The Week in Summary: Autodesk University for All, New VR/AR Tools & More

For better or for worse, we made it through the election circus and now it's time for a long weekend! Football and beer are at the top of our agenda, but before we get our armchair-warrior on, let's take a look at what's been happening in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) world this week.

We're gearing up and getting excited for Autodesk University 2016 next week in Las Vegas! It's a huge event and can be pretty overwhelming. We shared our guide for first timers last week, and this week we focused on the Autodesk University (AU) veterans. From making the most of concierge services to our favorite hangover remedies, we've shared some tidbits from our own experiences that will make Sin City a little less daunting.

We'd love to see you at Autodesk University next week! (Source: BuildingSP)

AU is all about discovering the multitude of handy tools that Autodesk offers. Another handy tool? Virtual reality (VR). And it's one handy tool that's finally finding its foothold in the AEC space. AEC is an industry that is notoriously reluctant to adopt new technology, but the value of virtual and augmented reality for design and information sharing is becoming evident. While the tools for VR are still new and by no means perfect, the field is growing rapidly: "Already they're changing not just how architects share their work with clients, but how they accurately picture projects as they themselves design." As the tech improves, VR is likely to prove invaluable, providing transparency throughout the design-build process.

But don't worry if you're not ready to invest in fancy headsets and pricey software. Augmented reality can still be a boon to your construction process with just a tablet and an app. Equipment giant Caterpillar just released an augmented reality (AR) platformthat allows anyone on a job site in need of expert assistance to reach out to that person, whether or not they are also on the job site. Cat's executives are convinced the new system "will be embraced by anxious workers in the field who have been historically frustrated by the difficult task of trying to explain problems and describe unique circumstances to expert assistants who are not there." With the app, the person on-site can point the camera at the problem, and the person assisting can advise them on how to proceed, even marking the scene to provide visual as well as verbal aid.

There are several features of Mexico City's Torre Reforma skyscraper that make it a stand-out piece of architecture, not the least of which is the historic house incorporated into its base. But most remarkable about the structure is that it's "earthquake proof." The engineering team from Arup used thousands of years of historical earthquake data as well as information from earthquake models to help them simulate how the building would respond in the instance of various-sized quakes. According to The B1M, "The tower's use of reinforced concrete shear walls, connected by smaller elements called 'coupling beams' help to dissipate seismic energy. Additionally, on the concrete faces, triple-height windows were installed every four floors allowing the walls to bend under stress without breaking." It has yet to be tested in the real world, but if it works, it could be a game changer for construction in seismic zones.

The Torre Reforma is Mexico City's tallest, most triangular, and only earthquake-proof building. (Source: The B1M)

Need a little whimsy after a crazy week? Check out these delightful structures by artist Charles Young. You'll be wishing for a real-life Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! Have a great long weekend everyone.



As you may have noticed, we've been doing a lot of writing about the impact of computational BIM, generative design, and the future of how we work. One thing we haven't done is turn some of this thinking into more rigorous analysis. But now we're ready to do that! 

If you work for a general contractor, subcontractor, or design firm and want to collaborate on whitepapers that quantify how computational methods of working will change our industry, reach out to us and let's talk about what we can do. We're open to collaborations worldwide and have lots of ways of measuring performance indicators to gain insight into change in our industry. Contact Brett Young at


Main image source: Phil Vance

Tags: Augmented Reality Virtual Reality Autodesk University

Latest ClashMEP Demonstration Videos

Clash Filtering

File-vs-File Clash Testing

Webinar with A2K Technologies

Drop us your email address and stay connected with us!