ArchiCAD 21 Build 4004
ARCHICAD 21 – Step Up Your BIM
Innovation has been a key differentiator for ARCHICAD since the beginning. ARCHICAD 21 introduces the highly-anticipated Stair Tool, featuring GRAPHISOFT’s patent-pending Predictive Design™ technology. ARCHICAD 21 delivers a number of other, important functional improvements in the fields of visualization, OPEN BIM, performance and productivity making this version one of the strongest in GRAPHISOFT’s history.
What’s new in ArchiCAD 21
The double-entendre marketing slogan for ArchiCAD 21, “step up your BIM,” refers to the improvements generally; but more so the highlight feature: a new stair design system that relies on PredictiveDesign technology. In short, it turns any shape into a stair, taking into account local standards. At the conference, we saw some spectacular stairs designed with the new tool. (See figure 2.)
Figure 2: Stair design tool at work inside ArchiCAD 21.
During the event, Autodesk sent a message to one of the editors reporting from the conference, complaining that Revit also does stairs. “But not stairs like these stairs,” the editor replied.
Stairs are no good without railings, and so another new tool associates railings with complex stairs with a single click, as well as with other elements, such as slabs (floors, typically), roofs, meshes, and so on. The Railing Pattern Editor defines how railings look, and updates them automatically.
“PredictiveDesign” is Graphisoft’s name for their artificial intelligence technology, something that several other CAD vendors are also slowly adding to their systems. Graphisoft says their AI will extend to additional areas of ArchiCAD in upcoming releases.
There were two more new features that I found significant. ArchiCAD now has collision detection built in, and it displays IFC files as underlays — updatable reference files that Graphisoft calls “hotlinks.”
ArchiCAD is little known in North America, just like many other European CAD programs. In some cases, culture does not translate well, or else the marketing is ineffective; in the case of BIM, however, once one CAD vendor gains a stranglehold on a region, competitors are effectively locked out. So while Autodesk dominates areas like North America and England, Graphisoft is content with Europe and Asia.