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Graphisoft Building Together virtual conference

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Following the release of Archicad 25, Graphisoft aired over 30 talks in an online event, covering technology, case studies and the experiences and views of architects on today’s hot topics, writes Martyn Day


While many of us have been forced to work from home over the last 18 months, the global BIM conference season didn’t miss a beat and simply went online.

Some of last year’s events had a feeling of being held together by bubble gum, but this year the industry raised its game and virtual events have looked a lot slicker, less time consuming and benefitted from being planned for the medium.

In September, fresh after the launch of Archicad 25, Graphisoft held its ‘Building Together’ conference over three days, for a few hours each day. Historically, Graphisoft ran something it called its Key Customer Conference, a rather exclusive invite-only, physical event which moved around the world. Going online means that Building Together can be seen by all, for free, and now on demand. The only downside is there’s no free beer.

Software companies can spoil their events by making the talks all about their products. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending sales pitch. I’m glad to say that Graphisoft established a really healthy balance between Archicad technical sessions, case studies and round table discussions, and gave space for people within practice to discuss some hot topics and provide food for thought on some of the issues we face — not just as an industry, but as a species. The underlying theme for this year’s event was sustainability.

There were 30+ talks, all of which can now be viewed on-demand. All talks can be filtered into five groups: Keynote, Trend Talk, Designed with Archicad, Roundtable and Archicad 25 what’s new?

For this article we’ve chosen a talk from each section but there’s a lot of other good stuff. Irrespective of which BIM tool you use, the ‘Designed with Archicad’ section is by far the richest and features customers talking about projects from all over the world – USA, Croatia, Holland, Italy, Hong Kong and Norway.

Keynote: Cradle to cradle as an opportunity in the construction industry

Graphisoft headlined with a fantastic talk from Dr. Michael Braungart. In the world of sustainable design, there is one key handbook — Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William (Bill) McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart. Published in 2002 the book’s message of upcycling is all about keeping materials in closed-loop industrial cycles.

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We are massive fans of architect McDonough and his efforts to educate the world on eco-friendly design. His TED talk on ‘What would buildings and products look like if designers took into account all children, all species, for all time?’ is an absolute classic.

Getting Dr. Michael Braungart as a speaker was a coup and he did not disappoint. It’s worth registering just for his 30 minute talk alone. I guarantee you’ll have a different perspective on the material impact of buildings

McDonough partnered with German chemist, Braungart, who had defined ‘lifecycle development’ in the 1980s to formulate sustainable materials and processes. In this talk and following Q&A, Dr Braungart does not hold back on what he thinks! Highly informative stuff.

Trend talk: Hiring the next generation of architects – Graphisoft’s global recruitment survey

Graphisoft’s manager of global education, Szabolcs Mikó, gave an interesting talk on the results from the company’s research into the challenges of hiring new talent. How do they choose their new hires? What are they looking for? Does software knowledge really matter, or is it more about the architectural portfolio? How do new architects get their training? Mikó also gave an insight into Graphisoft’s strategy for Archicad education and how it is supporting students.

Designed with Archicad: hypercars

Marko Dabrovic of Croatian architectural practice 3LHD gave a fantastic talk on what probably is the country’s most interesting project and client. Top Gear fans may be very aware of a company called Rimac; it makes the fastest electric supercar on the planet.

 Rimac Nevera hypercar
The all-electric Rimac Nevera hypercar has a maximum speed of 258mph and goes from 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 1.85 seconds

In 2017, presenter Richard Hammond spectacularly crashed the one and only development car, the Concept One.

Founder Mate Rimac is the Croatian equivalent of Elon Musk. While he produces the occasional supercar, his core business is in supplying batteries to the high-end and automotive manufacturers.

3LHD got the job of designing the Rimac Hypercar facility, which included a test track, factory, office buildings and extensive landscaping, with sheep and geese. Rimac is a vegetarian; he was very keen that his employees have a canteen which looks out onto grazing animals, so they can ponder the meat they are eating! Certainly worth a watch.

Roundtable: the challenges of integrating BIM in the curriculum

Szabolcs Mikó talked with five educators about learning new digital tools vs traditional skills and what is the best way to incorporate BIM into architecture degrees.

Archicad 25 What’s new?

It was healthy to see that, out of 30+ talks, only four concerned Graphisoft’s core product, Archicad. While not concentrating on pitching its version of BIM over any others, these talks are essentially updates for existing users to find out what’s new in the latest release, covering general updates, collaboration, design, documentation and visualisation.

Closing thoughts

At Building Together this year there was a good mix of customers and technical content, and a lot less concentration on the software tools — instead, focusing on the design objectives.

The messaging on how the industry needs to address the big sustainability problems faced by humanity is exceptionally pertinent.

Getting Dr. Michael Braungart as a speaker was a great coup and he did not disappoint. It’s worth registering just for his 30 minute talk alone. I guarantee you’ll have a different perspective on the material impact of buildings.

All presentations are available to view on demand after free registration

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