Page T1 . 16 August 2000       
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    TOOLS THIS WEEK

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    FUN WITH COMPUTER-AIDED MODELING CLAY

    One hundred years ago, Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi was astonishing the world with sculpturally creative, irregular, organic forms. While others in the profession worked with straight edges, Gaudi invented his own methods for modeling parabolic arches from the catenary curve created by suspending a length of chain between two points.

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    SCALE MODELS FROM THIN AIR

    Some day in the next millennium, architects may be able to put design information into a machine that will automatically construct a complete building. Hints of this distant future are visible in the experiments of Japanese construction companies, in which robots assemble building components in the field. Already the idea is being implemented, albeit at a much smaller scale, with a new family of technologies called rapid prototyping. This enables designers to build physical models directly and automatically from 3D computer models.

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    CAD FOR AEC PRINCIPALS

    Does computer-aided design provide significant business benefits to architecture, engineering, and construction companies? In many cases, the heads of these firms are skeptical, according to new studies. Is this a matter of perception, or are the software technologies really failing to measure up to vendors' claims for efficiency?

    At the recent Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES 2000), technology experts Kristine Fallon, FAIA, and Kenneth Stowe, P.E., offered their opinions on the problems and the solutions.

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    Redladder Marketplace has been launched for contractors and real estate professionals. The new on-line communication and procurement platform for the construction industry connects suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers. Redladder's BlueReview service allows customers to upload, host, and view blueprints online to streamline bidding and project management.

    Calculated Industries introduces Construction Master, a new series of rugged job-site calculators for construction professionals. The calculators, custom-designed for builders, compute feet-inch-fractions and other common measurement math problems.

    Revit Technology Corporation Delivers Revit 2.0. Revit, the new parametric building modeler for the AEC industry, arrives just months after the first version was released, delivering on the company's promised aggressive development schedule. The integrated CAD system supports the parametric design and documentation process from massing studies to detailing.

     

     
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