An English version of SimTread 2, a pedestrian simulation program, is now available as a plug-in exclusively for Vectorworks 2014 software. Developed through a partnership between A&A Co. Ltd., Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and Takenaka Corporation, SimTread lets you simulate and analyze crowd movement and plan evacuations using tools that integrate into projects you’ve already designed. The plug-in works for both Mac and Windows.

“SimTread lets Vectorworks users design with confidence by identifying crowded areas and factors that inhibit or change circulation flow,” said Dr. Biplab Sarkar, Chief Technology Officer at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “It therefore expedites the iterative design process and helps to determine the best designs for safe traffic flows. Plus, several new features enhance SimTread’s crowd movement simulations, such as creating events that trigger action, the addition of wheelchair objects, and being able to program barriers to appear or disappear, mimicking actions such as the opening and closing of doors.”

SimTread’s safety and planning features let you add disaster preparedness information into your designs. The plug-in is therefore perfect for public safety, facilities management, and event, municipal, or campus planning professionals, ensuring that when your project goes to bid, you can show that you’re ready for anything and that you have the graphs and charts to prove it. You can easily generate simulations by creating destinations, specifying wall, column, and furniture locations, and then inserting people into your design. You can even adjust the traveling speeds to account for children, older people, and people who use wheelchairs.

“Creating simulations with SimTread is easy, and you don’t need to be a CAD or BIM expert to use it,” said Rubina Siddiqui, Assoc. AIA, Senior Product Specialist—BIM Solutions at Nemetschek Vectorworks. “The tool is intuitive, giving Vectorworks users the flexibility they need to create simulations based on their Vectorworks drawings or on various file formats imported into Vectorworks, such as PDF, image, and DWG files.”

Watch a demo video here, and visit our industry partners page to learn more.

Earlier this month, our own Industry Product Specialist Frank Brault led a weeklong class at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas on the theatrical applications of digital drafting. During his intensive session, Brault shared career advice gleaned from his more than 30 years of industry experience and taught design techniques using various CAD programs, including Vectorworks Spotlight software.

Jim Woodward – Exhibit Logic

Brault’s class covered everything from the fundamentals of Vectorworks software to some of the more hidden gems that help designers work more efficiently. We thought we’d share them with you, too:

  1. Use Container Objects: Container objects wrap a shell of values around some geometry, so you can edit both parts separately. Container objects make it easier to create and edit complex objects. Extrudes, Solids, Viewports, Spaces, Plants, and Lighting Devices are all examples of Containers in the Vectorworks software.
  2. Take Advantage of Stacking Order: You can manipulate the order of objects as they are drawn with the Send to Back and Send to Front menu commands. With these commands, you can place a filled object (e.g., a table) partially on top of a set of chairs, so that the chairs appear tucked in without cutting them in half.
  3. Utilize Resources: Resources reduce a file’s size and make it easy to manage repeated elements in the model. Resource instances in a document can be edited globally by adjusting the definition in the Resource Browser.
  4. Automatically Set Working Planes: You can set the working plane automatically when you use planar objects such as the Rectangle or Circle object. This lets you work on any plane without having to draw first on the ground plane and then align the object to the desired plane.
  5. Locate Objects with Snapping: Snapping is used to accurately locate specific points on objects in the model without measuring. This saves time and increases accuracy while building and editing a model. Vectorworks software’s snapping works best when engaged continuously, so just set it and forget it. This feature makes it intuitive to find points in space by displaying a cue or screen hint.

Jim Woodward – Exhibit Logic

Brault’s curriculum also included time spent outside the classroom as students went behind-the-scenes at various productions to learn about stagecraft hands-on. Brault wanted students to understand the depth of their work. “It’s not just about lighting a show; rather, it’s about how you can bring your area of expertise to make the show a conceptual experience,” Brault said. “It’s about how the lighting can enhance the whole production, the scenery, script, music, etc.”


Are you ready to learn more about Vectorworks Spotlight? Visit our Training page for details about self-paced tutorials, as well as our classroom, on-site, and virtual education offerings.


We’ve just released the latest update to the 3D Modeling with Vectorworks training manual. So if you’re ready to turn simple designs into advanced, complex shapes and produce professional-quality 3D models, be sure to add this book to your library today.

Through written step-by-step instruction, informative videos, and practical tutorials, author and expert Vectorworks trainer Jonathan Pickup covers everything from understanding tools and commands to developing basic models and creating final projects. Pickup also reveals how to maximize your creative potential by drawing with objects rather than lines and placing those drawings on working planes in order to produce advanced models using simple tools.

“This manual covers one of the best capabilities of Vectorworks software, creating 3D models,” Pickup said. “It is really fun and rewarding to create the forms you want and be able to move around them to view your work from different angles.”

This sixth edition of the 3D Modeling with Vectorworks manual ships as a hard copy with a DVD-ROM containing exercise folders. Pickup wrote the update for Vectorworks 2014 software.

Start your next project in 3D! U.S. customers can order the manual online on our eStore. For sales outside the U.S., contact your local distributor.

Running out of office space is a typical issue businesses face, but addressing that problem with repurposed shipping containers sitting atop one’s roof is certainly unusual. Luckily for our eager minds and eyes, a confident architectural team that designs with Vectorworks software did just that at the KRAFTWERK building in Wil, Switzerland.

Roger Edelmann of Arson Architektur AG used Vectorworks Architect software to figure out how to transform two, 45-foot-long metal boxes into a 13.7m by 2.43m office space that was both comfortable and functional. The program allowed Edelmann to tackle some major issues that arose from using such a unique building material, as even small alterations to the structure of a shipping container can cause it to collapse. Using Vectorworks Architect, Edelmann could design freely and explore multiple solutions to the challenges he faced while accounting for vapor diffusion, thermal insulation, and heat recovery ventilation.

Edelmann actually created a space so stylish and different that midway through the process, one of the building’s tenants, a fitness center owner, said he liked the project so much that he wondered if the intended office space could be converted into a modern living space he could inhabit. Edelmann liked the idea and invited IKEA to join the project team, relying on their knowledge about small-space living to furnish the apartment with a full bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room, study, and a sizeable terrace. Edelmann used Vectorworks Architect software’s extensive library of design symbols to add even more individuality to this already one-of-a-kind apartment, using portholes as windows to remind the owner about the oceanic origins of his new home.

What problems have you creatively solved with Vectorworks software? Tweet @Vectorworks and share your story.

Photos © IKEA and Arson Architektur AG


If you’re heading to the AIA Convention 2014 in Chicago later this month, be sure to stop by the Vectorworks booth (#3251). We’re offering a dynamic lineup of presentations from award-winning architects and industry specialists, plus the to chance win Wacom Intuos® Pro tablets, learn practical applications of BIM with Vectorworks software, and enter the 2014 Architectural Record Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest.

Our booth presenters will provide all the information you need to successfully turn your 2D ideas into 3D, bid-ready realities. Nathan Kipnis, AIA, LEED BD+C, principal of Kipnis Architecture + Planning, starts things off on Thursday, June 26, with insight into how Vectorworks can help to improve the LEED rating of your design. On Friday, June 27, catch Peter Exley, FAIA, director of architecture at architectureisfun, who will share how he uses Vectorworks software to combine input from kids, clients, and communities into his designs, creating fun yet practical buildings that improve the quality of cities and neighborhoods. Werner Sabo, FAIA, Esq., construction attorney and architect at Sabo & Zahn, follows Exley and will teach attendees about the legal hurdles involved with using BIM, ensuring that your design goes from the screen to the construction site without a hitch.

Check out the entire booth schedule here.

Our own architectural industry and BIM specialists will also be available throughout the convention to demonstrate how Vectorworks software provides the tools needed to transition from CAD to BIM, and create clean and concise documents while still working with your team’s unique workflow.

In addition, booth visitors can enter the 2014 Architectural Record Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest, sponsored by Nemetschek Vectorworks. Architects and related professionals can share their creative concepts on five-inch-by-five-inch cocktail napkins, and all finalists will get their designs published in Architectural Record and in their online gallery. Grand-prize winners will also receive a box of napkins printed with their sketches. “For decades, architects have been famous for using cocktail napkins to sketch out their architectural ideas,” said Laura Viscusi, vice president of McGraw-Hill Construction Media and publisher of Architectural Record, GreenSource and SNAP. “We are delighted to have Nemetschek Vectorworks as a second-year sponsor.”

Finally, enter our daily drawing for a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. You can enter at our booth and then learn about all the ways Vectorworks software can empower your BIM workflow. Hope to see you in the Windy City!

In this month’s tech roundup, we’re featuring the final videos created in the Worksheet Basics series. Be sure to visit our YouTube channel if you have yet to see the first three videos in this series.

This video will explain how to only display specific types of objects that are selected in a Vectorworks worksheet.


This is the final video in the Worksheet Basics series. This video will demonstrate how to add finishing touches to your Vectorworks worksheet, such as format and appearance.


Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on the latest tips and tricks in Vectorworks software.

Graduation ceremonies are wrapping up here in the United States, so we wanted to similarly wrap up our series of articles with tips for emerging professionals. This time, we sought career advice from Vectorworks users in the world of landscape architecture/design and urban planning. Hope you find these words of wisdom useful!

Design by Graham Landscape Architecture. Photo courtesy of Maxwell Mackenzie.

Jay Graham, FASLA, President, Landscape Architect and Architect, Graham Landscape Architecture, Annapolis, Maryland:

  • When applying for jobs, if a firm says there are no openings, ask for an information interview. You will get so much in return from seeing multiple offices. When else can you have access to so many different design firms?
  • In your portfolio, try to show your process, not just final products. People want to understand how you think.

Todd Marshall McCurdy, FASLA, Vice President, Director of Landscape Architecture + Planning, MORRIS, Orlando, Florida:

  • Even if you were the star of your graduating class, your education has just begun! Be humble, be open-minded, be willing to collaborate, and continue to learn.
  • Don’t let changes knock you off guard. Instead, take them in stride, and see if you can improve your previous work by including them in a creative way. Ask questions, but think, too!
  • Join ASLA, and get involved. It’s a great way to network, meet people in your profession, and find a mentor. Learn from your peers how to speak, how to think, and how to see the world.
  • Whether you use markers, colored pencils, 3D computer models, or some combination thereof, the most important thing to learn is composition. There should be a focal point in your composition that your eye is drawn to, and any elements, people, cars, trees, bike racks, parking meters, light poles, etc. that you add should improve the composition; if they don’t, leave them out.

Design by McGregor Coxall.

Adrian McGregor, FAILA, RLA, MAIH, MPIA, Managing Director, McGregor Coxall, Sydney, Australia:

  • Approach your first gig with an open mind and make an effort to meet and mingle with your new team. Be inquisitive and ask people what they are working on. Most will be proud to explain what they are doing, and you will gain valuable insight into the kinds of work the firm is undertaking. Try to build friendships and be a team player.
  • Make an effort to volunteer for different assignments that may be outside your comfort zone. By challenging yourself, you will learn more quickly and develop a portfolio of skills.
  • Become conversant with 3D modeling as it will help hone your design ability.

Janine Pattison, MSGD, MBALI, Director, Janine Pattison Studios, London, United Kingdom:

  • Never miss the opportunity to visit gardens. Each one can teach you something — a new landscaping material, a new way of using it, or an inspired planting combination.
  • Stay alert to what you can learn from other creative fields — theatre design, art, and architecture can give you new inspiration and a new way of looking at things.

To learn more about some of the projects these designers have completed with Vectorworks Landmark software, read our Landscape Success Stories. Also, be sure to check out the products, services, and resources available through our student2PRO program to help you launch your career.

Congratulations once again to our recent graduates!

Congratulations to Hamilton + Aitken Architects (H&A), whose Maritime Center  earned them an Honor Award for Historic Preservation at the AIA San Francisco’s 2014 Design Awards. The program celebrates outstanding achievements in architecture and design by Bay Area individuals and organizations, as well as professionals from other places who contribute to the framework of the local built environment.

Built in 1943 to provide childcare for Rosie the Riveters working in nearby shipyards during World War II, the Maritime Center in Richmond, CA was the first publicly funded child development center in the United States. While constructed as a temporary structure to fulfill a wartime need, the center remained in continuous operation for over 50 years. However, the original building lacked a concrete foundation and had settled unevenly over time, making it structurally unsound. It had also fallen into disrepair, having been abandoned for several years.

San Francisco-based H&A rehabilitated the center while adapting it for new uses and achieving LEED Gold for Schools Certification. The Maritime Center re-opened as a multi-use educational facility: a K-2 charter school (Richmond College Prep), a nonprofit headquarters (Richmond Community Foundation), and a National Park Service site with a preserved classroom open for public tours.

“This project connects today’s generation to my parents’ generation, bringing a unique bit of Homefront and WWII history to life right where kids are learning,” said H&A’s Principal Chad Hamilton, AIA. “It was a great honor to get to work on such a fascinating and multi-layered project. Animating spaces with meaning, revealing their unique stories, and making that available to the building’s users enhances the built environment, which is always what our firm strives for.”

Established in 1992 by Hamilton and Susan Aitken, H+A’s primary focus is education and public facility design. H+A views public facility design as an opportunity to spark imagination, support institutional identity, and enhance performance. “We believe that good design grows out of the human use of space,” says Hamilton. “Rather than imposing a specific style or ideology from the outside, we develop designs that evolve from program and the way people use and enjoy space. Our designs are uniquely appropriate to the client, the natural surroundings, the site, and the community involved.”

Hamilton adds that the biggest challenge for the Maritime Center was the historic preservation of the fabric of the building while meeting LEED Gold requirements. “Vectorworks software’s integrated data functions helped us quickly quantify and demonstrate LEED requirements such as the amount of structural and interior building reuse, the percentages of recycled and local materials and FSC-certified wood, as well as daylighting and energy calculations,” he says. “We used the software’s BIM modeling capabilities to visualize how our sustainable strategies could work in concert with the project’s preservation efforts – restoring and adding skylights; bringing back glazed walls and doors to the classrooms; and saving features such as the original exit slide from the second story. In addition, our 3D models helped us visualize design options with our staff, the client, and the building’s users.”

Hamilton also compliments Vectorworks software’s ability to give his firm an advantage when it comes to creating clear, concise, and bid-ready documents. “The software allows us detect clashes and errors in the model before they occur in the field where they are costly. This helps our public projects stay on budget and on schedule, which keeps our clients coming back.”

Photos courtesy of Eric Chiu.

To continue our series of articles offering career advice to recent graduates and emerging professionals, here’s what 10 Vectorworks software users in the field of architecture and interior design have to say. We also sprinkled in some inspirational images from additional users. Enjoy!

Peter Exley, FAIA, Director of Architecture, Architecture Is Fun, & Adjunct Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL:

  • Your first job is very important. It’s formative, and you will learn habits that will last a lifetime. Set the bar of expectation high, and find an opportunity that reflects your values and ambitions. You will trace all of your future professional successes back to the experiences of this first post-graduate job.
  • Find a mentor and meet with them regularly. Join your national professional organization (AIA, RIBA, etc.) and participate in the local component’s events immediately. Everyone will be glad to meet you — peers and more established professionals. Designing your network will greatly impact your future career.

Courtesy of Marcelo Maia

Eric A. Gartner, AIA, LEED AP +, Partner, SPG Architects, New York, NY:

  • Be modest and be a team player. This transition into the profession means more collaborating than ever — with clients, with your colleagues, with consultants. Merge your goals with the people around you.
  • Keep on learning. Education continues from this day forward. The day you stop learning is the day your career stops moving forward.

Nate Kipnis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Kipnis Architecture + Planning, Evanston, IL:

  • Understand client and coworker psychology. I deal with higher-end homes, and clients can be very anxious, especially if they don’t understand a design or parts of it, or if they cannot clearly communicate their thoughts, which can be frustrating. Walk them through the floor plan, entering at the entrance and moving through how you would use the space. A little empathy goes a long way.
  • You are not a designer in today’s world if you aren’t consciously designing with sustainability in mind. Do more with what might seem like technical issues and highlight them in the design.

Courtesy of Dmitry Boykov – db-arch studio

Karen Lewis, Interior Designer, The M Group Architects & Interior Architects, Reston, VA:

  • Learn patience. The tools you have at your fingertips are so powerful and can take a drawing from 2D to 3D in an instant. That’s great, but design is also a process. The first thing you come up with isn’t necessarily the end result. Sometimes you come back around to the beginning point, but it is a process and a journey.

Neil Marshall, Director, The Design Büro (Coventry) Ltd, Warwickshire, United Kingdom:

  • Your career is a learning journey, and it never stops. Soak up the knowledge of your peers at every available opportunity.
  • Keep a record of your achievements and photographs of completed work. You never know when you will need them either for yourself or your employer.

Bram Oosterhuis, Interior Designer, Bram Oosterhuis’ Studio, Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

  • Get your hands dirty. Go to construction sites, and get to know the workers. Learn their language and their way of handling things. Mutual understanding helps to get things done.

Courtesy of GDP Architects Sdn Bhd

Darryl Sang, Architect, Sang Architects & Company Limited/Darryl Sang Architects Unlimited, Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand:

  • Spread your artistic wings, whether designing buildings, interior or exterior spaces, doing photography, painting, drawing, performing music, or singing. Experiencing and practicing the arts feeds your creative juices, and you will be a far better designer as a result.
  • Be outrageous. Brilliant design comes from ideas that resolve something in an extraordinary way. Start your thinking with an out-of-the-box design because somewhere in there is a wonderful solution you would not have thought of if you were “practical” too early in the process. There’s plenty of time to be practical later.

Mike Timcheck, Architect, The M Group Architects & Interior Architects, Reston, VA:

  • You need a firm background in 3D modeling. It’ll be expected and something you will be tasked with frequently. Equally important is the ability to communicate. Early on, you will find yourself in a meeting where you need to convey your ideas. Learning to express those design thoughts clearly is critical.

Jessica Wijsenbeek, Designer, oil for live communication, Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

  • Start networking now, even if you’re still in school and even when you’re busy making ends meet. Goodwill and connections are crucial for getting ahead in life.

Frans Willigers, Furniture Designer & Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, The Netherlands:

  • Dealing with clients requires a new mindset: they have their wishes and demands. Do not think of it as a limit to your inspiration. Think of it as a positive challenge, making your design even better.

Check out our Architecture Success Stories to read about projects some of these designers have completed with Vectorworks software.

If you’ve taken a Vectorworks Landmark or interior design training course at Design Software Solutions in the United Kingdom, you’ve experienced Kate Pearson’s talents as a knowledgeable Vectorworks software trainer firsthand. So when Oxley’s Furniture invited her to design their exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014, we were delighted and not the least bit surprised!

Kate Pearson

Kate Pearson uses various plant types to brighten the exhibition space.

Pearson joined the talented team at Design Software Solutions in 2010. Prior to that, she completed her training as a landscape designer at the Oxford College of Garden Design. It was there, during a Vectorworks Landmark training course, where she met Vectorworks trainer and author Tamsin Slatter.

For the show, Vectorworks Landmark software was invaluable; Pearson used the tool to create a concept board, model, plans, sections, and elevations, as well as to calculate quantities. She started by drawing inspiration from Italy, where a high concentration of Oxley’s Furniture’s European customer base resides. She wanted to show off the traditional garden furniture company’s product lines amid a traditional, Italian design. The resulting display focuses on a central axis with a raised platform. This area showcases more casual lounge furniture and provides a meeting area for visitors. In addition, each corner of the space accommodates different-sized furniture and styles.

Pearson’s greatest design challenge was to make a commercial display that was also an inviting garden. To accomplish this, she incorporated five furniture styles, as well as pots, statues, plinths, and a large gazebo. She added a sedum roof and blended it with the garden to provide storage during the show. Pearson incorporated different paving styles in each corner of the space to complement the furniture style on display. She then focused on one paver type for the central raised platform, steps, and paths, for added continuity.

Rendering of Oxley’s Furniture’s stand by Kate Pearson designed in Vectorworks Landmark software.

Her work paid off; Pearson’s design earned Oxley’s Furniture the 5 Star Tradestand Award. You can see her display in person at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show May 20-24, 2014 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. You can also visit Design Software Solutions’ Facebook page to view additional images and to read more about this show as it unfolds.