Not just a façade

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 2018-05-01 Views: 1,337 Tags: Software, CAD, Construction, BIM, Building Design, 3D Modelling, Graphisoft, ARCHICAD 22 PDF Version:
Graphisoft's newly released ARCHICAD 22 focuses on Façade Design as its lead feature
Graphisoft used its UK ARCHICAD User Conference, held in London in May, to launch ARCHICAD 22, the latest version of its architectural design software. The new release focuses on several of its design features, along with improvements in construction modelling performance, information management and 2D performance.

One of the most interesting features of ARCHICAD over the years has been Façade Design - the creation of repeatable patterns to add a distinctive style to large, anonymous structures. With ARCHICAD 22 Graphisoft has taken the feature and remastered the workflow to provide more flexibility in providing hierarchical curtain wall systems using modular patterns.

The new façades are created using standard graphic software output, or freestyle sketching, and applied to either 2D and 3D elevations in a natural design environment. One of the examples shown at the UK User Conference used sketches of a leaf which were scaled up to create striking façade designs on the side of a building.

Developing repetitive patterns within ARCHICAD 22 is simple. All you need to do is to outline the bit of the sketch you want to use, then copy and paste to create the pattern. When applied, ARCHICAD ensures that the curtain wall system being created is both structurally correct and adheres to local requirements for documenting and listing.

Complex curtain wall systems can be created within Graphisoft's native BIM environment using the modular patterns, which are automatically positioned to provide precise vertical and horizontal junctions, for finishing off with a selection of louvres and other accessories. The façades are created as BIM components within ARCHICAD, which allows document standards to be maintained, and for customisable, scale-sensitive representations of the components to be produced fully detailed. It also allows schedules to be created with very accurate lists of details of frames, mullions and other accessories.

Designs can be enhanced further by utilising the recently released ARCHICAD/Rhino/Grasshopper Live Connection tool. This allows users to draw a couple of 2D lines and then develop them further to assemble complex patterns using Grasshopper's algorithmic workflow, working on the Grasshopper canvas to create any pattern of façade that can be described using the software. Using the tools you are, in effect, deconstructing the design and placing them in a Rhino/Grasshopper workflow with its numerous extensions, which enables you to perform total design optimisation and validation. If you can think it, you can do it!

Whilst Rhino and Grasshopper enable you to think outside the box, you mustn't forget ARCHICAD's parametric capabilities, which can be used to create intelligent profiles for walls, beams and columns - or you can use those available from a comprehensive library of profiles. This allows you to define parametric edges to profiles using the Profile Editor and to play around with offsets or cutouts within walls, etc. You can do this on the fly, or save the profiles attributes with the profile you have created or downloaded.

Here, again, an example was provided at the User Conference which showed a curved profile being inserted in a wall, and subsequently partitioned to add window frames, one of which had a top hinged opening. A refinement to this tool enables "Custom Geometry Modifiers," which uses one Profile to describe several different custom wall, column and beam geometries. By adjusting the dimensions of the Parametric Custom Profile's skins, the same Profile can be fitted into several different details in the project. The height of different layers in composite structures, for example, can then be adjusted individually.

An element's parameters can also be used in connection with logical expressions to derive new properties and property values. This enriches the information that can be stored - the 'I' component in BIM - allowing users to define a calculation rule for each element.

This would typically be used for tagging or filtering elements, presenting them in graphical, tabular or model formats - or standard Excel formats. Any property value containing a valid URL would automatically become a live URL link on an interactive schedule, connecting to a website or online data source of different sized components for incorporation in variable parametric designs.

The logical expressions, or property value definitions, are based on user-defined expressions, and are composed using simple data fields. Users can create Element Properties using numeric, text or even Boolean data, and then use these properties to tag or filter elements and present them in any graphical, tabular or model output. STAIR AND RAILING ENHANCEMENTS
Like Façade Design, Stair and Railing enhancements have figured large in ARCHICAD's new feature lists, and this year is no different. I presume that with all other design elements producing predictable shapes and volumes, both of these provide a platform for an architect's creativity to shine through. Hence, following requests from numerous ARCHICAD users, ARCHICAD 21's flagship feature has been further improved in the new version of the software. The new Stair and Rail enhancements allow you to visualise and use Stair Headroom for collision detection (I am not entirely sure if that means within the design of the model itself, or heads and beams in close conjunction). Stair 2D documentation also boasts improvements that help maintain country-specific representation standards, and there are new developments for sloped Railings and Railing Panels which allow for more accurate modeling.

Adding advanced modelling features is rather pointless if they come at the expense of slowing the computer down. Graphisoft has kept pace on the hardware front though, utilising GPU accelerated computer graphics processing units to handle compute intensive element fills and cut and cover surfaces. The capabilities of multi-core CPUs are further optimised by using patent pending algorithms, speeding up and smoothing the operation of continuous panning and zooming in background images. This is on top of ARCHICAD's 64-bit architecture which facilitates the display of large models, whilst optimising the performance of multi-core CPUs when working on large models.

A significant performance booster, though (and mentioned in our review last year) is Graphisoft's Predictive Background Processing, which takes advantage of unused computer capacity to anticipate potential future actions and prepare for them in the background - making them immediately available for use, if required, in the largest of projects.

A number of other user interface features have been enhanced to extend the labelling, IFC export and screen resolution capabilities of the software, and there has been a small tweak to the collaborative Teamwork tool.

Users can make documents more readable or informative by selecting combinations of drawing primitives (lines, arcs, polylines), plus Text Blocks (including Element-related Autotexts) and then saving and using them as a Label. That gives scope for some imaginative uses of labelling.

ARCHICAD 22 has also improved the quality and precision of exported Component and Material information to IFC2x3 and IFC4. This is important to create schedules, calculations and cost estimates based on data related to Building Materials, individual Composite Skins, and Complex Profile parts.

The representation of the fine details of the ARCHICAD icons, lines, texts and other graphic user interface elements now boast a much sharper look, with ultra-high (4K and 5K) resolution monitor screens offering much sharper display of details.

ARCHICAD 22 also includes an Automatic Element Reservation facility in Teamwork, enabling elements to be reserved in a fraction of a second, even in the case of large element selection sets. Please note, though, that this new feature is available only with a Graphisoft BIMcloud User License.

And, finally, ARCHICAD 22 comes with Maxon's latest CineRender engine, providing professional visualisation processes within ARCHICAD, including new stereoscopic and spherical renderings created by combining multiple cameras. That allows 360 degree or dome renderings to be created.