The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.
I'm a sole practitioner focusing primarily on custom residential design work and rapidly (not fast enough) approaching retirement age. I've decided that before I draw to a conclusion I might make the jump to some type of 3D capability such as Revit, SketchUp or other program to help with design presentations. I currently use Autocad 2020 and am pretty familiar with its basic functions although I'm sure I could use it more effectively with a little more education. I'm wondering what people in my type of situation did when they took the leap? Did you use outside consultants to do this or teach you the ins and outs of a particular program? I'm not particularly good at online tutorials for initial learning. Was the learning curve long and difficult? Any guidance from people who faced a similar problem would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Angelo L. Biondi, AIA
A.Biondi Architects, LLC
1815 Spruce Avenue
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Angelo:First of all, you may want to evaluate how many years away are you from your retirement. If that number is more than 5 years then only you may want to invest time and energy to learning the BIM tools such as Revit and also that if your client type demands. Otherwise in my opinion Revit may be overkill for single-family residential work.For conceptual 3D visualization, you may want to start with Sketchup. It presents one of the shortest learning curve. For anything photorealistic renderings you may still want to farm it out.For BIM level 3D coordination, Vectorworks and Archicad are popular among those who want to go away from Revit, primarily for the cost and learning curve. However, it is not easy to find individuals with those skills to hire when compared to Revit. By far Revit has the strongest userbase.
For single-family residential design and documentation, I specifically like Cheif Architect. It is a bit intuitive and I have known cases of users building or renovating their home without any training or education in architecture or drafting. Give it a try. There are tons of training videos and an active user community. If you ever need it, I can locate some training DVDs I had somewhere stored.
I hope this helps.
That's impressive that Archicad doesn't turn off your software when the subscription isn't renewed. There is Revit Light for $65.00/mo which doesn't have MEP but irritatingly enough doesn't allow add-ons like Lumion. Autodesk should get over its self and allow add-ons. I used Chief Architect for about 6 months but found it doesn't have referencing abilities, which a more complex project type with 2 buildings requires. It is strictly for uncomplicated 1 building residential projects, especially strong using the Craftsman style but does keep track of building components, which is a BIM quality. After using 3dStudio Max for years and throwing away the 3d model after presenting it to clients, then doing the CD drawings in 2d (said archi-tortural labor of the late 20th century, hopefully forever in the past), the miracle of 3d software like Revit and Archicad morphed into being. The 3d model of a building(s) is created with a BIM workflow. This is creating a building model then slicing it up into floor plans, elevations and sections to create CD's with schedules of components (windows, doors, sheets, equipment etc), that ALL update in GRAND UNISON when anything is added or updated ANYWHERE in the model. Sketchup can be used for 3d but isn't truly BIM in it's workflow.
Thank you to all who responded to my post about 3D software options and experiences. Your input is very much appreciated and extremely helpful. Pease stay safe.