04 May, 2017

ARCHICAD 21 is here

I tried to join the beta program again this year and, once again, I was slow on the draw. Man, it fills up really quickly! Anyway, having had no actual hands-on knowledge of the new version, I've been looking for the official announcement and it's finally here. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome [drumroll] ARCHICAD 21!

The major changes this time are:
  1. A long awaited, all-new, stair tool. Someone who actually used it during beta couldn't stop raving about it. If there's one tool that users have been clamouring for an improvement to all these years, it's the stair! You might find it hard to believe, but Spanish language users had actually started a Change.org petition for a better stair tool. So now that it's finally here, I'm itching to get my hands on it! The video below gives an overview of the Stair Tool.

    For a live example of what it can do, have a look at the Bauhaus Stairs of Budapest.

    ARCHICAD users in the subcontinent will also love to see the model of Chand Baori, one of the most intricate step-wells in India.
  2. To go with the stair, is a railing tool that can create associative railings, not just for stairs and ramps but for other elements as well. The use of the word associative indicates that it has built-in intelligence to adjust itself to changing base levels. This page also talks about a railing pattern editor which means you're no longer restricted to built-in railing patterns. To see a bit of what it can do, have a look at this video on recreating a portion of the great wall of China.

    The Stair and Railing tools seem to be a step towards fulfilling the promise that all major tools would eventually follow the lead of the curtain wall tool. Will doors and windows be next?
  3. Clash detection is something that users always needed to do in an external program but this ability has now been built into the core program. I'm guessing here that the criteria sets will be defined much like we do for graphic overrides. This is pure BIM and will probably get a big thumbs up from larger practices. So far, clash detection within ARCHICAD has (to the best of my knowledge) only been possible with elements from MEP Tools.
  4. Visualisation sees evolutionary improvement with the C4D v18 rendering engine. This may not be big news but it is desirable for the built-in renderer to evolve alongside the external engine,  otherwise we risk stagnation--which is akin to running backwards in our field. We don't want another Lightworks scenario...
As always, there are bound to be a number of small incremental improvements which will emerge as we go along. Some can already be seen on the ARCHICAD YouTube channel and I'm likely to click F5 multiple times a day to refresh the browser page and find out if any new videos have been uploaded!

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