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Will Revit ever be a tool for designers?

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    Will Revit ever be a tool for designers?

    I’ve been working for a while for a 200+ size firm based in L.A., New York, London and Hong Kong. The US offices are all Revit based while the international offices use Archicad. The use of different platforms is due to a recent merger, between the US and international firms. Each firm obviously continued using its own software, which hasn’t been a problem yet, since all offices are still working on pre-merger projects. However, you can foresee that having multiple platforms across multiple offices will have its share of challenges once we start collaborating on projects over multiple offices. It’s a no brainer to eventually move to all offices to one BIM platform and being an avid Revit user myself I’m obviously biased and would side on implementing Revit throughout the whole firm. However, the offices in London and Hong Kong have their own compelling arguments to stay with Archicad. Everyone regardless of their job description (architects, BIM managers or technologist) use Archicad for design and documentation. We on the other hand, use Rhino/Grasshopper as a design tool for most projects but also for documentations of complex structures and Revit for general documentation. The use of Rhino for design and Revit for documentation is pretty much the standard workflow in most Revit based firms, due the lack of design tools in Revit and the huge limitation of modeling tools. While most firms including ourselves, have worked out a workflow between these different software, it would be ideal to also have design tools within Revit which will be extremely effective and efficient between the design and documentations team. This concept of a one-stop-design to documentation process is already the reality at the London and Hong Kong office with the use of Archicad.

    Does anyone have any insight if Autodesk will ever develop tools (within Revit or in a separate package) that will be 100% dedicated to the design process of architecture? I’m not talking about FormIt that is still extremely limited and lightweight for most architectural design work, nor I’m I talking about Dynamo that looks promising, but still doesn’t has a tenth of the design and analysis tools like Grasshopper. As a matter of fact, apart from the countless case studies, labs, classes shown at AU where a large position of the work is done in Rhino, Autodesk recently launch an ad where the Autodesk Pavilion was fully design and documented in Rhino and Grasshopper while it supposed to be showcasing the use of Autodesk Architectural products like Revit and Dynamo. It comes a bit over like Apple who presents the newest updates of the App store at the WWDC, but shows during the presentation slides and clips of Google Play store to download apps, cause 99% of apps aren’t available in the App Store.

    Autodesk already have experience in developing such tools like Fusion and Inventor that enables you to design everything you can imagine in an extremely efficient way and document and fabricate it all. In one package. These tools all have freeform nurbs modelling tools, solid modelling tools, mesh modeling tools, parametric modelling etc, but at the same token can knock out perfect drawings and schedule all parts at the same time. If Autodesk have proven to develop tools and the competition has already done in for architecture. What is keeping Autodesk form developing such tools?

    #2
    Have you used or even seen first hand the workflow these architects are using in ArchiCAD? Are you so sure that ArchiCAD really has any better of a "design workflow" solution than what Revit purports to have?

    Revit is probably never going to be the design tool you want.
    Last edited by iru69; December 9, 2016, 06:37 AM.

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      #3
      Personally, I haven't use ArchiCAD on a project so can't comment on that, but my perception is that both tools are similar in terms of performance and capabilities, although ArchiCAD has better graphic representation in 2D (you don't need too many workarounds to make a drawing look good).

      However, Dynamo is playing a big role in making Revit more flexible for complex geometry (similar to Grasshopper), as well as providing Revit with analysis tools for genetic algorithms, optimization, etc. In addition to that, you have some companies that have created some pretty powerful addins (e.g.; Tools4Revit) that can automate some design process for fabrication and coordination.

      So, Revit is never going to be a free-form shaping tool like Maya, Inventor or others, but its power resides on the capability of managing data for the design, construction, fabrication and operation stages of a building, being the central resource, coupled with addins that helps giving more flexibility to it. In that regards, IMO Revit is much closer to being a "one-trick-pony" than any other tools available, if you consider all stages of a building life cycle.

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        #4
        Originally posted by iru69 View Post
        Have you used or even seen first hand the workflow these architects are using in ArchiCAD? Are you so sure that ArchiCAD really has any better of a "design workflow" solution than what Revit purports to have?.
        I'll be heading in January to London to take a look at their so called one stop process. At the same token, I don't think it's anything earth shattering since design and documentation in one software is done in many other fields already.

        Originally posted by iru69 View Post
        Revit is probably never going to be the design tool you want.
        That would be to bad, but also too bad for the AEC industry as autodesk is a major player in the field. Then again, developing a separate design tool that ties into Revit would be fine too. Ironically you will always see architects using purposelessly built tools for other industry but you rarely see those industries using Revit.

        Originally posted by asintoras View Post
        Personally, I haven't use ArchiCAD on a project so can't comment on that, but my perception is that both tools are similar in terms of performance and capabilities, although ArchiCAD has better graphic representation in 2D (you don't need too many workarounds to make a drawing look good).
        Agreed. Both platforms are similar but Archicad has the morph tool and all it's modifiers which apparently is the reason why you can also design in Archicad. Those tools are lacking in Revit which is why most people use other non architectural tools do to their designs. And then you'll have to go through the painstaking process of getting that design/geometry/information into Revit.


        Originally posted by asintoras View Post
        However, Dynamo is playing a big role in making Revit more flexible for complex geometry (similar to Grasshopper), as well as providing Revit with analysis tools for genetic algorithms, optimization, etc. In addition to that, you have some companies that have created some pretty powerful addins (e.g.; Tools4Revit) that can automate some design process for fabrication and coordination.
        We use Dynamo to automate repetitive task in the construction document phase. We did look into Dynamo for design but quickly hit the ceiling. We where told by Autodesk to just use Grasshopper for design since Dynamo was not intended to create "architecture".

        Originally posted by asintoras View Post
        So, Revit is never going to be a free-form shaping tool like Maya, Inventor or others, but its power resides on the capability of managing data for the design, construction, fabrication and operation stages of a building, being the central resource, coupled with addins that helps giving more flexibility to it. In that regards, IMO Revit is much closer to being a "one-trick-pony" than any other tools available, if you consider all stages of a building life cycle.
        The one-trick-pony does already exists in other industries which in some cases are even more complex than the AEC industry. I haven't seen a compelling reason why a more integrated tool can't be developed for architecture except the fact that architects are generally the least vocal and will except anything thrown to them.

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          #5
          While the implementation of the conceptual massing environment and adaptive component back in 2009 might have tipped-off many of us by assuming that Autodesk is in fact developing Revit to also be a full-fledged design tool as they did with Inventor, nothing could be further from the truth. The main reason for this is that Revit’s main market is the USA which is probably the most conservative AEC market on this planet. Generally speaking, Americans are growing more conservative by virtue of upbringing, public education, and the general disinclination to do something new and different. It's safer to be and do the same as everyone else, especially when considering resale or having to spend that a little bit more to do something better. “I can get it for you wholesale” is the new mantra. This obviously is reflected in the development of Revit. Why should Autodesk spend a bit more time and resources in developing tools that can create funnel shaped structures that seamlessly flow into a double curved roof while the overwhelming majority of Revit users are happily designing brick colonials?

          At the same token, Autodesk does realize that the more innovative, cutting edge design draws more attention, hence the reason why they showcase many non-Revit projects at AU or in their ads even if it means more exposure for the competing platforms. I must say, it takes a lot of guts to have a full panel of speakers at AU’s Design Computational Symposium that not only use Rhino/grasshopper exclusively for design, but their firms don’t even use Revit for documentation either nor own a copy of Revit.

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