New Year, New CAD: my CAD Story, the Future

Posted by & filed under #ArchiTalks, business, myStory, Professional Services.

The following is a part of the #ArchiTalks series wherein a topic is suggested and a group of architect bloggers each give their take on the subject. Take the time to click the links at the end of this post and read what others have to say on the topic of  “New Year, New ____”


VECTORWORKSIt has been a year now since purchasing Vectorworks. And it still has not been successfully implemented into our work flow. Part of that has been due to taking the time to learn the basics of the new software. And part of it has been because there really has not been a project that has been a good fit to start using it with. Some would say that all projects are a good fit for Vectorworks specifically and BIM generally. And while this may be true, we remain unconvinced for now. That being said, given the ordeal we recently went through to get the new pavilion in South Park under construction, the merits of a BIM software in our work flow are pretty obvious.



Briefly, for those wondering what BIM refers to, it is Building Information Modeling. The idea being that the building is constructed virtually in the computer as a model, from which the 2D drawings are derived. The model also contains information about the building components that can be extracted to create schedules of doors, windows, finshes, etc…

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Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 1023pm

Vectorworks is developed by Nemetschek as a cross platform software geared toward the architecture, landscape, and entertainment industries. I settled on Vectorworks for number of reasons, but largely due to peer recommendations.

I started going through the tutorials in my “spare time”. Needless to say, this took much longer than expected as spare time is not really something i have. So i resorted to scheduling time to work on the tutorials. This was much more effective and i managed to get through the sample project in relatively short order. There were some things that did not quite work out in the model created in the tutorial, but i was able to get a pretty good grasp on how the software works.



The next step was to try a project from scratch. As i did not have one on the boards at the time that would have been suitable for Vectorworks, i decided to use the Pavilion in South Park as a guinea pig. It is a relatively simple building, but still presents some unique challenges in Vectorworks as most of what i am trying to do was not explicitly covered in the tutorials. So i am having to figure out some new methods as i go. I still have not created the whole model in Vectorworks, but now that the holidays are over, i plan on getting back to it with a renewed vigor and a sense of urgency as we have potential project coming up soon that would be a good fit for our first official Vectorworks project.

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But, i need to be a bit more proficient in the software to confidently pull it off.

I am committed to making the switch to Vectorworks as our primary production software in the coming year. We will be switching from HighDesign. Which is a nice Mac only 2D CAD package that we have been using since the inception of FiELD9: architecture. But as we look to move into the future, it seems clear that the transition from 2D CAD to BIM is necessary. And Vectorworks is the next step in my CAD Story.



To read about what other architects are facing in the new year, follow the links below:

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
new race new year new start

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Nicholas Renard – dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year. New Gear.

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
New Year, New Era

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“new year, new _____”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New Adult Architect

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Little Premature

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
new year, new [engagement]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
New Year, More Change

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
New Year, New Office Space

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
New Year, New Appreciation

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
new year : new choices



The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty:

Matthew Long was born May 29th, 2013, happy, and seemingly healthy. Less than two days later his mother and I found ourselves in an neonatal intensive care unit waiting room, listening to a rushed intensive care doctor explain how our son needed immediate dialysis to save his life. The disease, he briefly explained, was one of a group of disorders called Urea Cycle Disorders, which impact the way the body breaks down protein. We later discovered that Matthew’s particular variant is called OTC Deficiency, a particularly severe form of it in fact, which results in a rapid rise of ammonia in the blood, called hyperammonemia, resulting in devastating neurological damage. This form of OTC is so severe, Matthew has virtually no peers who have survived it. Once the immediate crisis was arrested, we came to find out more about the disease and the impact of this initial event.


The disease is inherited, and the damage is permanent. Treatment consists of a combination of medications, low protein medical diet, and ultimately a liver transplant. Matthew was fortunate to experience no additional hyperammonemic events in the following fifteen months of life, and had a liver transplant on August 24th, 2014. The cure for the disease, a transplant, isn’t so much a cure as trading one condition for another. While we will never risk the chance of another ammonia spike, Matthew is on a half a dozen or more medications at any given time to avoid rejection. Despite these challenges, intensive daily therapy for cerebral palsy (a result of the initial damage), limited motor function, and various other challenges along the way, our son is remarkably happy and has changed all our lives for the better. He’s taught us to be stronger than we ever thought possible, to have faith beyond human understanding, and the immeasurable value of life.
The #ArchiTalks community is hoping to raise $5,500 to help Architect Rusty Long and his family reach their financial goal on If each reader of this post contributes a small amount, our impact will be massive and we can make a difference for Matthew’s family. Click here now and donate $2.00
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