Graphisoft to ship ArchiCAD 9 in mid-September

7 Sep, 2004

On Sept. 1, Graphisoft announced ArchiCAD 9, the latest version of its object-oriented 3D building modeling software for the Macintosh and Windows.

The new version, due to ship in mid-September, features a spruced-up, uncluttered interface with dockable palettes (Windows only) and a customizable toolbox for commonly used tools. Context-sensitive editing tools known as Pet Palettes speed up drafting and element modification. The library search tool now supports keyword searches. PDF output is enhanced with the ability to print Layout Books as a PDF and to merge all PDFs into a single file. DWG support is now current to AutoCAD 2004/2005. Support for Autodesk's I-Drop functionality means you can drag and drop DWG files into ArchiCAD. IFC support is now built in--no more need for a plug-in.


The ArchiCAD 9 packaging features this image created by Jett Butler of FODA Group, an architectural design studio based in Austin, Texas. The TARK TOWER won the Beck Prize in Digital and Hybrid Media in the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation competition.

An NCS-compliant grid-based system for numbering drawings helps with management of large document sets in PlotMaker. A built-in editor makes text formatting easier, and the software now incorporates the LightWork rendering engine. LightWork supports reflections, soft shadows, and application of real-world materials to models.

You can now create and share customized work environments, which CAD managers can use as a tool to enforce company standards. Graphisoft reports that performance has improved--automatic section generation, for example, is as much as 10 times faster.

ArchiCAD is based on the concept of the virtual building, a single 3D model from which 2D construction documents are automatically derived."It eliminates typical mistakes and miscommunication caused by 2D construction documents," says Don Henrich, vice-president and general manager of Graphisoft US.

ArchiCAD 9 benefited from several new Graphisoft development programs, including a three-day customer workshop and project validation tests that used real projects. Graphisoft also enlisted more beta testers than ever before. One such tester, GRC (Gilchrist Ross and Crowe) Architects of Tallahassee, Florida, used the beta version for the renovation of Landis Hall, located on the Florida State University campus. GRC just completed the construction documentation phase of the $15-million project. GRC's goal was to maintain all major historic elements of the building while renovating it into a fully equipped student residence hall.

GRC provided master site planning, design and construction documentation, value engineering, and construction administration. Additional services included environmental permit application, design of the communication systems, interior design and furniture selection, and full-time site representation. The project was managed with an advanced demolition package. For its site planning services, GRC used ArchiCAD 9's 3D Virtual Building solution for massing studies.

"The ArchiCAD 9 feature set was significantly better, and the beta version clearly stable enough to use on a real project," says Richard Crowe, a GRC principal. The firm has used ArchiCAD for the last eight years to help it prepare competitive bids. "Our productivity per head is double or triple the average, and is attributable to ArchiCAD" Crowe says. Though when it comes to matching up with 2D designers, Crowe says there's no competition: "If it's [Graphisoft's] Virtual Building up against 2D, we will always win."

landis hall, fsu

GRC used a beta version of ArchiCAD 9 for a $15-million renovation project on Florida State University's Landis Hall, which will house Honors college students.

GRC will now move on to design Florida State's 160,000-square-foot Wildwood Hall dormitory, with a construction budget of $30 million. GRC completed its winning design, including structure and budget, in five days using ArchiCAD 9. The project was presented using a combination of 16 x 7 ft panoramic design-flow drawings and a 3D walk-through, all done in ArchiCAD. "The real attribute of the tool is that we could show the scale, articulation and form of the building," said Crowe.