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Friday, 22 January 2016

Revit Work Plane Viewer

When working in the Conceptual Massing Environment, we often need to create very organic shapes using very specific profiles. However, as we can see from the image below, the location I would like to draw my profile on, is not parallel to any elevation view, will it be parallel to any point or corner on my View Cube.

To overcome the latter, we can active Revit’s Work Plane viewer, which can be found in the Create tab, Work Plane panel.

An extra window will open which is perfectly parallel to the point you would like to create a profile on. This Work Plane Viewer will allow all navigation, drawing, annotating and modifying commands to be done, with the exception of using keyboard shortcuts whilst working in the viewer.

The end result will be an extremely accurate, very accurate profile, which you can use to create any organic and unique forms.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Revit Symmetry

The Oxford Dictionary defines the term, symmetry as: “The quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis”. Symmetry forms such a big part of our daily lives that we rarely recognize or appreciate it anymore. This entry has been inspired by a recent post on Boredpanda, and will illustrate 3 examples of symmetry in that can be found in architecture and engineering (Even though a bit of Photoshop may be involved).

Each example was both easy and somewhat difficult to recreate in Revit. Sometimes the modelling methods needed to be revisited, and other times quite a few renders were needed to get a mildly acceptable result. Note: Renders were created through Revit as well as by using Enscape.

Buildings were created through the Conceptual Massing Environment, with walls and roofs applied to these mass faces. Curtain wall storefronts were added to the atrium. The biggest challenge was to “accurately” locate the perspective view from the entrance level looking up. Definitely not as simple as one would think!

I am however quite satisfied with the in-Revit conceptual render, using NVIDIA Mental Ray with custom render settings:

I really enjoyed toying with Enscape for this render, too. I ended up saving 14 images, of which I couldn’t decide which to post. So, to be fair, below is the first attempt

Floors, slab edges, split surfaces, railings and a generic model family were used to recreate the illuminated bridge. The generic model family’s material was set to be self-illuminating. The squares were arrayed, ungrouped and rotated in 15 degree increments.

Replicating the image to be as close to the original source took some time. Quite a number of in-Revit renders took place to get the illumination colour intensity and diffusion to be “acceptable”.

I do however prefer the Enscape render. It might just be because I am a huge TRON fan!

Our last example is of a non-parametric steel structure. I decided to create this as an in-place model, as by then, it was 3AM in the morning already. Sweeps and Extrusions were used.

The Revit Render result was quite dull, but I am sure with a few more tweaks, it would have looked much better. I just didn’t have enough time.

A subsequent goal of this blog post, is to illustrate the user-friendliness and quality of the Enscape software – Instant Immersive Visualization. Sometimes one simply does not have time to spare to run a number of renders for a presentation, making subtle changes to each render as you go along. This is where Enscape definitely fits the bill.

For more information on Enscape software, you can contact the sole representative in South Africa: Modena Design Centres at +27 11 463 1553, or send an email to

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The History Behind Revit

This is an entry for the true Revit junkies out there. We will learn about the How, What, Where and Who of the Revit program - From 1997 to February 2002, when the founding company was purchased by Autodesk.

"SAN RAFAEL, Calif. and WALTHAM, Mass., Feb 21, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK), the leading design software and digital content company, today announced its intention to acquire Revit Technology Corporation, a Massachusetts-based developer of parametric building technology for building design, construction, and management, for $133 million cash. The addition of Revit software complements Autodesk's existing family of building industry applications with a parametric building modeler for customers to design, coordinate, and integrate information about an entire building. The closing of the acquisition is subject to governmental and shareholder approvals

The acquisition will extend our reach to new customers while expanding our existing building industry business," said Carol Bartz, Autodesk chairman and CEO. "Our product line will offer the best drafting and model-based design capabilities on the market, ultimately helping designers, builders, and owners better track and manage their building assets"

The following is an extract from Wikipedia, showing a brief history of the programme:
"Charles River Software was founded in Newton, Massachusetts, on October 31, 1997, by Leonid Raiz and Irwin Jungreis, key developers of PTC's Pro/Engineer software for mechanical design, with the intent of bringing the power of parametric modeling to the building industry (PTC had previously tried and failed to market its recently acquired Reflex software to the construction sector). With funding from venture capitalists Atlas Venture and North Bridge Venture Partners, Raiz and Jungreis hired several software developers and architects and began developing Revit in C++ on the Microsoft Windows platform. In 1999 they hired Dave Lemont as CEO and recruited board members Jon Hirschtick, founder of SolidWorks, and Arol Wolford, founder of CMD Group.

From the outset, Revit was intended to allow architects and other building professionals to design and document a building by creating a parametric three-dimensional model that included both the geometry and non-geometric design and construction information, which later became known as Building Information Modeling or BIM. At the time, several other software packages such as ArchiCAD and Reflex allowed working with a three-dimensional virtual building model, and allowed individual components to be controlled by parameters (parametric components). Two key differences in Revit were that its parametric components were created using a graphical "family editor" rather than a programming language, and all relationships between components, views, and annotations were captured by the model so that a change to any element would automatically propagate to keep the model consistent. For example, moving a wall would update the neighboring walls, floors, and roofs, correct the placement and values of dimensions and notes, adjust the floor areas reported in schedules, redraw section views, etc., so that the model would remain connected and all documentation would be coordinated. The concept of bi-directional associativity between components, views, and annotations was a distinguishing feature of Revit for many releases. The ease of making changes inspired the name Revit, a contraction of Revise-It. At the heart of Revit is a parametric change propagation engine that relied on a new technology, context-driven parametrics, that was more scalable than the variational and history-driven parametrics used in mechanical CAD software. The term Parametric Building Model was adopted to reflect the fact that changes to parameters drove the whole building model and associated documentation, not just individual components.

The company was renamed Revit Technology Corporation in January 2000, and Revit version 1.0 was released on April 5, 2000. The software progressed rapidly, with version 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, and 4.1 released in August 2000; October 2000; February 2001; June 2001; November 2001; and January 2002, respectively. The software was initially offered only as a monthly rental, with no option to purchase. Licensing was controlled by an entirely automatic process, an innovation at a time when human intervention and manual transmission of authorization codes was required to buy other types of design software.

Autodesk (the developers of AutoCAD) purchased the Massachusetts-based Revit Technology Corporation for US$133 million in 2002. The purchase allowed more research, development and improvement of the software. Autodesk has released several versions of Revit since 2004. In 2005 Revit Structure was introduced, then in 2006 Revit MEP. After the 2006 release Revit Building was renamed Revit Architecture. Since Revit 2013 the different disciplines have been rolled into one product, simply called Revit. In 2012 Revit LT became the newest version of Revit on the market. It is a light version of Revit with a number of features such as rendering and multi user environments crippled. With their Revit platform, Autodesk is a significant player in the BIM market together with Nemetschek (makers of ArchiCAD, AllPlan and Vectorworks), and Gehry Technologies with CATIA based Digital Project."

Interesting, right?

Monday, 4 January 2016

Revit Opening Tools

There are a few opening tools in Revit which we can make use of. This blog entry will highlight these tools.

Opening by Face: This command will create an opening that is perpendicular to the selected face of a roof, floor, or ceiling

Shaft Opening: This command will create a vertical opening that spans multiple levels, cutting through intervening roofs, floors, and ceilings

Wall Opening: This command will cut a rectangular opening in a straight or curved wall
Vertical Opening: This command allows you to cut a vertical opening through a roof, floor, or ceiling

Dormer Opening: This command will cut a roof to create an opening for a dormer

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Aesthetics versus Art versus Practicality

Aesthetics versus Art versus Practicality. 

Archinomy had quite an interesting case study about the latter which I would like to share with you. 

Your thoughts?