A Landmark in design

Editorial Type: Feature Date: 2018-11-01 Views: 1,145 Tags: CAD, Construction, BIM, Architectural, Vectorworks, Vectorworks 2019 PDF Version:
Vectorworks 2019 enhances productivity using BIM processes within its Landmark module for professional landscape designers
One of the main reasons for the popularity of Vectorworks as an architectural tool is its comprehensive array of design features, which can be used to develop a building concept from the ground up to its finished, polished presentation, supported throughout by BIM workflows that link the 3D models with drawings, details and schedules. Not so well known however is its widespread use by other design professionals, with Vectorworks Landmark providing a complete toolbox for landscape designers, and Spotlight having almost complete ubiquity in the design of theatre sets, gigs and the rest of the massive effect and light-driven productions that define today's public performances.

Vectorworks Landmark brings together software tools specifically created for landscape professionals and core Vectorworks modelling, documentation and presentation - and, of course, its BIM workflows.

Vectorworks 2019 provides more streamlined site modelling using 3D sculpting to model terrain, a number of improvements to hardscape components, tools to transform irrigation layouts, simplified plant settings and access to more plant data sources. It's a veritable treasure trove of features, where even individual plants can become BIM objects to be gathered in planting schedules, displayed in stunning visualisations or shared in client's video presentations.

Landscape professionals are artists before they are anything else, so let's get the prosaic out of the way. BIM is now firmly embedded within the construction industry to drive more efficient workflows by the sharing of information between processes and collaborators. Landscape designers can take similar advantage of BIM workflows to optimise designs and to generate planting schedules and reports, analyse terrain information for cut/fill and sloping tasks, lay out drainage and evaluate water budgets, and calculate construction costs and quantities of materials for hardscape components or the optimum parking layouts for adjacent car parks. It's also an essential ingredient if you have set sustainability targets or are aiming for LEEDS or SITES certification.

BIM provides landscape professionals with the power to make and optimise professional designs and enhance workflows. Changes made to designs are reflected throughout, and files can be shared with anyone, or with other applications through OpenBIM and IFC. This means you can link designs to projects using AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, Photoshop, Lumion and Cinema4D using project sharing tools that enable entire teams to work on projects concurrently.

Landscape design works in the real world. The basis of a project is an accurate terrain model, which can be created using imported survey data from Ordnance Survey and other GIS data files, georeferenced aerial and satellite images, and data-rich models from architects or engineers. Property boundaries, utility resources, shapefiles and existing structures can be added, arranged into maps, coloured, notated and slated for inclusion in the BIM process.

Using Vectorworks 2019, you can modify terrain using the software's direct modelling tools - such as reshape, push/pull - to sculpt the site while maintaining the intelligence of the model, enabling it to be used to run site analyses or calculate the effect of the changes within Vectorworks without having to use external resources.

One of those changes could affect vehicle access to the site, or the positioning of car parks. In the past, calculating turning paths for cars in drawings was a particularly onerous task. Vectorworks 2019 introduces its partnership with Transoft Solutions, whose Auto-TURN online browser makes short work of the task - upload a design, pick a vehicle, perform a simulation and export the results back into your project!

And talking about car parking, you can use the basic Parking Spaces tool or the more intuitive Parking Area and Parking Along Path tools to plan parking for just about any parking layout. these include islands, accessible spaces, head-in (angled) parking, parallel parking and access lanes, and use the parking schedule to count the number of parking spaces provided.

As an artist, you can imagine working on separate palettes simultaneously. The Enable Multiple Views command allows designers see a number of views of a project simultaneously. Start in one view pane and finish in another, switching between viewports, views, and visibility settings to Instantly gauge the impact of a design change across your 3D, plan, section, and elevation views. You can even start a rendering in one view while you work in another. You can go much further though by using Marionette, the first and only cross-platform algorithmic modelling tool for AEC, entertainment, and landscape design, built in to Vectorworks. Marionette allows users to create visual scripts to take designs to new levels or to build unique, organic shapes that are scalable and constructible. It can also factor in environmental conditions or weather patterns that will affect planting schedules. Anything is possible if you can code it!

If you don't want to dive into Marionette (which is easier and more logical to use than you might think) you can use Vectorwork's other modelling tools to design building envelopes, curtain wall façades, truss-type structures, and other hardscape features. This is achieved using tools like SmartCursor, which helps by showing hints as you draw, Vectorworks X-ray Select mode, which lets you see through models to select and modify hidden objects without changing viewports, and an enhanced suite of solids and NURBS surface and subdivision modelling tools.

And then there's Surface Array for exploring complex, repeated elements in the design of curtain wall façades etc.

A principal feature of landscape design is the creation of planting plans, and the selection of plants to fill them. Vectorworks 2019 provides a number of improvements in the user interface and the plant preference dialogue boxes that improve the planting workflow. This makes it easier for new landscape designers to learn without sacrificing its advanced functionality.

The Choose Plant Data Source command opens the entire plant database or specific plant catalogues from online resources. Now you can specify your preferred plant catalogue instead of ploughing through the entire plant database. Search facilities are another enhancement for Vectorworks 2019, eradicating searching through long lists to find the layer and class you're looking for. Now they can be found instantly using keyword searches or filters to display classes and layers based upon specific properties.

Water is an increasingly sparse commodity, and it will become more costly as demand increases - hence the importance of developing an efficient and cost-effective irrigation scheme for landscaping projects.

Vectorworks Landmark gives designers the ability to assess and calculate a site's requirements and resource availability. This can then be used to place irrigation outlets using the software’s hydrozone tool to group plants with similar water needs. You can use manufacturers or custom parameters to select and place rotors, spray outlets, and other emitters (for example drip nozzles which slowly leak water into the soil from perforated pipes). Designers can position main line, lateral line and drip tubing irrigation pipes on the drawing, the irrigation pipes based on standard pipe materials and diameter values from manufacturers catalogues.

All pretty standard stuff, but once spray and arc patterns have been established and outlets, pipes and valves have been placed on a drawing, they can be used to balance the water requirements of the site and whether it can be met by the water pressure and flow available from the main Point of Connection (POC) water source. But, more importantly, users can use the software to calculate the true efficiency levels of their irrigation schemes.

Professional image editing is available with Vectorworks, meaning that Model views don't need to be exported to Photoshop or Illustrator. This enables users to prepare presentations in the same software used to create the designs. 2D Drawings, however, are still the preferred output for landscape designers - they’re easier to use on site - and the Vectorworks Graphics Module provides an exceptional screen-drawing technology for fast, reliable generations of drawing and model views.

With Vectorworks 2019 a project's sheet layers now benefit from optimised, multi-threaded technology for use with advanced GPUs, making panning and zooming in sheet layers as quick as design layers. And in ther latest version, Vectorworks 2019, you can manage title blocks across multiple documents from a single file, regardless of how many Vectorworks files are incorporated in a project.