Photos by Martin Tessler
Vancouver interior designers Penner & Associates recently completed the Burnaby, BC headquarters of Sustainable Solutions International (SSi), a manufacturer and distributor of water-efficient plumbing fixtures. This open, airy space demonstrates the hallmarks of these designers: fresh, contemporary design and a focus on healthy workspaces. This project's green design features include daylight and occupancy sensors for lighting, Greenguard IAQ Certified furniture and seating, and the use of regional, recycled content and rapidly renewable materials. The interior also integrates the client's own ultra-low water use fixtures. The SSi headquarters was recently awarded a Silver Award of Excellence from the Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia, and is registered for LEED certification.
Asked to describe their use of Vectorworks, Robin McIntosh, Director of Design at Penner & Associates, points to two of Vectorworks' strengths: its unique hybrid 2D/3D environment, and graphics capabilities that are unmatched in other CAD packages, with extensive colour libraries, gradients and transparency.
"I like that it's easy to move from our typical 2D drawings into three dimensions for a quick model. There's often one portion of a project that needs study in 3D because of the complexity of its design elements or the need to communicate it to the client. On this project, it was the reception desk, which is a series of interlocking planes that needed a closer look. It's good to be able to do 3D selectively, without being forced to choose between an entirely 2D or 3D process. We also constantly use Vectorworks' colour and graphic capabilities, working out colour blockings and tile patterning in both plans and elevations."
Penner & Associates has also just launched p+a furniture, a new store with their own sustainable and stylish line of furniture. p+a furniture is located in the recently restored historic Flack Block in downtown Vancouver at 159 West Hastings, Vancouver.
Our upcoming June 18-19 training course still has a couple of spots available. Now's your chance to learn the basics in a small-group class with plenty of time for your own questions.
And remember, if you don't see what you're you're looking for here, we provide onsite, one-on-one and Internet-based training as well. See the training section of our website for more details and contact info.
Upcoming Training Events
|June 18-19||Vancouver, BC||Vectorworks Fundamentals|
|July 30-31||Vancouver, BC||3D Modeling and Rendering|
|Aug 7||Vancouver, BC||Intermediate Vectorworks|
|Aug 27-28||Vancouver, BC||Vectorworks Fundamentals|
Visit our website or call (866) 288-1888 to register your place. If you are unable to attend but are interested in Vectorworks instruction, tell us about your onsite or custom training needs.
If you work in architecture, you likely already know that BIM (an acronym for Building Information Model) promises to change how work gets done in many areas of architectural design and construction. More and more architects are integrating BIM practices into their work, and of those who aren't yet doing so, many are looking for information on what it means for their work, and how BIM can be introduced into their firms.
Drawing by Thom Davis
BIM was one of the themes at this year's conference of the Ontario Association of Architects this May, where Geoff McBeath of Resolve Software Solutions presented a half-day conference session on Vectorworks and BIM, along with co-presenters Neil Ironside of Toronto and Thom Davis of Calgary, who demonstrated the use of Vectorworks in their own companies. Interest in the topic is clearly high, as the session was sold out.
At the annual conference of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, also in May, Molly Chan, MAIBC, of NSDA Architects in Vancouver, provided the perspective of a Vectorworks firm in a conference session entitled A Realist's View of BIM, along with users of Revit and Archicad.
Starting this June, Resolve Software Solutions will be holding free sessions on Vectorworks BIM that introduce the important principles of BIM to beginners, explain the Vectorworks approach to this topic, and present the work of some architects making smart use of BIM practices in their own projects.
To sign up for an online presentation, see our schedule at the link below. Or if you have a larger group, let us come to your office. In the Vancouver area, this can be scheduled for almost any time. For other Canadian cities, get in touch with us, and if we're coming through town as part of our training or promotions schedule, we'll certainly set aside time for a personal visit.
While attending the BC Land Summit in Whistler in mid-May, we were surprised how frequently we were asked about the ability to view a Vectorworks building or streetscape model in conjunction with Google. This prompted us to create this newsletter's Tips and Tricks topic, exporting a Vectorworks model to Google Earth. It's possible to place a model at precisely the latitude and longitude of a real-world site, and move through space in Google Earth seeing the model in situ. This is especially interesting if you're working on the design for a site in a built-up urban area, since many cities now have buildings in their downtown cores already modelled, allowing you to see the surrounding context instantly. Of Canadian cities, Vancouver appears to have the most developed model, with almost all of the downtown peninsula in place. Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto also have fairly complete downtown cores. And by the way, if you don't have Google Earth, you can download it for free.
To place your own model in Google Earth, use the following steps. Note that to do this you need to own one of the Vectorworks Design Series packages.
Create your model in Vectorworks. On the simple end of the scale, this could be as easy as making extruded rectangles for a simple massing model. The Massing Model Tool is also a quick and effective method of creating a streetscape. If your design is already more detailed and drawn with wall, door and window objects, so much the better.
If you don't know the exact latitude and longitude of your site, do the following:
- In Google Earth, choose Add > Placemark.
- Move your pin to the desired location. Choose a spot you'll be able to match to a point on your Vectorworks model. We've put ours at the site of the Pacific National Exhibition, since having a model home at the PNE is a longtime tradition.
- Note the latitude and longitude.
In Vectorworks, do the following to prepare your model for export:
- Make sure that the exterior of your building is coloured, as textures won’t be brought into Google Earth.
- Set unneeded layers with interior objects to invisible. Otherwise this could result in a bigger file that will deteriorate performance in Google Earth.
Now export the model:
- Choose File > Export > Export KML (3D only)
- Select Set Reference Point to Next Mouse Click.
- Fill in latitude and longitude based on the info from Google Earth. To make entering the values easier, you can enter values in the format 123d2m14s to represent degrees, minutes, seconds.
- Page North and Z Height Offset is available when needed. Page North takes in the angle between the drawing’s Y-axis and true North. Positive angles turn the drawing clockwise.
- Set to include all visible layers, and make selections for the type of objects that will be exported as appropriate to your model.
- Once you click OK, the dialogue box will close. At this point you will need to mark the Reference Point with a single click.
- Save the .kml file.
To bring the model into Google Earth, choose File > Open and select the .kml file. The model will automatically be placed at the location you've chosen. Have fun!