ArchiCAD 15: Part 1
by Lachmi Khemlani
This software review takes a detailed look at ArchiCAD 15 in two parts, starting here with improvements related to "design freedom," including the new Shell tool and revamped Roof tool. —Editor
Recently we took a detailed look at the capabilities of the 2012 release of Revit Architecture, in which the new features and enhancements are spread out across many different aspects of the application.
In contrast, the new release of ArchiCAD, a competing BIM application, is focused on one main theme — "design freedom" — and includes new tools and features that greatly expand ArchiCAD's ability to model "freeform" buildings while still retaining the BIM nature of the model.
I find it very interesting how Graphisoft usually takes on a specific theme for a new release of ArchiCAD and then tackles that in a very comprehensive manner, such as it did for ArchiCAD 13 with its BIM server and improved model-based collaboration capabilities — which other BIM applications are still attempting to catch up with.
In the same way, ArchiCAD 15 tackles its earlier lack of built-in freeform modeling tools head-on, with a brand-new Shell tool that is capable of modeling a broad spectrum of forms, a revamped Roof tool that allows quick modeling of complex roofs, and several interface enhancements that make 3D modeling easier and more accurate.
Other key enhancements in ArchiCAD 15 include support for renovation and refurbishment projects, with a new Renovation palette providing the relevant functionality; improvements to its IFC interface and open collaboration workflow with engineers; full 64-bit support for the Mac OS; and improvements to the parametric object libraries. Let's take a detailed look at these new features.
Increased Design Freedom
Graphisoft was inspired to take on the theme of design freedom for its new release of ArchiCAD by looking at the history of architecture, both ancient and modern, which is replete with examples of freeform building shapes.
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This article is excerpted from "ArchiCAD 15" by Lachmi Khemlani, copyright © 2011, with permission of the publisher, AECbytes.
New in ArchiCAD 15, the Shell tool supports the creation of "freeform" 3D shapes using one of several transformation operations. Shown here is an object that was initially created with the Ruled operation, which generates a 3D surface that transitions between two 2D starting objects.
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Another operation within the Shell tool involves forming a shape by revolving 2D forms about an axis. Like the other Shell creation options, the Revolve function supports two levels of complexity in object construction: simple and detailed.
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