Thursday, February 21, 2008

Creating a Wall under a Sprial or Curved Stair in RAC 2009

Many have asked the question and there's really never been a great way to deal with it...creating a wall that follows the slope of a spiral or curved stair. Well, with the introduction of the Swept Blend in Revit Arch 2009, it can be done quite easily!

Once the program is officially released, I will post more detailed instructions on how you can create something very similar to what I have below... I really just wanted to give you a taste of what's to come with RAC 2009! Since the release of the product isn't finalized (as far as I know), I don't want to spell out the details just in-case something changes with the feature.

Contents of the Swept Blend Sketch... (One of the keys is having the profile high enough to cut the entire wall's height)

The Finished Swept Blend...

The Finished Product! (Yes, I modified the door to show open for this image :))

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Revit Architecture 2009 Updated and New Features!!

It's finally OFFICIAL... as of today we were released from our confidentiality agreement to discuss the new features. Yes, new and updated features for Revit Architecture 2009 can now OFFICIALLY be shared!!

There are 3 main buckets of enhancements...Improved Design and Visualization Tools, Better Control and Flexibility, and Improved User Interaction. I've given a very brief description of each enhancement for now and will post more about each one as time permits. This list may not be all of the enhancements and I will post more as they become available...or I find them! I will also be posting more about each topic with examples through screen shots or small video clips.

Improved Design and Visualization Tools
Rendering Enhancements

  • The AccuRender® rendering engine has been replaced with the mental ray® rendering engine.

Swept Blend

  • A new tool blending a Sweep with a Blend.

Curved Edges in Sloped Slabs

  • You can now have cureved edges in your floors and roof and utilize the Sloping tools.

Mass Floor Area and Volume

  • When you create mass floors, Revit Architecture now calculates the area and perimeter of each mass floor and the exterior surface area and volume of the slice of space above it. Mass floors can be tagged individually and scheduled.

Sloped Pads

  • You can now have sloped Pads by utilizing a Slope Arrow.

Better Control and Flexibility
Room Enhancements

  • Room Volume Calculations can now be set by Level Type, Volume calculation always go to the finish face, Rooms can extend down as well as up, and you can select Rooms in Sections and Elevations.

  • Room Graphics in Section and Elevation views will now display the accurate boundary, you can modify the top and bottom limits with grips, and Color Fills (Schemes) can be applied in Section & Elevation.

  • Room Bounding elements can now be Pads as well as Links.

  • Rooms can be tagged using Tag all not Tagged, Room Tags can now move in other views if the room is moved and the tag resides outside the boundary.

Dimension Enhancements

  • Dimensions can be overridden with text (but not with another dimension value). You can now also add text strings above, below, before and after the dimensions.

  • Dimension to Intersections and to Circle, Arc, or Ellipse Centers.

  • Dimension text now has the same formatting options as other text.

  • Baseline Dimensions and Ordinate Dimensions are now available.

Revision Enhancements

  • Revisions can now be numbered alphabetically, numerically, or as a combination of both.

  • Revisions can build a table from the bottom-up, not just top-down.

  • Revision schedules can be rotated on a sheet.

Unit Formatting Enhancements

  • A new Currency value has been added for Numbers and Cost fields.

  • A new Slope unit has been added to report slope.

Phasing Graphic Override

  • Phasing graphic overrides now use an interface consistent with Visibility/Graphics

  • Line styles: color, weight, pattern (for both cut/projection)

  • Fill patterns: visibility, color, style (for both cut/surface)


  • Now have the ability to control the display of linked views in section, elevation, and 3D views.

  • Phase Mapping Between Linked Projects

Linework Additional Edge Types

  • The Linework Tool now works on Edges in linked Revit files when displayed "By Host", Polylines (generally from imports), and Projection edges caused by plan regions.

DWFx Support

  • Support is now included for Microsoft’s XML Paper Specification (XPS) format of easy distribution on the Vista® platform supported by the XPS Viewer.

Improved User Interaction
Recent Files Window

  • Upon start-up Revit Architecture will now display a graphical list of recently edited files and families, and links to Help, Tutorials, and content.

View Navigation Tools

  • The ViewCube and SteeringWheels have been added to Revit Architecture.

Warning Enhancements

  • When an element that is associated with a warning is detected, the element will display a small warning icon in the Options Bar.

  • The Review Warnings dialog has a new Export command.

Granular View Templates

  • View properties can now be applied selectively using view templates.

Snap Overrides

  • Snap overrides are now listed under a "Snap Overrides" menu accessible from the right-click context menu.

  • The "Close" snap override has been created to provide an ability to snap to the beginning of a chain of two or more lines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Autodesk® to Acquire Green Building Studio®

Just announced today...

After nearly 10 years of market changing innovation, Green Building Studio is delighted to announce we have signed an agreement for Autodesk, Inc. to acquire our assets. In other words, our Green Building Studio (GBS) web service will soon join the Autodesk product family. Please be assured that our talented team will continue selling, training, and supporting architects as they use our web service to design carbon neutral buildings today and in the future.

“Autodesk is committed to providing technology that makes sustainable design easier and more efficient,” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, Autodesk AEC Solutions. “We look forward to adding the Green Building Studio technologies to the Autodesk portfolio and helping our customers more easily leverage the coordinated, reliable data created in the Revit® platform for building information modeling (BIM) to help predict performance and design buildings with reduced environmental impact.”

After closing this deal, Autodesk also plans to continue support for the Green Building Studio web service, carbon neutral building design training, and to strengthen the web service’s integration with its BIM software. The gbXML schema will remain an open industry standard, and the GBS web service will continue to be available to any other BIM software.

“We have partnered with Autodesk for many years, and commend their ongoing support for sustainability,” said John Kennedy, President & CTO, Green Building Studio. “We are eager to contribute our industry expertise in green buildings to drive mainstream adoption of sustainability and accelerate the AEC industry’s transition to carbon neutral buildings.”

To learn more about Green Building Studio, go to...

It will be exciting to see how Green Build Studio will interact with Revit in the future with this acquisition!

2009 Revit Platform Announced - Architecture, Structure and MEP!!

Autodesk World Press Day has arrived and here's a quick peek at some of the Revit 2009 updates for all 3 products...Architecture, Structure and MEP!! As far as when it's going to be released, availability will vary by country and more details and purchasing options will be accessible starting March 25, 2008. As soon as I hear a definite date from Autodesk when the products will be available, I will post it!

Ok, so for the meat of the subject....

New updates to the Revit platform include:
-- Revit Architecture 2009 (BIM for architects and designers) allows
customers to capture early design concepts with improved analysis and
visualization capabilities via:

  • Increased sustainable design and energy analysis capabilities
    through easy exchange with partner applications
  • Improved visualization functionality with the new Mental Ray
    engine for rendering, improving speed, quality, and usability

-- Revit Structure 2009 (BIM for structural engineers, designers and
drafters) has been enhanced with greater modeling and documentation
capabilities and is compatible with the newly acquired Robobat
solutions. The AutoCAD Revit Structure Suite now includes AutoCAD
Structural Detailing, enabling:

  • Steel and reinforced concrete detailing and shop drawings
  • State-of-the-art formwork drawings

-- Revit MEP 2009 (Revit for MEP engineering) provides customers with
detailed, specified modeling functionalities, including:

  • Air handlers, commercial condensing units, packaged rooftop units,
    and high-efficiency water source heat pumps

To view the entire article regarding the 2009 AEC products, go to

More to come in the near future!!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Curved Wall with a Curved (Arc'd) Top

A while ago I was going past a building that had this spline like shaped wall and the top of it wasn't straight or even at an even was curved. Now, when I was in a design firm, I always looked at a building thought "how would I build that or document that"? Now that I'm teaching and helping design firms implement Revit, I now look at building and think along the same lines, except I also think "how would that be modeled in Revit"?

Well, that's one of the first things I did when I had a free moment to play around with it. Of course I could do an in-place wall, but I really didn't feel like modeling all the layers of a cavity wall. Then a little light bulb flashed around in-place can turn off their visibility. So, I created an in-place floor (could have been roof, ceiling, etc.) and gave it a unique name so I new what it was being used for. I then created a very thin extrusion for the floor shape and finished off the family. I kept it visible so I could attach the wall to the in-place floor. Once that was accomplished, I edited the in-place floor, went to the Element Properties and un-checked Visible. Finished the family and there it was...a curved wall with a curved top! The attached pics show turning off the visibility and how to actually edit the in-place object once it's turned off. In order to edit the "invisible" object, you can go to the Project Browser and use the Select all Instances.

Turning off Visibility off In-Place Family

Selecting the "Invisible" In-Place Family

Now, another method with in-place families would be to use an in-place family (I used a wall) and make it a Solid Void. Create the shape just like the other method above, except that you have to make sure the Void is tall enough to "cut" the height of the wall. Then you use the Cut Geometry Tool to make the Void cut the Wall and then finish the in-place family.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

WinEstimator releases DesignEst Pro

WinEstimator, Inc., a global leader in estimating software development announced the release of DesignEst Pro. DesignEst Pro leverages the “building information model” (BIM) technology to quickly produce both conceptual budgets and detailed cost estimates.

DesignEst Pro links the object and property library in Revit Architecture with the object and properties in a WinEst cost database, allowing both conceptual and detailed estimates to be developed as the building is being designed. This dynamic link provides support for unlimited what-if scenarios during the design phase of the project. As design alternatives are explored, the cost estimate is changed accordingly.

DesignEst Pro does require Revit Arch 2008. You can take a look at all the features at -

BIMWorld Releases BIMCONTENTManager 2008

Today I received a notice that BIMWorld has released their BIMCONTENTManager 2008. It not only helps you organize your Revit families, but will also help those who are trying to manage AutoCAD blocks as well.

Take a look for yourself at - or take a look at the home page at - to see all the key features.

If you haven't been to BIMWorld, I highly suggest taking a look at what they have to offer. They provide content for almost all of the computer drafting/modeling software out there.