Using Vectorworks

Architects have a host of digital tools available to design and deliver buildings and landscapes. Each platform has its strengths and it is tempting to use each one for their special charms in a workflow. However, that is where time can trickle through ones fingers; the gaps between one and the other involving importing and exporting, rescaling and recallibrating, juggling layers, classes and origins.

Luckily these programmes are learning from each other, so more can be done within one workspace. Vectorworks is a programme favoured by ourselves, and many other design orientated architectural practices, as it has a pretty user-friendly interface. Crucially Vectorworks has developed the capacity to deliver BIM, which is short for Building Information Modelling. What does that mean?

From 2016 architects working on UK public sector contracts needed to adopt BIM. BIM is a working practice where a 1:1 digital model of a building is created which is then developed and shared with other consultants, contractors and future users of a building. The model includes a database which will eventually become so granular that every screw will be logged in the internet of things and tagged to the buildings with all its specific properties and expiry date.

This week we met the CEO, Head of Product Development and Product Marketing Manager of Vectorworks in our studio to discuss the development of the product. The team were over from the USA for the UK Vectorworks 2018 conference. They were keen to meet the group of architects we had gathered, who work in practices of varying sizes, with very different types of work, to identify shared issues and stumbling blocks. We all like the new agility and improved workflows in the 3D modelling tools, which allow you zoom into the internal spaces and back out to the urban scale. We like the way we can chop and change a model and instantly see the impact across a raft of drawings. We like the control we have over the aesthetics of our drawn work.

We just want everything with fewer and fewer clicks, more agility and automation within templates and spreadsheets, and less of what we call ‘housework’. Us creatives, developing complex products, would rather not get our heads around even the most politely demanding software. By rights software should wrap itself around our thought processes and working practices, quiet-like, in the background. Until then we hope to keep meeting up with our new friends at Vectorworks and great collaborating practices.