The Manazuru Peninsula unfolds into scenic Sagami Bay in a shape reminiscent of a crane with outstretched wings. This peaceful locale, home to the Kazumasa Nakagawa Art Museum, Cape Manazuru, and the centuries-old Kifune-jinja Shrine, revolves around an appreciation for the sea. It’s this seaside aesthetic that the design team at MOUNT FUJI ARCHITECTS STUDIO called upon when designing Shore House, which recently earned the firm the Japan Institute of Architects’ Best New Architect Award, honoring talented architects and their work.

© Ken’ichi Suzuki

Situated in the rolling hills at the base of the peninsula, Shore House is enclosed by trees from the land but remains wide open to the Pacific Ocean, offering stunning views of the rich, natural surroundings without sacrificing privacy. These surroundings create an ideal vacation home that sates the client’s love of beachcombing and desire for a retreat to enjoy with friends and family.

© Ken'ichi Suzuki

© Ken’ichi Suzuki

The form of Shore House is inspired by the family’s enthusiasm for beachcombing. By taking a variety of materials washed upon the shore and heeding their individual voices and characteristics, the materials come together logically into a form expressing how they hope to be. In this instance, an order is not an absolute dictate but rather a dynamic and supple state that continuously adjusts through considering the relationship between materials and environment. In the same way, Shore House is arranged in a manner that could be seen as chaotic but is actually a reflection of, and adaption to, its environment.


© Ken’ichi Suzuki

Designed with Vectorworks Fundamentals software, the building is divided into three sections of different sizes, each positioned in a way that simultaneously clashes and complements the others. This disorganization follows the landscape’s natural contours, such as the edge of the sea, the tree line, and the intangible solidity of space, creating a dialogue between the structure and its surroundings. Shore House’s harmonious design aesthetic also prompted the inclusion of multiple terraces along the edges of the building, providing more places for the occupants to take in the striking scenery.


© Ken'ichi Suzuki

© Ken’ichi Suzuki

“The dialogue relationship between the architecture and the nearby geography allows the design to expand endlessly because the order of the design is open to the surroundings,” says Masahiro Harada, principal of MOUNT FUJI ARCHITECTS STUDIO. “The purpose of our design is to create a benevolent harmony between Shore House and the world.”

© Ken'ichi Suzuki

© Ken’ichi Suzuki

To view more of MOUNT FUJI ARCHITECTS STUDIO’s work, visit their portfolio.

Each year at the AIA National Convention, a select number of architects who are making outstanding contributions to the industry through design excellence, furthering the field of architectural education, or advancing the profession are elevated as Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. It’s a tremendous honor that has been bestowed on a select few AIA members, including Janis Kent, architect, CASp. We recently sat down with Kent to learn more about what makes her stand out in her field and pick up a few tips on accessibility planning. Here’s what we learned:

Kent has made a powerful niche for herself within the architecture industry as an expert in all things related to accessibility. Since the mid-80s, California-based Kent has worked as an architect, consultant, and speaker, focusing much of her energy on surveying facilities for accessibility compliance and providing quality control expertise throughout the United States.

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Kent’s position as a thought leader within the industry was solidified by the publication of Stepping Thru Accessibility Details, now in its second edition. Her ability to guide readers through the many complexities of securing compliance with the standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in both her book and seminars, made Kent a standout choice for the AIA Fellowship.

“Elevation to the College of Fellows resonates with me on a number of levels,” says Kent. “It’s been a long time since someone was recognized for their work with accessibility. This is such an important topic, yet often it is not acknowledged nor fully grasped and implemented. Being elected represents a big step for access in the built environment.”

Accessibility is a topic of increasing importance. Kent implores that it’s a growing cultural imperative, especially with an aging Baby Boomer generation making up a significant demographic in the United States, requiring spaces to be more accommodating.

According to Kent, there are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re designing for accessibility:

1. Remember the answer to all accessibility questions is often, “It depends.”

When you’re designing spaces for commercial purposes, things are rarely cut and dry. Instead, there are federal, state, and local laws and guidelines that can affect your accessibility considerations. Take, for example, whether you must include an elevator in an older two-story commercial building. “The answer to this, of course, is it depends,” says Kent.

The size, function, location, and type of construction determine whether you are required to include an elevator. If a building has less than 3,000 square feet per floor or only has two stories, an elevator is not generally required. However, if it contains retail spaces, medical facilities, or public agencies, vertical accessibility must be provided.Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 2.02.49 PM

2. Accessibility considerations are like a jigsaw puzzle.

Designing for people with disabilities adds a layer of complexity to even the most thorough BIM workflows. With each requirement from the ADA, state law, and city guideline, each corner and room you’re virtually constructing becomes a more complicated riddle.

Kent remarks that restrooms are one of the more difficult spaces to design because they have “so many different requirements. It’s like a large jigsaw puzzle that changes every time you find a piece that fits. You’re constantly working to make everything align properly.”

To avoid frustration, be sure that you’re educated about each law and guideline that will affect your building in advance – and employ BIM workflows to minimize excessive redrawing of existing plans.

3. Understand that permits don’t always mean ADA compliance.

“Many owners, developers, architects, and other design professionals believe that their building permits or certificates of occupancy signify compliance with ADA requirements and local guidelines” says Kent. “However, there’s no single agency that can provide approval for your project or product across the federal, state, and local levels.”

As such, do your research, know your field, and communicate openly with the would-be owner of your project as it is ultimately their responsibility to assure ADA and other accessibility compliance.

Have accessibility questions? Head on over to Kent’s blog to learn more.

Drumroll please…!

For the fourth year in a row, Vectorworks software products have received “BEST of SHOW” awards from Architosh during the AIA Convention. The leading online magazine dedicated to CAD and 3D software professionals and students worldwide, Architosh presents “BEST of SHOW” honors to the top design technologies making waves in the architectural industry. Vectorworks Designer 2015 won in this year’s Desktop category and Vectorworks Nomad 3.0 was one of three winners in the Mobile category.

As a complete BIM modeling tool, Vectorworks Designer 2015 “packs a big punch in the area of visualization and rendering options. And Vectorworks 2015 gave an official ‘thumbs up’ for 4K displays, something its peers have not yet done,” said Anthony Frausto-Robledo, AIA, LEED AP, the editor-in-chief of

With a perfect score at the product review level, Vectorworks Designer 2015 took first place in the Desktop category because of its industry-leading landscape architecture tools, new site modeling capabilities, and its competitive pricing model. No matter where you are in your workflow, Vectorworks Designer gives users the freedom to create from within a single platform – and that’s a remarkable tool.

In contrast to the Desktop awards, the Mobile category recognizes innovative software solutions that make designing on mobile devices easy and useful to your workflow, employing their strengths as lightweight, cloud-connected hardware.

Vectorworks NomadNomad 3.0 “gained a lot more power when the Vectorworks Graphics Module (VGM) technology was ported to the iOS environment, powering its new game-like 3D navigation with excellent rendering capacity,” said Frausto-Robledo. “This added much to an already solid cloud-driven solution that allows for dissemination of information, mark-up, and round-tripping information back to the CAD/BIM environment.”

Click here to learn more about Vectorworks Designer 2015 and click here to explore Nomad 3.0.

By Ryan Kirk, CEO, Propared & President/Founder, Tinc Productions

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, every job presents new and interesting challenges. Through my 15 years working in the live event world, I’ve gleaned a handful of principles that have best positioned me for success, both on the job and in booking the next. Some of these I learned the hard way and others I learned from the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege to work with. Over time, I realized each experience has better prepared me for the many situations we live event pros encounter over the course of our careers. I hope they work for you, too!

Lightroom Edits-10 copy

  • Appropriately set expectations for your crew and colleagues before the work begins. Make sure everybody knows some basic, high level information (e.g., what the project is, the major players in the room, who is in charge of specific tasks, and what goals need to be accomplished by the end of the day). This will go a long way toward helping the team prioritize their work, allowing them to make proactive decisions that keep the project on track.
  • There is never just one client. When we work in events, everyone we work around is potentially our boss or colleague on the next job. The individual or organization paying for the event, other members of the management team, crew, vendors, suppliers, strangers who happen to be on site for a different purpose, and even the venue itself, could want to hire or work with us us tomorrow. Treating everyone as your client and showing each individual respect and consideration will set you up for long-term success.
  • Do your homework. If there is something you can plan prior to the event, do it. Make detailed site survey notes and learn how to create and read basic drafting. Nothing can derail a job faster than having the wrong materials for the space. Use high quality drafting technology such as Vectorworks software to make sure that those expensive video walls are going to fit through the door before you get onsite.
  • Do your homework, part 2. Let each event inform and teach you about what went well and what you would do differently. Keep these lists and before the next job, go through and prepare yourself. If you have questions, research the answers and gather feedback from colleagues. Assess the tools you used: how did they work, what techniques can you use again or acquire? Constantly hone your craft and continue to learn. There are always new techniques and technologies that can keep you at the top of your game.
  • Give back. We have all benefited from the guidance of life-changing mentors and colleagues. Those who came before us laid the groundwork for our success and then turned around to share their knowledge and expertise gleaned over decades of hard work. It’s our responsibility to do the same for those aspiring live event professionals joining the industry today. Teach a workshop, lead a master class, or donate time and resources to non-profit organizations. Not only does this improve our own understanding of the work we do, but it also ensures that our industry continues to move forward, raising our collective quality of work and career security.

Looking to expand your understanding of how building information modeling (BIM) transforms the design process while earning 1 HSW LU? We have just the answer with our latest article in the May issue of Architectural Record. Written by Peter Arsenault, FAIA, “Building Information Modeling as a Design Process” presents a compelling look at the future of architecture.

AR Graph

Image courtesy of Richard Garber, AIA, and GRO Architects, PLLC


Arsenault writes that working with BIM from the earliest design stages “allows total flexibility when making design changes or alterations,” giving architects, contractors, and more the freedom to build, assess, and analyze within the realistic landscape of a virtual workspace. Moving beyond drawings and models, BIM processes use “designer-defined information to create buildings electronically, in effect building them first within the virtual environment of BIM.”

This represents a paradigm shift from a linear “possible-to-real” approach to a dynamic “virtual-to-actual” approach that centralizes all aspects of the design process, as well as delivery of services, creation of deliverables, and construction. With an integrated system that takes you from design to construction, you can effectively reduce costs, save time, and manage your projects with ease.

The BIM process does more than create virtual buildings; it develops a functional environment for virtual reality experimentation. If all of your data exists within your BIM design, you can easily test for sustainability, analyze energy efficiency, and quickly make changes that, years ago, would have required intensive time at the drafting table.

Image courtesy of GRO Architects, PLLC


Still, many traditionalists see BIM workflows as antithetical to the drafting board. In reality, it reconnects modern architects with the role of “Master Builder” through the iterative process of modeling the building, engaging in the selection of materials, and overseeing the construction process. Equipped with a collaborative, cohesive BIM workflow, designs are transformed into actualizations that include everything from building materials to assembly techniques.

Read the full article and take the online test to better understand how to marry your design process with BIM standards while earning your Continuing Education credit.

A design is more than a representation of an individual’s ideas; it’s a reflection of their experiences, environment, and the time in which they live. In short, design is a physical manifestation of a culture, an expression of a society’s values and ideology. That’s why we’ve created the fourth edition of MODUS News magazine: a collection of incredible projects, each designed with Vectorworks software by visionary architects, that provide a snapshot of the world’s diverse and captivating cultures. So begin your exploration and find the inspiration you need to transform the world.

MODUS 4 cover

The fourth edition of MODUS News showcases award-winning work from world-renowned designers, including:

  • Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy
    McGregor Coxall, Australia
  • Rijksarchief Bruges
    Salens Architecten, Belgium
  • Ridge House
    Simcic + Uhrich Architects, Canada
  • Mediatheque de Thionville
    Dominique Coulon et Associés, France
    Holzer Kobler Architekturen, Germany
  • D.T. Suzuki Museum
    Yoshio Taniguchi, Japan
  • MoMA Redesign
    Yoshio Taniguchi, Japan
  • Bin Nisf Headquarters
    The Associated Architects Partnership, Kuwait / Portugal
  • Rozet Cultural Center
    Neutelings Riedijk Architects, Netherlands
  • Würth Haus Rorschach
    Gigon/Guyer, Switzerland
  • University of Oxford Biochemistry Building
    Hawkins\Brown, United Kingdom
  • Clyfford Still Museum
    Allied Works Architecture, United States

You can get your own copy of MODUS 4, complete with project descriptions, firm bios, and, of course, beautiful images, by emailing Still need more inspiration? Check out the online editions of MODUS News 1, MODUS News 2, and MODUS News 3.

If you’ve heard about the exciting features coming in Vectorworks 2016, you can see them for yourself at booth #3181 at the AIA Convention 2015, where Vectorworks Architect experts are on hand to answer all your questions about the current version of the software, as well as preview three tools we know you’ll love once 2016 hits the market this fall:

  • Marionette: As the first and only cross-platform graphical scripting environment available in a BIM authoring tool, Marionette lets Vectorworks Architect users create complex design variations and intelligent parametric objects in a Python-based environment.
  • Energos: Vectorworks Architect users can make critical performance decisions based on real-time feedback directly in their models with Energos, the only BIM authoring tool that uses the highly respected Passivhaus calculation method to create building energy use analysis results.
  • Project Sharing: Design teams will be able to work concurrently in the same Vectorworks file using
a multi-user environment to streamline project workflows, enhance collaboration, and document designs.

AIA 2015 BoothWhile you’re at our booth, ask about our exciting new cloud technology updates: Vectorworks Cloud Services 3.5 and Remote App 1.1. The improved Cloud Services App gives you control of the time and frequency of your uploads to cloud storage and comes with enhanced visibility settings, meaning you can toggle your model’s visible layers while working on your mobile device. Version 3.5 also runs on Vectorworks 2015 Service Pack 3, providing a more stable user experience. The updated Remote App lets you navigate through your designs from mobile devices, which now includes Android products.

You can also find us outside booth #3181. We’re sponsoring educational sessions every day of the convention at the Georgia World Congress Center:

  • Better IPD Using the National BIM Standard: United States (1 AIA LU)
    May 14, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room B406
    Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Assoc. AIA, IES
    Vice-Chair, National BIM Standard – United States® Version 3 Project Committee, Austin, Texas and Architect Product Specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks
  • Sketch to BIM: A Design Workflow Philosophy (1 AIA LU)
    May 15, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room A411
    Steven Alden, AIA, NCARB
    Director of US Sales and Marketing, Nemetschek Vectorworks, Columbia, Maryland
  • BIM and the New Master Builder (1AIA LU, GBCI)
    May 16, 12:30-1:30 p.m., CE Theater C, Booth 4333
    Rob A. Glisson, AIA,
    Principal, ROJO ARCHITECTURE, LLC, Tampa, Florida

Visit the Vectorworks Cloud Services page to download our updated Apps and stay tuned for further updates on Vectorworks 2016 software as we get closer to its release.

The results from the fifth annual NBS National BIM Report are in, and Vectorworks Architect software has been named the most popular CAD program in the United Kingdom. Out of the hundreds of designers who completed the survey, 29 percent of respondents said that they use Architect for designing with a BIM workflow. This comes as no surprise, as the number of Vectorworks Architect, Spotlight, and Landmark users in the U.K. has grown dramatically over the past five years.

NBS 2015One of the primary factors behind this growth is Vectorworks Architect’s ability to support a legal mandate requiring BIM deliverables for significantly sized, government-funded projects in the U.K. by 2016.

“We’ve witnessed a rapid and widespread adoption of BIM workflows from our customers, and we’re committed to further enhancing our software’s capabilities as a BIM tool and promoting BIM workflows that are collaborative and free from the constraints of any single tool or vendor’s platform,” said Sean Flaherty, CEO at Nemetschek Vectorworks.

Over 8,700 new designers in the U.K. chose a Vectorworks program as their design solution over the past five years, and as the 2016 mandate draws closer, more architects are utilizing Architect software, contributing to a 44 percent increase in new U.K. users in 2014.

“We are using 3D modeling from the outset on most projects now,” said Robert O’Leary of O’LearyGoss Architects, a 12-person firm in Bristol, U.K. that uses Vectorworks Architect for residential development, healthcare and community design. “Modeling allows us to examine design solutions in context ourselves. We also enjoy less risk of errors between different drawing types, and the ease of generating plan sections and elevations once a change is made.”

Read the full NBS report here.

Helping to create an environment where people can connect with their spiritual side is challenging, especially across 12 campuses — each of which is large enough to be called a “megachurch” — but this scenario is just another day at the office for Church of the Highlands‘ Lighting Director Brian Worster.

“Everything we do is to empower the people of the church to do ministry,” Worster says. “We have a lot of lighting elements you’d find in a concert, like Martin MAC Vipers, 250 Washes, and Auras, but if you aren’t careful, the lights can be distracting rather than complementary. We work to make sure that we don’t overpower the message of the service by being too flashy.”

OpelikaLaunch_095FEB0115The lighting design itself is just one facet of Worster’s work. Ensuring consistency across multiple services at all 12 campuses is one of the trickiest parts of his job. While Church of the Highlands has a team of three full-time lighting designers at the main campus in Birmingham, much of the real-time lighting is done by a group of over 60 trained volunteers from the congregation known as the “Dream Team.”

“We teach them the technical stuff of course,” Worster says. “But we also share our philosophy about lighting during a worship service — creating an environment that doesn’t distract from the main event. However, once they know our style, individual designers have a certain level of freedom to adjust things based on their venue and the style of their Campus Pastors. I could program the lighting for everyone every week and it would be technically perfect, but it’s much more rewarding to give them the information and watch them do it for themselves.”

As many of the volunteers, as well as the church’s leadership, aren’t trained lighting designers or technicians, Vectorworks Spotlight software plays a critical role in helping Worster to communicate his creative visions. Spotlight’s ability to take detailed 2D plans, quickly produce 3D renderings, and share PDFs from the view of the actual camera positions in the model helps everyone to understand Worster’s ideas and ensures that the heart of the services are consistent no matter where or when they’re seen.

Highlands- MotionAnother important part of Worster’s workflow is using Vectorworks partner products from Landru Design. Since most of the songs played during the services have corresponding video components, the VideoScreen tools are integral to many of his designs. The SoftGoods 2 plug-in objects also helps him communicate where all of the pipe-and-drape runs need to be positioned to give churchgoers the best experience.

“Andy Dunning over at Landru Designs is like my Yoda,” Worster says. “He has been an incredible resource, friend, and mentor. I grew up going to concerts that he designed, so it’s really cool that I get to call him up now with questions.”

To learn more about Vectorworks plug-ins from Landru Design, visit our Partner Products page. And to see more of Worster’s work for Church of the Highlands, check out their website.

With looming deadlines and increasing workloads, the last thing any designer wants is to waste time—especially when that time could be better spent focusing on creativity! That’s why this month’s tech roundup is focused on tips for helping you do integral tasks quickly and more easily.

Survey data comes in multiple formats, including text files, which can be used to help you map out a site for your landscape or architectural design. Watch this short video, and we’ll show you how to transform data into a site model with just a few simple steps by importing a text survey file containing coordinate information.



When you’re working with NURBS surfaces, you often want to make changes as your design progresses. This video shows you the multiple ways that Vectorworks software lets you easily and efficiently modify these surfaces using vertices and settings that you control.



As always, if you have any questions about these videos or your Vectorworks software, reach out to us at or tweet at us @VectorworksHelp.