it can also analyze site conditions. Its colored slope analysis feature color codes the surface of the site based on up to six user-defined grade categories. But the site model isn’t just a static mesh; rather, it can be readily modified with easy grading tools from which Vectorworks can compare the existing and proposed site to generate cut and fill calculations.

Third, walls and roofs in Vectorworks Architect are analyzed by the Framer tool to generate a 3D model of your wood-framed building, as well as elevations of each wall and a comprehensive lumber bill of materials. Since the Framer tool is non-destructive and produces a separate model, you can use this feature to explore cost and performance implications for alternative framing techniques like optimal value engineering and the greater insulation it may afford.

Vectorworks is also compatible with the gbXML file format, which transmits building information from your model for energy analysis. In addition the software supports the Open BIM workflow, allowing designers to transmit building information to major energy analysis applications like as IES-VE via its certified IFC 2×3 CV2.0 export.

Beyond these built-in tools, Vectorworks has embedded worksheet functions that allow designers to create custom sustainable design tools. Here are a few worksheets that I’ve built over the years and now incorporate into every project:

  • Rainwater Harvesting Calculator: This worksheet queries the projected roof area (or any user-defined catchment surface) and calculates an optimal cistern size based on user load and rainfall data (easily accessible online).
  • Passive Heating/Thermal Mass Assessment: I use this worksheet to compare the amount of south-facing glass to the interior available thermal mass to estimate the solar savings fraction, a measure of improved heating performance over a similar conventional building.
  • Thermal Chimney Calculator: ASHRAE has a validated formula for estimating passive cooling air-flow rates from the stack effect. This worksheet compares air inlet and outlet sizes and locations to estimate the rate of air flow due to warm air’s natural buoyancy.
  • Impervious Cover Analysis: In areas where water quality is a concern, this worksheet dynamically compares all the building and hardscape footprint areas as the design evolves to overall lot size to ensure a maximum impervious cover is not exceeded.

Students at the UCLA Experiential Technologies Center in the School of the Arts and Architecture can now explore reverse engineering and problem-solving techniques thanks to Anthony Caldwell, Diane Favro, and Ertugrul Taciroglu, who received the first Vectorworks Academic Research Grant for their work toward reconstructing the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt.

Image courtesy of UCLA Experiential Technologies Center

Once among the tallest buildings in the western world, the lighthouse was destroyed following several earthquakes in the 14th century. Caldwell, a trained architect, began working on the 2,000-year-old lighthouse five years ago, and his experience documenting early 20th century structures enticed him to reconstruct the lighthouse. He joined scholars trained in architectural history and mechanical engineering to approach the project with an architectural/builder perspective rather than an archeological/historical one.

“After reviewing the relevant historical evidence, it occurred to me that the best course of action was to start by creating an architectural program of the basic known facts,” said Caldwell. “We know the site, mostly, about how high it was, the fact it had a fire at the top, and, by extension, rooms to store fuel, ramps to move material up and down, and so on. The second step was to examine building tools, technology, and materials available in Alexandria of the 3rd century B.C. The last step was to try to understand the social and political context of the time.”

Image courtesy of UCLA Experiential Technologies Center

Favro, who is an architectural historian, notes that while there have been several reconstructions of the lighthouse, information provided by ancient authors about its size, scale, and interior is partial or contradictory. Its exact position also remains a debate. Using several diverse sources, the team created a 3D, digital model of the lighthouse using Vectorworks software. The program’s 3D modeling and visualization tools, in combination with Vectorworks’ Building Information Modeling capabilities, enabled the team to rapidly develop, document, and explore several possible configurations of the lighthouse. Taciroglu, a mechanical engineer, analyzed the model by using various engineering programs to evaluate the lighthouse’s behavior when subjected to seismic stresses. Next, the team compared the results to descriptions found in historical records. Caldwell also visited Egypt and consulted with the French archeological team working on the remains of the lighthouse. The model is continuously changing as new ideas are tested and old ones challenged. Vectorworks allowed the seamless integration and documentation of the entire process. “Knowledge formation is always a process,” said Caldwall.

Learn more about the Vectorworks Academic Research Grant program by visiting our website. Also, read more about the Pharos Lighthouse and the team’s research here.


As part of our efforts to help designers increase productivity through Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows, we are excited to announce a new partnership with Datacubist Oy, the creators of simplebim, Now, designers who use Vectorworks Architect can export their IFC-STP files and import them into the simplebim application to trim unnecessary data, as well as validate, edit, and add non-geometric data directly within the IFC file. Simplebim is a BIM software platform that enhances IFC data exchange between AECO professionals.

“Our commitment to design flexibility and intent drives our continuous search for technology partners that support Open BIM workflows for improved communication and project coordination,” said Jeremy Powell, product marketing director at Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. “It’s paramount that we provide designers with innovative technology to help them maintain complete control over their IFC data, and we’re very excited to be a part of solutions like this partnership that will enhance collaboration and improve the quality of data exchanged among project stakeholders.”

By using simplebim, designers, contractors and building owners can review IFC data in a model-centric, user-configurable interface. Simplebim also has the ability to detect data deficiencies and remove any potential issues, as well as edit and match the data structures to the requirements of other IFC compatible applications. Through capturing the IFC data exchange requirements and validating the models against them, teams can provide feedback to the author or edit the IFC data directly in simplebim without having access to the original model, allowing for streamlined communication and utilization of discipline-specific, IFC-based workflows.

“Our goal is to help designers gain a deeper understanding of BIM and everything that surrounds it,” said Jiri Hietanen, CEO and co-founder of Datacubist Oy. “The key to delivering valuable BIM data is to clearly understand the specific requirements of the receiver, and then to use the right workflow and tools for delivering relevant and reliable design information. Through this partnership, we hope to further equip designers to make better BIM decisions and with more precision and reliability than ever before, whether they are a BIM novice or expert.”

To learn more about Vectorworks Architect software and simplebim, visit our website.

Design visionaries of the past understood that great architecture emerges when you challenge convention and present something unexpected to the world. So to help you delve into the mindsets of innovative architects like Melnikov, Eiffel, and Perrault, as well as explore their connections to the visionaries of today, Nemetschek Vectorworks is launching a free series of webinars focused on the “Art in Architecture.”

“Architects throughout history have utilized their creativity to produce pioneering designs, pulling inspiration from everyday objects, abstract concepts, and even each other,” says Steve Alden, AIA, architect at Nemetschek Vectorworks and series presenter. “We’re excited to announce this webinar series and share how today’s most expressive designers are influenced by the visionary minds of the past and how they use technology to enable imaginative designs that transform the world.”

Each webinar is eligible for 1 AIA Learning Unit (LU), so we hope you’ll join us for these thought-provoking learning opportunities!

Oct. 29, 2:00 p.m. ET: Melnikov – Early Sparks of Russian Iconic Architecture (1 AIA LU)
Follow the career of a visionary architect as he discovered how to rethink everything he thought he knew about design and found himself transformed by the experience. Konstantin Melnikov was a Russian architect caught up in social upheaval during a time of great revolutionary change. Learn how the roots of modern architecture can be traced directly back to the events of 1917 Russia, and compare how today’s iconic architecture flows naturally from the past.

Nov. 19, 2:00 p.m. ET: Small Iconic Architecture (1 AIA LU)
Iconic architecture is springing up in urban settings more and more since the advent of powerful computer technology. But even before the computer, there was a desire to create a dramatic statement through architecture. This webinar will examine the link between a designer’s desire for expression and the capability of technology to enable its realization. The presentation will focus on smaller projects and feature examples from both the past and present.

Dec. 17, 2:00 p.m. ET: Four French Architects You Should Know – Eiffel, Prouvé, Perrault, and Ricciotti (1 AIA LU)
This webinar will discuss the lives and influences of Gustave Eiffel, Jean Prouvé, Dominique Perrault, and Rudy Ricciotti. Participants will discover the interconnections among their work and examine the technology that supported their design solutions.

Follow @Vectorworks online and use #ArtInArch to participate in the conversation and tell us your ideas about iconic architects.