Free software will build architect skill

May 4, 2001

Software that radically changes the way architects work is being offered free to European academic institutions.

Revit Technology, creator of the first parametric building modeller for architects and other building design professionals, has launched Academic Alliance in Europe, offering academic institutions access to its revolutionary architectural computer-aided design technology (Cad).

The company is launching the initiative following its decision to promote the 3D-based software in the European and Middle Eastern markets. It already has a successful academic programme in the United States.

Through the alliance, Revit Technology is supporting the innovative use of parametric building technology for teaching and research in building design. Revit is pioneering the concept of parametric modelling to higher education and offers institutions academic-year grants for software licences to the company's technology.

The software has been used by students in the department of computer graphics technology at Purdue University for more than a year.

David Bozell, assistant professor in the department, said that Revit had made a compelling case for the trial in the first place. "There are only two or three key Cad programmes that address this design market and only Revit makes no charge for use to academic institutions," he said.

"We also found that the program is amazingly powerful. It is unbelievable how much time we save. We were prepared to be less than convinced and there were indeed issues with the first version of Revit.

"But we're now on version 3.1 and the changes have been significant. The parametric model means that our students can make revisions to their work in a fraction of the time that a standard Cad package would take."

The software transforms the process of how buildings are designed, constructed and operated over their lifecycle. Revit's parametric change engine automatically reflects any design change throughout the entire project, while the architect concentrates on the design intent.

"We think we can save up to three-quarters of our revise time on some projects. Some of our students are working in the developing construction fields of panellisation and prefabrication. These techniques are having profound effects on the construction industry but depend on all building parameters, including door and window sizes, for example, being finalised two to four months before construction. Revit allows for extremely rapid revision to these and other parameters."

Dr Bozell said the company's agreement that allowed students to use the software at home had led to increased interest in the design course.

"There are a lot of time-consuming assignments that previously would have had to be completed in the computer labs. We've had more people signing up to the courses since we offered the at-home option," he said.

Russell Henry, head of operations for Europe and the Middle East at Revit, said that grants would be considered for degree-granting college and university architecture and building-oriented courses in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. More European countries would be added soon.

He said: "The technology empowers design professionals to make changes anytime, anywhere in the design process. Proven ease-of-use allows complete collaboration on designs by the entire design team, including consultants."

Revit's Academic Alliance Request for Proposals for 2001-2002 academic year are available to staff and researchers at www.uk.revit.com

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