For the sixth year in a row, we were honored to participate in the annual Renewal & Remembrance beautification project at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), the July 20 event drew more than 400 volunteers from across the United States to improve over a quarter of the cemetery’s historic grounds as part of the green industry’s largest day of public service.


Participants spent time mulching, upgrading sprinklers, cabling and installing lightning protection for the trees, pruning, planting, and liming and aerating the soil at the Arlington National Cemetery. This volunteer work provided an avenue for them to pay their respects to both those who’ve made personal sacrifices for our nation, as well as to those who mourn lost veterans and service members.


“We feel fortunate to be located so close to this historic landmark and have the ability to make an impact on its preservation,” said Eric Gilbey, PLA, landscape industry specialist at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “Every year, our participation is a humbling act of pulling up our sleeves to honor those who’ve fallen while defending our country.”

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Some of the employees from Nemetschek Vectorworks at Monday’s event

While some participants, like Gilbey, have long been passionate about the landscape industry, Renewal & Remembrance has allowed for others to cultivate their own green thumbs. Each year, more employees from Nemetschek Vectorworks volunteer, allowing them to give back to their community while simultaneously engaging with the landscape industry.

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Reflecting on his six years of participation, Gilbey says, “It’s been great to watch more and more of my coworkers participate each year and grow to enjoy creating and nurturing green spaces. As a company supportive of green design, it’s so meaningful for us to be able to leave our mark on such sacred grounds.”

For the first time since its inception a decade ago, the prestigious “Best Architects” competition was opened to design firms from across Europe, rather than solely Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. This wider field yielded 354 submissions, of which 80 received the “Best Architects 16” accolade. Nine of those entries earned the coveted “Best Architects 16 in Gold” award for outstanding quality, including five buildings designed with Vectorworks Architect software.

Graber Pulver Architekten received two Gold awards for both the Energiezentrale Forsthaus in Bern, as well as the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève.

Energiezentrale Forsthaus Photo by Georg Aerni

Energiezentrale Forsthaus
Photo by Georg Aerni

Musée d’ethnographie de Genève Photo by Leo Fabrizio

Musée d’ethnographie de Genève
Photo by Leo Fabrizio

A Gold award also went to Roman Hutter Architektur for the Heidenhaus in Münster, which has already received the Prix Lignum award and the swiss-architects’ “Building of the Week” honor.

Heidenhaus Photo by Markus Käch

Photo by Markus Käch

Giuliani Hönger Architekten took home the Gold with the project Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst in Küsnacht, Switzerland.

Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst  Photo by David Willén

Bürogebäude Wüst und Wüst
Photo by David Willén

Finally, the office of Andreas Fuhrimann/Gabrielle Hächler/Carlo Fumarola/Gilbert Isermann snagged a top honor with their project, Zielturm Rotsee.

Zielturm Rotsee Photo by Valentin Jeck

Zielturm Rotsee
Photo by Valentin Jeck

The jury, comprising of Professor Pia Durisch of Durisch + Nolli Architetti (Massagno, Switzerland), Professor Muck Petzet of Muck Petzet Architekten (Munich, Germany), and Christian Waldner of AllesWirdGut Architektur (Vienna, Austria), noted that this year’s competition was the toughest yet. We’re proud to say that over 40% all firms recognized this year are Vectorworks Architect users.

Check out the “Best Architects” gallery to see the full list of winners.

Carbon-based energy sources are becoming less relevant every day, and while solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power are all viable solutions for the world’s energy needs, the effectiveness of these methods varies by location. That’s where nuclear power comes into play. With the help of Vectorworks Designer software, a small design studio in Vermont, USA, digitalmechanics, used 3D CAD technology to understand the challenging internal geometry of a 1968 theoretical nuclear reactor that runs on thorium, the Earth’s most abundant, energy-rich natural resource. And while the concept behind this type of reactor was abandoned as impractical decades ago, taking a more in-depth look at the technology from a modern viewpoint could yield exciting insights into the future of nuclear energy.

1968.01.01 ORNL - 4528 UC 80 Reactor Blanket Salt In

Watch the following videos showcasing the design workflow for the project to learn more.

To learn more about the thorium reactor and its impact on the history of nuclear energy, read the full article from the Energy from Thorium website.

1968.01.01 ORNL - 4528 UC 80 Reactor Over All

They say the devil is in the details, but the details that give your work a competitive edge don’t have to hinder your workflow. That’s why this month’s tech roundup is all about making your designs the best they can be — whether that means adding an extra touch of style to a model or pulling valuable data out of work that you’ve already produced.

In the first video, we’ll explain how to model realistic curtains and drapes. While these detailed pieces of décor may seem overly complex, they’re actually very simple to make if you know what tools to use. Although, you don’t have to mention their simplicity to your impressed clients!

The next video is a little bit more complex, but it can provide a lot of value to your designs. In less than four minutes, we’ll show you how to pull out the contours of your site model for export to another application. Not only will this wow your clients, but it will also streamline your workflow with your projects’ contractors and anyone else involved in the construction process.

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

Max Conwell designs lighting for some of the most recognized names in music. But perhaps even more impressive than his list of clients, which includes Morrissey, No Doubt, and Incubus, is Conwell’s dedication to entertainment design technology. “When I started freelancing as a lighting technician, it was the infancy of moving lights and scrolling color changers,” says Conwell, founder of Naked Eye Lighting, a design consultancy in the United Kingdom. Those technologies have since matured, and his current work now incorporates exciting emergent techniques like 3D pixel and video mapping. With an established place at the forefront of the entertainment industry, Conwell’s style continues to evolve as he diversifies his portfolio with work in architectural and television lighting, as well.

mor202142121 copyConwell’s success is based on his consideration of both the artist and the audience. This process is highlighted in his recent work with Morrissey. Collaborating with the British star frequently over the last 10 years, Conwell designed an effective workflow where the pair bounce ideas back and forth to ensure that each song in a show is perfectly emphasized by the lights and corresponding video elements. He doesn’t stop with the artist, though. Even the audience is incorporated into the show’s lighting design. “The Morrissey crowd is passionate about him, so I use a fair amount of audience lighting, including spacelights as blinders and overlaying the moving lights and Phillips Nitro strobes, to connect them to the show,” Conwell says.

Conwell Plot copyThe tools in Vectorworks Spotlight software play an important role in Conwell’s workflow, as well, especially since his designs often have to be adapted for different stages in venues all around the world. “Since different countries often require a different set of lighting fixtures, I use Fixture Replace a lot in Spotlight to quickly swap one lamp for another and update patch information, so the local supplier and the touring operator have the same, correct information for each show,” Conwell says. He also takes advantage of the software’s interoperability with other programs like Lightwright and the connectCAD plug-in. “One of the great things about Spotlight is that it talks to everything. I can import and export to pretty much any format, and any changes that I make to my design get automatically updated to the various third-party programs that I use.”

Max-Conwell-L1000403[1] copyTo learn more about Conwell’s work, check out his in-depth case study, which explores how he got his start in the industry and how he’s grown as a designer alongside evolving lighting technology.

By David Seccombe, Director at Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects Ltd

At Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects in the United Kingdom, we are responsible for realizing our clients’ dreams within certain budgetary, structural, and planning limitations. And as a business consistently growing 20 percent a year, we also need to work efficiently. This can be challenging as our clients, who are mainly inthe residential sector, are not always spatially aware or able to make design decisions, requiring the re-issue of complex architectural drawings.

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For 12 years, we have sought to improve the quality of our drawings and our efficiency using Vectorworks software products, which has helped our business grow. We have learned to be patient and respect the tool, knowing that time spent preparing is time well spent. We began designing in 2D for several years, and our adventures in 3D were instigated by one of our recently graduated employees, who quickly realized you could build a 3D model and use it to create perfect sections, plans, and elevations if you took the time to get it right up-front. Our progress in 3D has largely been through self-taught modeling, detailing, hatching, and exploiting the many tools the software has to offer. We have created our own template and style—something any business can achieve.

In order to fully utilize the software, however, I knew we needed some outside support, so in 2012, I called Design Software Solutions, a Vectorworks reseller in the UK, for a consultation. In the space of a day, we saw everything we needed to see, tailored to our business needs and what we could afford. We have enjoyed both their encouragement and support, as well as help from the team at Computers Unlimited, the Vectorworks software distributor in the UK, through our Vectorworks Service Select contract. Together, they helped us continue to develop our unique style over the next several years.

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As our business grew and we took on more staff, I wanted to invest in becoming more efficient. To that end, we met with Tamsin Slatter from Design Software Solutions in 2014, who helped us upgrade our licenses from Vectorworks Fundamentals to Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks.

The speed, advanced tools, and functionality of Architect solved many business struggles for us. For example, the time taken to calculate complex volumetric roof shapes for permitted development has decreased significantly, and the lightning-fast PDF creation pays for the upgrade itself! And the small but significant benefits, like advanced window and door features, make the program a dream to work with.

While I am still a novice with Renderworks, its ability to make our models look fantastic and create realistic shadows has helped us to win planning bids, as well as sell our design ideas to clients. The purchase of Renderworks has been a revelation. We have stopped using other rendering software programs entirely.

We continue to reap the benefits of increased efficiency and create work that our clients can both understand and appreciate. We value the Architect with Renderworks program and have learned that our investment has, and will continue to, help our business grow.

Just like a young adult may struggle to find his or her place in the world, an architectural firm’s early years can be filled with anxiety and challenges. To succeed requires an impressive level of determination and skill, and it’s precisely this success that The Foundation Award honors.

Now in its sixth year, The Foundation Award recognizes young Swiss firms for their design portfolio and creative philosophy, and supports them as they work to achieve their architectural aspirations. The program was created by ComputerWorks AG, the Vectorworks distributor in Switzerland, and is also sponsored by HP Switzerland, web-based culture channel, the online platform swiss-architects, architectural magazine Hochparterre, the Swiss Architecture Museum, and Nemetschek Vectorworks.

The Foundation Award celebration at the Swiss Architecture Museum.

The Foundation Award celebration at the Swiss Architecture Museum.

This year’s winners recently gathered at the Swiss Architecture Museum to toast their future success. Placing third was Liliane Haltmeier and Luise Kister of Haltmeier Kister architecture, a two-person firm that typically produces residential designs in Zürich. The duo believes that a healthy work-life balance allows for architecture to operate every day with “passion, perseverance, and curiosity.”


Wohnüberbauung Schneebeliweg designed by Haltmeier Kister architecture

Runner-up Gerber Odermatt architects (GOA) is also a two-person office. Severin Odermatt and Roger Gerber stress the importance of inspiration as “a gift from the subconscious,” and emphasize the value in a holistic design process.

Second place

Fort House Chopfholz designed by GOA

This year’s first-place winner Alder Clavuot Nunzi architects, received free Vectorworks Architect software with a Vectorworks Service Select membership. Comprised of Matthias Alder, Silvana Clavuot, and Alessandro Nunzi, the office strives to incorporate the rich architectural traditions of the Bergell Mountain region into their work. With each design, they hope to ensure the future of their surrounding environment, from the construction of simple houses to the creation of abstract cable car stations.

First place

Funivia Albigna designed by Alder Clavuot Nunzi architects

Every architectural office was new at some point, and we’re happy to recognize these young, innovative firms for their hard work and resilience. Share this story now if you agree.

What do Japanese art, factories, and protests have in common? Find out as we explore the lives and work of two of the greatest minds of the Art Nouveau movement, Victor Horta and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, in the latest webinar of our Art in Architecture series. Now available on demand, “Art Nouveau and Its Influence on Architecture” delves into this short-lived period in the history of design and its effects on the Modern movement that followed. After watching the webinar, you’ll also be able to take an associated quiz to earn 1 AIA Learning Unit.

Understanding Art Nouveau’s roots requires a look beyond the designs of the time to the major industrial developments of the late 1800s. While the turn of the century was still on the distant horizon, it seemed that the future had already arrived for those who witnessed the coming of the Industrial Revolution.

Born from the advances in mechanized manufacturing in the mid-1700s, the Industrial Revolution prompted a division of labor among workers that began a new era of efficiency while devaluing the skills of artisans and craftsmen to a startling degree. The livelihoods of many designers were compromised along the way, resulting in a new and dynamic development we now call the Arts and Crafts movement, devoted to economic reform that would support artisans and practitioners of the fine arts.

However, this wasn’t the only creative movement of the time. As the world grew technologically, routes of trade and consumption opened across the world. In particular, the so-called “opening of Japan” sparked a surge in cultural appropriation referred to as Japonism, where eastern aesthetic was merged with western style to form something totally new.

It is out of these simultaneous cultural and industrial events that we get Art Nouveau, a new way of practicing design that encompassed everything from architecture to interior design to personal styles and jewelry.

“Art Nouveau is a region-based expression of the Arts and Crafts movement, with cities across Europe and even North America reacting to the changing technology of the times in divergent ways,” says Rubina Siddiqui, Assoc. AIA, senior product specialist of BIM solutions at Nemetschek Vectorworks, who cohosts the series alongside her colleague Architect Steve Alden, AIA, NCARB. “One of the most important things to note is that, unlike the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau designers embraced the Industrial Revolution and new means of production to an extent, incorporating them into a unique style.”

Once you’ve learned about Art Nouveau, sign up for our next Art in Architecture webinar, “Four Japanese Architects You Should Know: Kenzō Tange, Shigeru Ban, Toyo Ito, and Tadao Ando,” which airs July 9 at 2:00 p.m. ET and explores how the history of this island nation influenced each designer’s individual philosophies.

While you’re checking out our Art in Architecture series, be sure to explore the rest of our Inspiration page, which is full of videos to help spark your next great idea.

Seventy percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, and Adrian McGregor doesn’t think urban areas are ready to handle this increase. That’s why the landscape architecture and urban design firm McGregor Coxall is dedicated to preparing the built environment for increased population density, as well as environmental and economic changes in the coming decades.

McGC Staff photo“I’m passionate about the challenges that human beings are facing globally in terms of our environment, and I want to help cities grow in a sustainable way,” says Managing Director McGregor. His approach to design is the subject of a new success story video that explores the firm’s design philosophy and showcases some projects including Ballast Point Park, a transformative reclamation of an abandoned oil lubricant production facility that is now home to an engaging, sustainable public park in Sydney, Australia.


McGregor Coxall’s list of accolades includes the Topos Journal International Landscape Architecture Practice of the Year and the Prime Minister’s Australia Award for Urban Design, to name just a few. Their work encompasses over 300 projects from across Europe, Asia, and Australia, from incredible landscapes like Ballast Point to urban revitalizations like the Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy. This project reorients one of Sydney’s largest Central Business Districts back toward the waterway that it’s built on to create a vibrant public and commercial space while also introducing environmentally friendly design features that improve the health of the river’s ecosystem.

337SU_Parramatta City_McGregor Coxall_07Designers at McGregor Coxall didn’t just think of the environment when creating the Urban Design Strategy. They also considered the people who would use the space. “We’re working with the community and the stakeholders to create a very broad, deep conversation with the city as a whole,” McGregor says. “It’s allowing us to deliver what I think is going to be an important and fantastic project where landscape architecture is shaping the urban environment.”

337SU_Parramatta City_McGregor Coxall_01Explore these projects and McGregor Coxall’s creative process, which includes the use of Vectorworks Landmark software, in our latest written case study.


If time is money, we’re about to save you some serious cash. These quick videos will help you pick up a few tricks that will shorten your workflow, increase your productivity, and let you get back to creative design.

Your light plot is already set up with lighting positions, label legends, and focus points—all you need now are the lights! From gel colors to field values, this video has all the information you need to ensure your light plots are accurate and easy to work with.

DWG files containing 2D topographical information may be helpful to designers, but they aren’t very visually appealing to prospective clients. This three-minute video walks you through transforming this 2D data into a 3D model with just a few simple steps. Your workflow just got a whole lot easier.

If ESP Vision software is a part of your design process, you’ll be happy to learn that ESP Symbols for use in Vectorworks software programs are now Renderworks compliant. That’s right, any model you create with ESP Vision symbols can now be used to create Renderworks stills without any modification. Check out just what you can do in the video below.

Finally, we released Service Pack 4 for Vectorworks 2015 today. You can download the update here or go to the About Vectorworks 2015 dialog box in the Vectorworks menu (Mac users) or Help menu (Windows users) and click Check for Updates.

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