eDispatch Vol 52

We just returned from this year’s AIA conference in Los Angeles—the only town I’ve stayed where I needed to be on "The List" to get into my hotel’s bar. But everyone got the star treatment at our booth on the show floor. In between VectorWorks Architect presentations, three architects demonstrated that a value-priced product can have world-class architectural capabilities. VectorWorks users Dan Jansenson, Francois Levy, and Stan Rostas of Shook Kelly shared some interesting projects and processes with attendees.

Another VectorWorks user, Rios Clementi Hale, was featured in the Apple® and Architecture event, along with SketchUp® and Cinema 4D. With more than 650 people signed up, the event was a conference hit, and people were excited to see what could be done with VectorWorks Architect on a Macintosh. With the recent focus on BIM, we were happy to be showcased in a technology demo that highlighted architecture and productivity.

Participants were also particularly interested to meet Rye Syfan of Taylor & Syfan Consulting Engineers. They are a full-service structural engineering firm located in Southern California that uses VectorWorks. For those interested in using a structural engineer who doesn’t need to translate your files, check them out at www.taylor-syfan.com.

While in LA, we took the opportunity to meet with some of our larger clients in the area to discuss their key needs compared to smaller offices. Our popularity is growing with firms that have 20 or more designers. Although the fundamental architectural needs are the same, larger firms have a much bigger emphasis on collaboration, standards enforcement, and process control. We have been taking note, and you can expect to see more features that fulfill these needs in future VectorWorks releases.

Sean Flaherty
Sean Flaherty
CEO, Nemetschek North America

VectorWorks Tech Board



Adler Planetarium
Chicago, Illinois

VectorWorks Designer Helps Chicago’s Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum Bring the Universe Down to Earth

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum exhibit designer Alvaro Ramos thanks his lucky stars for VectorWorks Designer. Without it, a lot of the exhibits his department creates would not have been possible, he says. The Apollo 8 exhibit is one such example.

Launching the Apollo 8 exhibit
From scale models of the solar system to ancient astronomical instruments to interactive adventures, the Adler provides a passageway for visitors to explore the universe. And VectorWorks Designer gives Ramos the tools to make it all happen—from prototyping exhibits with conceptual geometry to visualizing ideas with exact colors and textures for executive approval to creating exhibit construction documents for exhibit fabrication.
But often he has very little time to do it in. And very little space. When Captain Lovell loaned the original Apollo 8 flight manual to the Adler, Ramos had less than three weeks to design, fabricate and install an exhibit in time for the holiday season. And he was initially given just 40 feet of space.

"Using VectorWorks Designer, we reduced design time to the smallest window possible on the Apollo 8 exhibit, so we could immediately jump into fabrication, which was incredibly critical on this quick turnaround project," says Ramos. "Because we had created a drawing and rendering of the exhibit space so quickly, we were also able to procure a bigger, better location, which resulted in a much more visible exhibit. As another result of the rendering, there were no surprises during design or fabrication that could have held up the exhibit."

He continued, "With the Apollo 8 exhibit, we were able to present to the public a part of American and human history in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without VectorWorks Designer. In the past, with instances like these in which we don’t have a lot of time, the inclination is to place the item that is to be showcased in a case and put it in a corner, which doesn’t do the item justice. Now, thanks to VectorWorks Designer, we’re able to truly streamline the design process and make strong arguments for effective exhibits with realistic, accurate presentations and get exhibits on display in record time."
Preserving an astronomical artifact
Ramos also finds VectorWorks Designer useful in cutting down on exhibit maintenance costs. An added VectorWorks value his boss was especially pleased with. When the Adler’s Atwood planetarium—one of the oldest functioning mechanical planetariums in the country—needed to be dismantled for repairs, VectorWorks Designer came to the rescue.

An active exhibit as well as an artifact, it has to be handled delicately. Not an easy endeavor, as the giant metal sphere in which visitors can see the night sky weighs 500 pounds and has a circumference of fifteen feet.

"Because the planetarium is a popular exhibit, it gets very heavy use, so its ball bearings wear out," Ramos explains. "Yet it also has great historical significance, so we have to treat it very carefully. This makes maintenance a lot more difficult and labor intensive. We needed to create a way to safely lift the mechanism while protecting the drive of the sphere, so the large ball bearings could be replaced and the sphere put gently back into its cradle. I was able to engineer the entire lifting mechanism in VectorWorks Designer, which eliminated the need for hands-on work that could potentially damage the planetarium. We didn’t have to build mock-ups or use jigs to figure out which angles would be required to safely move the sphere, and we didn’t have to enlist the help of an outside contractor to move it, which we’ve done in the past. So using VectorWorks Designer saved us money, since we didn’t have to pay someone to lift the planetarium. VectorWorks will also reduce maintenance costs in the future now that we can do routine repairs in-house."

He adds, "With VectorWorks Designer, I can’t believe so many more capabilities have been crammed into an already powerful package. All the tools that are bundled into VectorWorks Designer are fantastic. I have my Spotlight tools right alongside the Architect tools I use. And I can work among several workspaces at once without having to toggle from workspace to workspace. It’s truly amazing."

Visit the case studies page on Nemetschek North America's website to read the full story, "VectorWorks Designer Helps Bring the Universe Down to Earth."

Can I use a VectorWorks 12 workspace created on a Macintosh® with VectorWorks 12 running on Windows?

Quick Convert is a utility that allows you to transfer a workspace file from a Mac to a PC. Before using Quick Convert, make a backup copy of the workspace file you want to convert.

Download the QuickConvert.zip file and unzip the QuickConvert.mcd file to your desktop.

Drag the workspace file to be converted over the Quick Convert file on your desktop and release your mouse. Rename the workspace file to workspacename.qtr, using the name of the workspace. Either right-click or control-click on the converted workspace file and select Create Archive. The workspace file must be archived if you’re going to email it. The workspace file has now been archived and can be sent to a VectorWorks 12 user running Windows.

When the Windows user receives the file, he or she can unzip the file using WinZip, or any other decompression utility, then drag the workspacename.qtr file to the VectorWorks 12 Workspaces folder. The workspace will be available after launching VectorWorks.

How can I create walls from a footprint?

The Objects from Polyline menu allows you to create many different objects from a polygon or polyline.

First, create the footprint using the Polygon or Polyline tool. Draw the footprint in a clockwise direction. (See image 2-1) Be sure to note whether the footprint represents the inside, outside, or centerline of the walls.

Next, specify the type of wall to be drawn. Select the Wall tool in the Building Shell tool set and then on the Preferences button in the Mode Bar. From the drop down box of wall styles, select the appropriate type of wall. Click OK when done. (See image 2-2)

To convert the footprint to walls, select the footprint. Go to the Modify menu and select Convert>Objects from Polyline. (See image 2-3) The Create Objects from Polyline dialog box will appear. Select "Walls" as the object type and specify left, right, or center as the offset. (See image 2-4) If the footprint was drawn representing the inside of the walls, use right as the offset. If the footprint was drawn representing the outside of the walls, use left as the offset. Use center as the offset if the footprint was drawn representing the centerline of the walls. Checkmark Delete Source Poly if you would like to discard the footprint pattern. Click OK when done.

You have now created walls along the original footprint pattern. (See image 2-5)

How can I use a scanned drawing with VectorWorks?

After scanning a hand made drawing, you must import the image into VectorWorks to help build the drawing in VectorWorks. Before importing the image, you should think about what layer you want to place the image in and what scale you used to draw the image.

When importing an image, the image will be placed on the active layer. Before importing the image, set the active layer to the layer you want the image to be placed on. Make sure this layer is set to a scale of 1:1. If the scale is not set 1:1, the image itself will be scaled to a different ratio than the scale of the original drawing. You can change the scale later to account for the scale used in the original drawing.

Once you’ve specified the active layer and layer scale, you can import the image. To do this, go to File>Import>Import Image. Locate the image file and click OK. The image is imported and placed on the active layer. If the original drawing was drawn using 1:48 scale, change the active layer to this scale. The layer scale will now adjust to match that of the image, giving you accurate measurements.

When done using the image file, you can do one of two things. If you are worried about the size of the file, delete the image – you can always import the image file again if needed in the future. If you are not concerned with file size, simply set the layer with the image to invisible.


Tec Architecture Wins AIA LA Design Honor Award

Los Angeles firm tec Architecture won an AIA LA Design Honor Award for its Inotera Headquarters project, in Taipei. For more details and images, visit the tec Architecture website.

ASLA Grants 2006 Professional Awards to VectorWorks Landmark Users

Los Angeles firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios won a General Design Award of Honor for its Chess Park Project in Glendale, California. Florida firm Morris Architects won an Analysis and Planning Award of Honor for its Parque Amazônia, in Belém, Pará, Amazônia, Brazil.

VectorWorks via Podcast

New Zealand architect and VectorWorks manual author Jonathan Pickup adds an innovative approach to offering VectorWorks tips and tricks on his website: via Podcast.

Check them out on the "Blog" page of the ArchonCAD website.

New Training Manuals Available

Two new training manuals for VectorWorks 12 are available: Essential VectorWorks 12 and VectorWorks Architect Tutorial 12. Written by New Zealand architect Jonathan Pickup, one of the most experienced third-party VectorWorks authors, these manuals have been substantially redesigned for version 12 to facilitate a smoother introduction to VectorWorks and VectorWorks Architect. Visit the ArchonCAD website for more information.

Steve Glickman Receives AIA Award of Merit

Nemetschek North America congratulates Eastern PA User Group leader Steve Glickman on winning his second award from the AIA. His "Sheep Barn" project won an Award of Merit in the "Eclectic" category from the AIA Eastern Pennsylvania. View pictures of the structure on the AIA Eastern Pennsylvania 2005 Design Awards web page.





Jun 20 - Jun 23


San Francisco, CA (Booth #7441)

Jun 20 - Jun 22

Skills USA Techspo

Kansas City, MO (Booth #423)

Jul 19


Philadelphia, PA

Jul 20 - Jul 21

Design DC

Washington, DC (Booth #121)

Jul 28

AIA Florida Annual Tradeshow

Boca Raton, FL (Booth #57)





Jul 12 - 14

Columbia, MD

• Intro to VectorWorks
• VectorWorks Fundamentals

Jul 19 - 21

New York, NY

• Intro to VectorWorks
• VectorWorks Fundamentals

Jul 26 - 28

Atlanta, GA

• Intro to VectorWorks
• VectorWorks Fundamentals

AIA Accreditation
NNA is pleased to offer AIA Continuing Education credit for our seminars. The VectorWorks and VectorWorks ARCHITECT classes are AIA CES certified, so attendees can earn up to 24 CES learning units. For additional information, contact training@nemetschek.net.


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