Graphisoft continued its strategy of driving software development and product releases through its public roadmap with the launch of several new versions of its popular BIM software, including Archicad, earlier this month.

“We want to accelerate the design process for architects and engineers—in workflows that they want to work instead of what the software dictates,” said Huw Roberts, Graphisoft CEO, at a product release event Oct. 4 at its Budapest, Hungary, headquarters.

BIM-focused Archicad 27 now includes an integrated design option management system to aid in communicating multiple variations between design disciplines and to clients, allowing them to home in on the best design alternative in less time. “Instead of having to make a copy of your model to change something like brick to wood, our design options approach allows you to consider many options in the same file,” Roberts said.

Developers also tweaked the attribute management organization and search functions, added distance guides for placing elements such as doorways, and included a new import-export tool for third-party architectural visualization applications, among productivity enhancements.

Many of the new features had been requested by users. With its roadmap, unveiled last year, Graphisoft endeavored to create a feedback loop with users to speed software development. Expanding that philosophy, Graphisoft this summer, for the first time, opened up beta testing and technology previews for power users of Archicad and collaboration-focused BIMcloud.

Roberts said many users requested the ability to preview upcoming releases and do prep work, such as creating templates and libraries, adjusting settings or training staff, “so that when the commercial release is available, they can get going with it right away.”

The more than 3,000 user-participants also helped serve as beta testers for finding bugs and suggesting further enhancements. “Because of all this activity, our team could address more than 100 previously undiscovered issues in our software ahead of the public release,” said Márton Kiss, Graphisoft’s vice president of product success.

BIMx presentations

BIMx presentations now show accurate sun placement based on date and time.
Image courtesy Graphisoft

Reporting Issues in the Field

With the updated release of BIMx, Graphisoft looks to evolve its presentation and coordination app into a mobile collaboration tool. Users can mark up project issues on both 2D and 3D views via their mobile devices and relay the information to team members regardless of their location.

BIMx also provides accurate sun placement based on date and time of day data to help clients better understand natural lighting conditions, developers say.

Kiss also highlighted numerous areas of research for future updates, including parametric design, building lifecycle assessment, tools to enable more sustainable buildings, and automated documentation. Perhaps the biggest emphasis was placed on exploring the integration of artificial intelligence into design workflows, assisting with mundane tasks, rather than taking over the design process. Kiss also envisioned AI “making it faster and easier to evaluate lots of design variations, and boosting your creativity through inspirations provided by AI.”

For its MEP-modeling software, DDScad, Graphisoft has streamlined importing of ever-changing manufacturing library data.

By Scott Blair in Budapest