Posted in practice on August 3, 2017 4:34 pm EDT

BIM Soars Ever Higher: A Q&A with Graphisoft

Church Designer conducts an exclusive interview with Tibor Szolnoki, ArchiCAD implementation team leader for Graphisoft, for a glimpse into the future of design.

All images this page, ArchiCAD 21 Stair Tool, courtesy of Graphisoft.











Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter Designer Today to stay up to date with all we do at Designer and with what's going on in the field of house of worship architecture.


TAGS: architectural design, bim, software, tools,


By Carol Badaracco Padgett

Graphisoft is known as the pioneer of Building Information Modeling through its ArchiCAD software product. ArchiCAD has found a forever home among AEC professionals that turn to it across the globe. The company’s other notable software products include BIMx, BIMcloud and ArchiCAD Solo.

A subsidiary of Nemetschek, Graphisoft SE is based in Budapest, Hungary, and develops its products with an eye toward providing architects, interior designers and planners improved design capabilities, workflows and data-accessibility.

"… in the next five years I foresee computers taking more and more of an active [role in] the creative part of the architectural workflow… "

—Tibor Szolnoki ArchiCAD Implementation Team Leader, Graphisoft, Waltham, Mass., U.S. offices.

What’s the big-picture takeaway for church designers that your flagship product, design software ArchiCAD, affords architects, interior designers and planners?

Szolnoki: Graphisoft fully supports BIM-based workflows in AEC projects. Designers of church spaces can take advantage of the technology trends in 2017 with ArchiCAD at the center of their BIM workflow. Designers can use augmented and virtual reality to present their concepts via mobile technology (tablets/iPads) in our lightweight tailor-made BIM data accessible software.

We've heard buzz about the ArchiCAD 21 Stair Tool. Tell me more, and how might this software feature benefit designers in general and those designing church spaces?

Szolnoki: We added the Stair Tool in ArchiCAD 21 because we recognize how designing stairs can be one of the most complex tasks in architecture. Stairs and railings must comply with stringent standards. ArchiCAD 21 has been engineered to remove the tedious iterations required to sync design intent with these standards. The new Stair Tool in ArchiCAD 21 extends architects’ creativity with automatic validation against human ergonomics—on the fly. Using ArchiCAD’s algorithms to validate thousands of design options in the background offers architects the most optimal stair designs to choose from within the context of the specific building.

In addition, with ArchiCAD 21’s next-gen Stair Tool, architects can jump right into the creative process: placing stairs with simple polyline input and choosing from various design options. If a problem can be solved in a variety of ways, the software offers a selection of the best options that fit both the user’s graphical input and the chosen standards. Intuitive graphical methods allow users to easily tweak the stair’s shape and to customize structural and finish components. As for the Railing Tool, one-click input creates an instant associative railing along stairs or other building elements, whose posts and panels can be assigned as patterns or customized individually.

How are 3D technologies changing how designers bring clients on board with their designs? Does Graphisoft offer any special features to enhance designers' abilities to show clients a design in 3D?

Szolnoki: Our solutions, ArchiCAD and BIMx go hand-in-hand with helping clients understand design intent. High quality 3D renderings in ArchiCAD help a client to ‘see’ what a design will look like. That model can be published to BIMx—further giving the client a way to experience the design in 3D. They can ‘walk through’ the church or sanctuary space in a way that helps bring the finished product to life. Now that BIMx has VR capability with Google Cardboard, that ‘walk through’ experience is further enhanced in an immersive and spectacular way.

What do you foresee that the future of BIM design will deliver in the near-term? What might the advancements be that have the greatest impact on AECs, including those who focus primarily on AVL design?

Szolnoki: BIM has been very useful for automating most of the documentation work but, if we want to be totally honest with ourselves, it didn't offer much help in the design part of the equation. Of course, with its 3D window, it offered an instant feedback loop to designers, but hasn't taken over anything from the designer.

At various parts of the architectural design workflow a computer could actually be helpful by actively contributing to the process. Just look at the process of designing stairs. What you can see [in the images here] is an illustration from the Neufert Architects Data, the world-leading codebook for architects. In this very thick book there are 10 pages just dealing with the ergonomics of stairs. An architect has to go through lots [of] iterations to actually find the right design complying with all the requirements.

Now computers are actually good at this stuff. Look at Google route planning for instance: you want to get from A to B in the shortest amount of time. The computer considers a wide array of parameters, analyzes lots of possible routes, and comes up with the best possible route or the best possible two to three options if there is no obvious ‘winner’ solution.

Designing stairs is like that. Stairs are simple structures connecting two floors of a building, but to make them useful for its users (humans), you have to follow stringent rules and regulations. With ArchiCAD 21, after several years of hard work, we are very happy to introduce our brand new stair tool with Predictive Design technology [thanks to the design expertise of Graphisoft’s Marta Molnar] that completely (I mean truly) takes the burden of stair design iteration off of the architect’s shoulders.

So, to make a long story short, in the next five years I foresee computers taking more and more of an active [role in] the creative part of the architectural workflow, as well.

Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD & Lighting Design

ArchiCAD very strongly supports objects, enabling an architect or designer to pick up a lamp or spotlight with parameters. In addition, libraries in ArchiCAD can contain specific objects or fixtures with the correct geometry and lighting specifications.





Learn more about the companies in this story:




What people are saying


 Add your comment:


Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?


Please enter the word you see in the image below: