My background as Architect, from university to professional world was using Autocad as the ultimate tool. On that time, no one had the clue about BIM, or software companies were not focused on it. When I was a student, I started using Autocad 2002 if not wrong, so pretty much you can imagine at that time, Autodesk and other software were more interested in developing their product for the best usage possible.
I remember when someone introduced me Sketchup, was blown away from the capacity that I would have to explore my conceptual ideas in 3D, without losing time with a mock-up. There were and are out there, professionals o uses Sketchup for more than volume tests, they can produce super graphic detailing with that.
Personally, I was never very fond of mock-ups, of course they were important, especially in some scales and if our intervention approaches urban scale. For housing or small-scale projects, I always preferred to test it on my monitor.
Meantime with time, someone introduced Archicad, I found it fabulous but, in some way, a little bit complex since my mind was formatted to think in 2D, when inserting my inputs on digital sheets. Unfortunately, at that time didn’t got time to invest and explore that technology, I was a working student, so my time had to be used very wisely.
My perception being a user that had worked for Autocad for a long time and started to work with Archicad, was that software nowadays forces Young Architects or students to start thinking their projects as real professionals. I got my second contact with Archicad when I had already many years of experience in profession. I got hired at that time, by a Studio that only worked with Archicad. So, took the opportunity to dive into it and learn the best way possible. I remember I was investing my time by learning REVIT, since most companies were into it, but apparently life, destiny, whatever you want to call it, got another plans for me and I had to hurry my learning process and develop my skills for Graphisoft.
Project interaction on both software, Revit and Archicad provides and in some way, oblige the user to start thinking about materials, structure itself among other elements. The basic and quite naive way to insert your project in Autocad differs a lot from those other cousins. Autocad is lines, construction of an idea through lines, pretty much is like transporting a sketch to a digital sheet, with the accuracy difference. Detailing would come after…
BIM software, you can construct your conceptual idea there, somehow you must have in mind some other important aspects of the project. BIM helps you and forces, to think on project from start to finish. What kind of slabs and walls you’re thinking for it.
It’s the exercise to think about the project in a more mature way.
Our way of thinking is represented on BIM, a human does think in 3D dimensions, sketches in 3D and 2D, test spaces the same way, so programs should stablish a parallel interaction in terms of project conception. Besides, in terms of construction, makes all sense to use a model available for the rest of the teams. Engineers, Architects, Contractors can interact with the same file and apply changes that in the future can translate in a more efficient way to communicate and work.
On internet you’ll find plenty of articles and opinion based about what Archicad and Revit users think and accomplish with their working software. There’s a lot of debate our there about it, a list of pros and cons, personally I don’t want to get into that role. What I 100% support is that, people embrace BIM as a huge turning point for Architecture and construction industry. Both software forces people to think more wisely about their project and in some way you have no chance to think the design scheme with a mature Architect mentality.
Autocad were a bunch of lines, we would create a project, but nothing compares to the possibility to start building your idea 2D/3D and step by step the programme itself will require some serious thoughts about heights, materials, texture, windows, stairs nature, facade etc etc. That baby type process, were thoughts were naive, just gone, nowadays BIM, and I am very glad for that, conducts things and thinking process into a more complex level.
That being said, Young Architects and Students benefits from it, when they start their professional life inside a studio, they already got the input how to interact with the program itself. How some things are constructed it’s another subject to discuss later, but the mindset is already there.
I just got benefits when starting to use Archicad, I had to redesign an older project created under the Autocad file and for me was a nightmare. Repetition over and over, just to adjust some changes in design scheme. Not a Pro or a Guru, completely away from it, but I do understand the pros in this industry for using BIM software, no matter if you’re a Revit or Architect user.
Young Architects will apply critical though when designing. The sentence; “I will think on that after.” Does not exist anymore. You might not be certain, but you’ll leave an intention.