ARCHICAD 23: Next Level of BIM

 In BIM, BIMx, DATA, DESIGN, Documentation, GRASSHOPPER, OpenBIM, Workflow

As many as you already know ARCHICAD 23 is going to be released very soon. As usual in all the AC updates there are great new features, improvements and advantages. In this post I would like to talk about what is coming with AC23.

During the last KCC 2019 held in Las Vegas last month, we had insights to amazing new improvements of the latest version of our favourite software. Let’s have a look:

Column & Beam Tool Enhanced

All AC users could agree that these two tools were calling for an update. What we couldn’t imagine is that the result was going to be so powerful.

Now Columns and beams are more of a free form linear extrusion that allows to combine different Complex Profiles along the same axis in order to build very complex 3D Structures. 

It is possible to change the size and angle of rotation of the edge faces, scale different parts of the whole element in different points, curve them in 3D and still get a much more advanced representation in 2D.


Voids, Niches, and Recesses

This is actually a complex one to understand unless you can see it in action. Actually it is way more useful than it sounds.

With this tool is that we can do Voids in 3D on Walls, Slabs, Shells and other 3D elements in Horizontal, Vertical or any other direction in the space. And these voids are also going to be represented in 2D using GDL representation options. 

What will enhance our daily workflow is that (unlike the SEO operations) these complex 3D voids are totally linked to their representation in 2D which before was not possible (except for the very particular case of some GDL objects). 

We will be able also to schedule these Voids to manage their properties. It is also possible to create Void objects out of almost any 3D element in our model including IFC elements imported from other parties such Engineers. This last process can be done automatically selecting these elements linked from an external IFC using a Void menu.

Other Features & Performance Upgrades

We have enhanced Model View Options for representing Slabs of similar Building Materials in 2D. We can decide the way we represent the join line in between them, we can display differently the Beams and other elements that depending if these are below or above the slabs.

We have an enhanced Menu to Control all messages that we get from AC during work such as Missing Hotlinks, Libraries, Drawings, Attributes, etc.. In this way we are not bothered by these messages anymore when we open new files, but we can access to a more developed control center menu that allows us to manage all of them at the same time.

External drawing links are much faster to load and update. The way these 2D links update and refresh now when we turn on and off layers is really fast. Also when we update drawings, AC23 now only updates the visible portion of the drawing, making the upgrade process much faster than before.

Another small feature is that AC23 supports now the import of Bentley MicroStation’s native. DGN v8 file format. AC23 also fully supports IFC4 Reference View (its new entity and geometry representation types), and has received official buildingSMART certification for IFC4 Reference View Export. There are also other small features you will be able to discover by yourself very shortly. 

Seamless Connectivity – SMC and dRofus

The connectivity in between ARCHICAD and Solibri Model Checker has been tremendously enhanced. The new Add On will allow a life connection in between both of them. Why is this so powerful?

Having both softwares opened we can highlight elements of one of them in real time into the other. We can send and receive changes in real time, show particular problems and clashes found in SMC back into ARCHICAD to correct them. Then updating particular elements from AC into SMC again to run another checking.

Looking at the demo seems as if only One BIM model was opened at the same time in two different views, allowing us to perform functionalities from both platforms. The real time model updating process so fast, that the experience from the user perspective is almost like using the power of SMC inside ARCHICAD.

Regarding dRofus, there  is an Add On coming for ARCHICAD that enhances connectivity in between both platforms. In order to explain this in a very simple way, apart from the usual workflow in between any BIM tool and dRofus, the connexion will allow to manage, modify, create Zones and place Library Objects in ARCHICAD following requirements of the Spaces driven by the database of dRofus. 

So dRofus platform will not only be fed by ARCHICAD models but will also be able to populate and manage a great deal of modelling and data, like requirements and specifications within the ARCHICAD model. Just about this Add On we could be talking further since it will also allow to use the Data and requirements coming from dRofus together with Expressions and Graphic Overrides. All this together can boost the way ARCHICAD models comply with different requirements of the project through the management capacity of dRofus.

ARCHICAD API – Python & Json 

It is known that many users are upgrading ARCHICAD as many other tools by scripting particular actions within them.

In the case of ARCHICAD this has only been possible to be done before with C and C++ language in the past.Now in the coming months, Graphisoft will also open the API to other popular languages as Java and Python Python is a more intuitive and growingly adopted scripting language. It has available hundreds of libraries that can enhance the capabilities and the features of AC to the imagination of the user!  

We have been a beta testers of this Python API during the last year and what we can say is that it could be extremely powerfulThe API has access to the BIM model completely, allowing to work with both the geometry and more importantly with the Information and documentation.  There are still many functionalities that have to be implemented to this API, but it’s a great start!.

Now the possible actions and functionalities that can be modified or created within ARCHICAD using Python scripting are increasing. During the KCC we could see in live demonstrations how all Zones of a model were re-named and coloured running a script, How we could modify parameters and Data inside elements of a model, automating the naming of hundreds or thousands of Layouts, and much more.

This is still a beta testing platform but it is getting really close to be available for users.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is also getting more and more popular among users that are enhancing the capabilities of their tools. JSON enables the connection with other softwares. AC API with this scripting language will be also available very soon.

BIMx API

The API of BIMx has also been proven to have huge potential. Mr Roberto Minnucci  from Minnucci Associati, Italy has been able to connect some equipment of the Hyper model such as Lamps, Blinds, Windows, etc…; with the real Equipments through IOT. 

What this means is that within the Hyper Model in BIMx, by selecting a Lamp for example, there is an option of turning it On and Off because it is connected with the control device of real object. So BIMx can become an incredible Facility Management tool as well as a very useful device for users to have control of their premises.

This capacity is part of the new set of tools that are changing the way we connect technology with our physical environment. Having a personal digital twin of our house is not a bad idea at all.

GH – AC Connection – Parameter Level – Complex Profiles

As many of you already know, the connection AC-RH-GH has been improved recently. Now throughout the connection we have the capacity of modifying our Model at the Parameter level. Apart from deconstructing AC elements into GH and being able to use these parameters to generate new elements, we can control Modifiers of the Complex Profiles of our model.

Modifiers on CP have been a great addition in the previous AC22. The way we can control these parameters through GH allow us to manage our model without the necessity of creating too many attributes such as different CP. The new Grasshopper Deconstruct Component can be used also to extract AC element surface data as a design reference

We use the AC – GH connexion in a daily basis in our projects. We strongly encourage other users to use the connexion more often in order to benefit from its huge potential.

Project feature – PRIDE – Multidisciplinary workflows with AC as a Backbone

The Irina Winer-Usmanova Rhythmic Gymnastics Center done by the Russian Office PRIDE has become the signature project of AC23. It is not strange since the project itself is a master lesson of multidisciplinary collaboration in Open BIM. This workflow was carried  throughout the whole project lifecycle using ARCHICAD as the backbone of the whole development. This includes a very challenging Computational script for both Architecture and Structure model that was totally integrated with the BIM workflow thanks to the connection in between Grasshopper and ARCHICAD.

It was important to mention about this project in this article since it is a great representation of the present capacity of AC and its goal of constantly improve, overcome challenges and boost collaboration for the sake of the project. 

Please have a look to the Video of the AC23 Worldwide Premier if you want to learn more.

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