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The Design Summit

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

This is a really big deal:


Not since I began working here have I seen such a desire here to reach out to users and get feedback. This event was normally held just for our distributors and other partners, but this year they are opening it up to any user of Vectorworks. There's even a discounted ticket system for students and teachers.

They're going to be revealing new features in Vectorworks early, something that only happened a few weeks prior to release last year, and almost never before release in prior years. This is a huge first step at opening communication with users and bringing them in to take feedback and get input. If you are near the Philadelphia PA area or can get there, I highly recommend you attend if at all possible, though I know April is a bit short notice.

Also, I -will- be there doing a large portion of the Tech Support Appointment work, so you can stop by, shake my hand and/or throw potatoes at me. We can meet and greet and eat some of the EXCELLENT food they always provide. A huge amount of company resources are being thrown into this event, we are going all-in for this. If any of you are able to join us and help make this event a bursting success, I see great things coming more easily in the future in this same vein.

Ok I'm done soapboxing for now. ;) I will add more notes as events and speakers and so on are confirmed and scheduled. Normally I wouldn't focus so directly on an event like this, but I see huge potential here. If anyone has any questions, let me know and I'll answer ASAP.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

They haven't posted details about it yet, but myself and my department will be hosting Tech Support Appointments during the summit, where you can bring your machine or just your files on a flash drive and ask us anything you like, technical or training questions, for a set time slot.

We don't get a chance to simply sit down with you guys and answer ANY kind of question in this manner very often (Due to time constraints tech support calls and emails are mainly only for tech support, not training related inquiries) so its nice to have some time set aside for us to do this. So if you plan on coming, make sure you bring your laptops or files and we can work with you. More details on this and setting up appointments will come as they add info to the main page.

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I'm heading to your part of the world around that time.

If I could make it, I simply would print off the 2016 Needle and Mortar wish list and hand a copy to each key speaker and ask why has it taken so long.

Edited by Kizza
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Engineering has that list, but "why has it taken so long" isn't helpful to improving the software. The criticism is correct, but repeating it isn't helping the features advance.

We hear you, we get it, these are steps we are taking to ensure that the mistakes made previously stop happening and don't recur. This is a chance to give direct feedback and be heard, throwing past issues in the faces of those trying to help is not going to get anyone anywhere.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I believe so, yes. I know the plan is to at least post the 4 main keynote speaker's sessions, but I think they are still working out which others will be recorded and posted.

For instance, there is a session being given by Juan Almansa (My direct boss) on G series/network licensing for multi-seat firms that will be pretty in-depth and technical, it may be decided that its a useful supplement to the current network license setup materials.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

We've gotten approval for CEU credits for some of the breakout sessions!

More info on which breakout sessions will have them along other possible credits will be added to the main page as they become available.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

More details on the sessions and credits provided:

Approved for 1 AIA LU

BIM – Contractors Fighting the Inevitable

Rob Glisson, AIA, Principal, ROJO Architecture

Learn why ROJO Architecture has heavily invested in educating building owners and contractors on the benefits of creating and sharing 3D BIM models. The firm's cofounder will explain what message they're sending to contractors and how his firm's bottom line is benefiting from such efforts by putting 100 percent of their time into design rather than documenting and drafting.

Learning Objectives

1. Examine the benefits of BIM today and its potential for the future.

2. Understand that BIM, while exciting for the architect, is a true paradigm shift in the way we will deliver buildings in the future.

3. Recognize that BIM is not CAD; rather, it is much more with amazing consequences.

4. Explore how the process of architecture will change and where architects' importance will lie within the new system as delivery methods changes.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Thinking Through Your Sketches

Peter Exley, FAIA, Director of Architecture at Architecture Is Fun, Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Regional Representative, Illinois, for the AIA Strategic Council

BIM software isn't just a design and production tool; it's adept at helping the smart architect tell a compelling story. In this session, a Chicago-based architect will demonstrate a back and forth workflow between analog and digital tools, leveraging familiar software and conventional hand drawings to create captivating 3D sketches that communicate evolving design solutions to clients and AE colleagues.

Learning Objectives

1. Recognize how digital tools and BIM software can be used effectively alongside analog tools in the design process.

2. Learn to use advanced technological tools to efficiently communicate sophisticated design ideas to laypersons.

3. Discuss the role of old and new technologies in advancing design ideas and project communication to team members.

4. Develop an efficient workflow for a design team that allows multiple users to generate compelling presentation sketches and informative digital models.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Building Urban

David Leven, AIA, Partner at LEVENBETTS and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design, and Stella Betts, Partner at LEVENBETTS and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

From the design of the city to the design of the urban interior, “building urban” is an activated design process that applies to design at all scales and areas of focus. Join two New York City-based architects as they discuss the importance in their work of the study of the organizational constructs and their discontinuities for the design of truly integrated architecture that looks at cities, urban buildings, houses, interiors, exhibitions, and furniture.

Learning Objectives:

1. Discuss urban and architectural organizational systems.

2. Examine the particularities of these systems that may present opportunities for design and how and what might interrupt these systems.

3. Investigate divergent scales of design that might apply to “building urban.”

4. Examine what “building urban” might mean in a non-city design situation.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Design Context and Digital Design

Stanley Paul Rostas, AIA, LEED BD&C, IIDA, CNU, Founding Principal

Shook Kelley

Hear from a top technology guru how he represents the design context using CAD software from the presentation phase of the vision to the construction phase of that vision. Rostas will also explore how various CAD tools and features aid an architectural and urban design in places for convening.

Learning Objectives

1. Learn how to use digital software within the legal context.

2. Leverage models for use within different review and approval contexts.

3. Apply digital software within the quantitative context.

4. Explore how to use digital software within the environmental context.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Using Smart CAD Tools to Complete a Sustainable Site Plan

Stephen W. Schrader Jr., PLA, ASLA, Associate Landscape Architect, Holcombe Norton Partners, Inc.

Information modeling holds the key to more efficient productivity in site design. Learn how CAD tools like smart objects and built-in worksheets speed up site design at all phases of a project, from preliminary site planning to documenting compliance with green codes, local landscape ordinances, and LEED certification credits.

Learning Objectives:

1. Augment existing CAD workflows, using standard CAD tools along with parametric and “smart” objects to model site data and store information beyond the visual representation of the project.

2. Apply database, reporting, and spreadsheet functions in worksheets to derive site data from the geometry and smart objects in a CAD drawing to simplify and reduce errors in calculation tasks.

3. Set up and use a plant database to store plant data, and prepare worksheets to calculate landscape water use reduction from a calculated baseline to meet project goals or green building credits.

4. Verify compliance with green codes, zoning/landscape ordinances, and LEED/SITES credits, using worksheet calculations to test the effects of design decisions in real time.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Site Information Modeling (SIM) & 3D Visualization

Todd McCurdy, FASLA, Vice President/Director of Landscape Architecture + Planning, MORRIS

Using 3D modeling is an integral part of a site design workflow for internal visualization, as well as presentations to the client. Learn how to analyze your design for boundaries, area, volume, slope, cut/fill, and other data; easily document existing structures, plant materials, and site conditions; and integrate modeling into your current site workflows.

Learning Objectives:

1. Learn how to use software visually in the site planning process to better understand conditions and challenges.

2. Take study to the next level with quick massing studies.

3. Learn about site walls/retaining and cut/fill.

4. Learn how to make full presentation renderings out of your process models.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

The Small Group Takes on Holistic Design

Michael Klaers, Lighting Designer at The Small Group and Leader of the Santa Barbara Vectorworks User Group

Watch a demonstration of how Klaers uses CAD software to iterate designs in the entertainment industry while achieving his goal to keep several design disciplines coordinated, update clients, and track vital data without limiting design ideas. He will share his workflow that takes him from initial ideas, to renderings to share with other designers, to construction documents, to complete sets of data, and to final renderings.

Learning Objectives

1. Define strategies for developing design elements.

2. Explore strategies for mining data from drawing.

3. Examine in-process renderings as a method of keeping clients and partners in the loop.

4. Discuss presenting sight lines as renderings.

Approved for 1 AIA LU

Efficient Drawing Techniques for Lighting and Scenic Design

Jim Woodward, Creative Director, Exhibit Logic

Discover how to unleash your creativity by exploring different workflow approaches for capturing and developing your ideas. Woodward, a noted entertainment and exhibit designer, will share how his creative visions come to life through his approaches to designing with software.

Learning Objectives

1. Set up your drawing for speed and efficiency with the workspace editor.

2. Discuss the balance between creative thinking and user interface.

3. Study the creation of lighting, shading, and texturing with render speeds in mind.

4. Learn how to avoid repetitive actions by creating project templates and organizing resources.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
Got the permission from the boss man finally, will be attending, looking forward to it ;)

I'll be seeing you there! Just got the schedule and I'll be there the entire time, mainly in the Tech area taking questions during the breakout sessions but mingling otherwise.

So you know who you're looking for:


I'm the older, fatter, less adorable one pictured above if you were wondering.

Or they'll have me lifting heavy things, somehow I always manage to end up lifting heavy things...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Today is an excellent day.

The Summit has been a resounding success so far from everyone I have spoken with. I have the pleasure of announcing some very exciting news at around 10AM Eastern time today, stay tuned.

You know, since looking at a web forum is... "Tuned".

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I THINK the two main keynotes (the preview videos you all saw were within one of them) are going to be posted for public viewing, but I'm not positive.

They had a film crew there filming both of them from multiple angles so it would be odd if they didn't post one.

The slides from the presentations I do not think will be made public, since they were early previews and they likely will want something a bit more polished. I will ask. But you guys got to see the best of the stuff in those video clips already ;)

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