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I've been an ardent ArchiCAD user since verion 6.5. However, the recent update of ArchiCAD 20 and the upgrade to version 21 has tested my faith. For anyone using ArchiCAD Teamworks/BIM Server on a Macintosh system – please stay away for now!
This software contains a bug that disconnects the server from all workstations. After discovering this issue I contacted my local colleagues and had expected Graphisoft to issue a notice to all users. Unfortunately, that notice never came, and while Graphisoft provided me with a few temporary work-arounds, I have experienced little improvement. In fact my billable production hours for the past month have decreased by 30%. Last week Graphisoft promised an update in a few days, but instead they have simply stopped responding to my inquiries.
This brings up the bigger question about how architects can protect their business from failing software. When I first started my practice, the worst production slow-down might be a broken Mayline cable. In 15 minutes that workstation would be up and running again. Today, however, what happens when the software we depend on fails? We are beholden to a software company. And in my case, one that seems to simply shrug its shoulders as I struggle to maintain an ability to design and document my projects.
ArchiCAD is an amazingly beautiful and powerful software program, but I wonder if it has grown beyond Graphisoft's ability to provide a stable working platform. I suspect they are also pressured (like all companies) to release a new version each year to justify their subscription cost - ready or not. Regardless of which company architects have partnered with, I wonder if my experience might be the first sign of a new reality?
I once wrote about how I had gulped down the ArchiCAD Koolaid. Well that drink now has an awfully bitter taste. Obviously we cannot go back to paper and pen, but what perils await us in the world of increasingly complex software, and how can we minimize the impact on our architectural practices?
Noel F. Cross AIA, CGBP
148 E. Virginia Street #2
San Jose, CA 95112-5881
phone (408) 216-0222
cell (408) 591-5795
WARREN K. LLOYD, AIA LEED AP
801.328.3245 / c 801.541.2055
573 East 600 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Website / Instagram / Building from Here
I have successfully been using Chief Architect for my residential and light commercial practice for 6 years now. It is fairly easy to get up to speed on and is an all inclusive software package for rendering and CAD work, so no need to be drawing in other software. Also you can import older details drawn in AutoCAD and you can export out to AutoCAD format if needed.
I agree with Jeremiah. I'm an ARCHICAD user, but I did use Vectorworks back in 2004 for a bit at a firm in Houston. We did some of the most beautiful black and white drawings I've ever seen (side comment: I know do everything in full color in ARCHICAD, but that's a conversation for another day). We didn't use Vectorworks to the fullest, but did produce gorgeous drawings. So I know it's possible. Perhaps you can get some time with another Vectorworks using architect and learn their secrets. Beautiful drawings shouldn't be hard to produce or something tangential to our 3D models.