Are You A “Revit Guy”?

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As is my want I like to write from experience and this week I found myself in a conversation that I’ve had far too many times in this past 25 years.

You see once upon a time you were called a “CAD guy” and that has now morphed over time that you may be called an “ArchiCAD/Revit/BIM guy”.  This is often said in such a way that means you are not something else…  Most often an architect.

In my experience it “sounds” very similar to the way that drafting/technician staff were/are referred to;  ie they were not architects.  The two tribes of designers vs documenters lives on.

I have been very fortunate in my career to have seen so much change and transformation over these past 25 years in seeing both technology evolve as well as how the roles within a project could evolve.  Watching staff be confronted with 3D over 2D, model first and annotate second, the lateness of elevations & sections, etc…  I saw staff with certain titles or roles working in ways not necessarily defined by their roles.

With the drafting/technical staff, I saw some who would still follow the markup without understanding to follow the changes vertically/horizontally through the building (slaves to only 2 dimensions, ambivalent to the 3rd).  I also saw others of the drafting/technical staff who did the exact opposite.  Suddenly it was clear, who of these staff were thinking in 3D, in effect building in their head.

With the architectural staff, I saw some who reveled in the immediacy of walking through their ideas and pushing them further but occasionally I was confronted with the opposite.  I found occasional architects and in one case a design director who were clearly used to working up looser diagrams and were quite confronted by the honesty of the model.

In essence, the design professions have been enabled by new technologies but also confronted and its troubling to hear even the new generation of architects defining those who choose to embrace and develop digital built environments as someone who is not an “architect”.  <insert your profanity of choice here>

Yes.  When someone says “are you a Revit/ArchiCAD/BIM guy?” they are most usually defining you as someone who is not an architect…

I heard an engineer address a room of architects some years ago and I’ll summarise what he said.  “Don’t get me wrong designers, we still need your scribble on a napkin…but once we have a model, well.. its all up for grabs”.  The response in the room was a resounding “meh”.  The engineer spoke of revolution and the potential victims shrugged their shoulders.  The market is changing.  Some architects have seen their designs removed from their care post design approval to be modelled and delivered by someone else whom the contractor sees can better serve their needs: And don’t for one second think that they’re aren’t already companies lining up to take advantage of this… But very few if any are traditional architects.

As a very BIM savvy friend of mine said to an enquiring no BIM savvy person in his office not so long ago “That model file is Architecture, it’s just that right now it serves an old paradigm dominated by paper and that paradigm is well truly on the move”.

@sydsal

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