AEC Tech News (#230)

25 Jun, 2008

"Revit Kids" Present School of the Future

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students win student design competition.

By Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong photo

Last month, middle school students Hallie Hallman (eighth grade), Emily Powers (eighth grade), Ally McCarthy (seventh grade), and Alex Kashtan (seventh grade) had breakfast on Capitol Hill and shook hands with Senator Joe Lieberman. Last week, they were in Centerbrook, Connecticut, speaking to the board members of the local American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter. Then next fall, during the week before Thanksgiving, while the rest of their classmates are thinking about turkey and yams, they'll be packing their suitcases and double-checking the PowerPoint slides for their talk at the Greenbuild Expo in Boston, Massachusetts. Who knows — they might even get to meet Desmond Tutu, who's scheduled to give a keynote speech there.

After their Connecticut meeting with the AIA board, the rowdy foursome shared pizza for dinner. They also shared a newfound friendship and a vision of the future. What they imagine is a learning environment complemented by wind power, solar-thermal systems, hydrogutters (to be invented by Alex), and even a virtual reality room (inspired by the Holodeck in the Star Trek television series).

A jury comprising 18 architects, facility planners, and other AEC professionals agreed that the students' vision was a cut above the remaining nearly 1,500 entries received in the 2008 School of the Future student design competition. As part of their award, Hallie, Emily, Ally, and Alex spent five days in Washington, D.C., rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lieberman and taking a private tour of the National Building Museum, before racing off to a rooftop reception at the National Association of Realtors' headquarters.

Autodesk likes to refer to the foursome as "the Revit kids," after the company's building information modeling (BIM) software they used to design the school of the future. Read more »

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Kenneth Wong is Cadalyst's executive editor. He explores innovative uses of technology and its implications in his writing. Reach him at


Cadalyst Labs Review:
HP xw4600 Workstation with LP3065 30” LCD Monitor

By Ron LaFon

For this review, Cadalyst Labs evaluated a workstation/monitor combination for a longer period of time and in a significantly broader context than we normally do for workstation reviews. Cadalyst will evaluate only a few systems per year in this manner, with the purpose of using the systems for a variety of projects and gaining a deeper sense of how well they function in extended use. For this particular review, Hewlett-Packard sent a new HP xw4600 workstation with one of the company's LP3065 30" LCD monitors.

Some characteristics — be they positive or negative — aren't immediately apparent when testing a system, but they do become apparent over time. Having a system for an extended period (in this case, three months) also provides the opportunity to test that system well beyond what Cadalyst normally does. During the course of this review, for example, I tested graphics cards, backup software, and large LCD monitors, all for reviews that either have appeared or will appear in Cadalyst. This extended use gave me much greater experience with the system. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Webinar: Working with SiteNET
July 10, 2008
12 noon ET
In this webinar, Carlson Software's Gary Rosen will show how the SiteNET layer-based surface generator and earthwork calculator saves time and money. Read more »

Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World
July 21-24, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Architecture & Design World offers more than 70 educational sessions including tutorials, classes, case studies, keynotes and Birds-of-a-Feathers within six focused tracks. Read more »

National Collegiate Facilities Management Technology Conference
August 18-22, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
This annual event brings together the professionals who develop, support, and use a wide range of technologies to plan, build, and manage campus facilities. Read more »

Bentley Plant User Group Meeting
September 18-19, 2008
Biloxi, Mississippi
The Bentley Plant User Group Conference includes hands-on workshops, technology/product updates, keynote presentations by Bentley executives, and user presentations. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on