Some very amazing things have been shown and talked about at Autodesk University 2009 this week. If you have been hiding under a rock, then you may not know that the attendees, both in Vegas and virtually have invaded the Twitter-sphere or Tweet-Zone or whatever… Go to Twitter, sign up now and follow the conversations by searching for #AU2009.

So, on to the Tuesday Keynote and three ah-ha moments:

  1. It’s not about Revit… or BIM, but Digital Design tool synergies! Best of breed products that work well together to create new opportunities and break new ground. Use things not necessarily as designed. Maya can make buildings, Revit can make movie sets. Put everything in a bowl, mix and see what pops out. These are exciting times.
  2. Sustainability, talk by Amory Lovins, co-founder and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, approaches design with whole systems thinking. If a design feature can have more than one purpose, and is efficient,  it can drastically reduce energy use by leaps and bounds over traditional design, engineer, then build workflows. If you can make an SUV that is just as luxurious as a traditional model, but gets over 80MPG, why aren’t we all doing this now? If you can build a building that is so efficient you require no conventional systems to be comfortable, and it costs less to build, why not do it. Renovate the Empire State Building such that the energy savings are $4M annually and has a three year payback? That’s how you fix the economy. If we can upgrade just a portion of the existing building stock… think of the potential for jobs, increased profits, and reduced need for imported energy.
  3. Jeff Kowalski from Autodesk showed some radically amazing possibilities for integrated workflows within Revit. Sustainable design in the tool is a natural next step. The API in Revit 2010, thanks Matt Mason, already has the ability to cast rays and analyze points in the model which is much of the power available in Ecotect today. This has the potential to enable thermal, daylighting, visibility, and acoustic analysis in Revit. Let’s hope it’s in 2011… Time will tell. Along similar lines, which validates this assumption, Jeff talked about the current disconnected workflow of Design -> Analysis. Obviously, this removes the ability to iterate through design ideas either quickly or often. When he turned that workflow around with the idea of Analysis -> Design people literally had their tongues on the floor. The scenario went like this (with fabulous imagery): input some criteria about the site, and the building, and the analysis engine test many iterations of form, orientation, and massing. Comparing these to hit the sweet spot for efficiency, or daylighting allows the designer to move forward with a concept quickly.

Interesting times. Be Visual!

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