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A Brief History of ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD is an architectural BIM software application developed for architects for two and three-dimensional design. The software’s capabilities and add-ons enable users to create building models using structural elements such as doors, windows, slabs, and many others. The program comes with Graphisoft’s BIMcloud and BIMx which allow architects to work simultaneously on a design. They also enable users to view their models from any device at any time. ArchiCAD is widely used in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) and design industries.

Origin of ArchiCAD

The evolution of ArchiCAD started in Hungary, 1982 when Gabor Bajor launched Graphisoft. Bajor was a Hungarian software developer who, at that time, developed terrain modeling software on micro-computers and was working as the head of the mathematical department at the Geophysical Institute, Budapest. The allowance of private companies, following the end of the communist party of Hungary, encouraged Gabor Bajor to leave his job at the institute to found Graphisoft alongside a skilled team of three-dimensional mathematical modeling experts. Their lack of access to modern efficient computers emboldened them to create 3D modeling applications that were compatible with small inexpensive personal computers. These modeling software applications were offered to the architects.

ArchiCAD v1 interface

The interface of ArchiCAD v1 on Apple Macintosh (Source)

Initially, finding a hardware partner was quite difficult as companies already had mainframe computers running CAD and were not interested in having 3D modeling on a PC. Finally, Graphisoft’s impressive capacity and their development of Architectural CAD in 2D and 3D technology attracted Apple Inc. as partners. Steve Jobs himself, the founder of Apple, sent them an Apple computer. This made it possible for Graphisoft to create ArchiCAD for Macintosh, officially released  in 1987. It was first introduced first as a virtual building concept and later as a building information modeling software, making ArchiCAD the first implementation of BIM on a personal computer.

The ArchiCAD Timeline

Through the years, ArchiCAD has grown from a simple architectural 3D design software to an industry-acclaimed BIM CAD software with about 120,000 users worldwide. At release, the program had separate 2D and 3D modules, then later integrated in 1993. Since that time, various new features such as colors, camera tools, elevations and sections gotten from the floor plan, rendering tools, and others have been added. The software was only for Apple Macintosh until 1993 when Graphisoft released a version for Windows 3.1. ArchiCAD 4.55  was the first version to be compatible with both Windows and Apple. Some other notable additions were the addition of collaboration tools (in 1998), beam tools, ArchiCAD library, BIM cloud features, and so many others which would be mentioned later. 

 

Version

Release date

Operating system 

Various additions

ArchiCAD 2.0

1986

Apple Macintosh 

 

ArchiCAD 3.0

1987

Apple Macintosh 

Colour was added

ArchiCAD 3.1

1988

Apple Macintosh

 

ArchiCAD 3.3

1989

Apple Macintosh

 

ArchiCAD 3.4

1990

Apple Macintosh

 

ArchiCAD 4.0

1991

Apple Macintosh

Tools for rendering 

ArchiCAD 4.1

1992

Apple Macintosh

 

ArchiCAD 4.16

1993

Windows 3.1

This was the first windows version

ArchiCAD 4.5

1994

Apple Macintosh 

More drawing tool properties, Camera tools, elevations and sections could be gotten from plans, etc.  

ArchiCAD 4.55

1995

Applet Macintosh,

Windows 3.1, and Windows 95

 

ArchiCAD5.0

1996

Apple Macintosh 

Windows 95 and NT

 

ArchiCAD 5.1

1997

Apple Macintosh 

First file exchange based collaboration 

ArchiCAD 6.0

1998

Apple Macintosh 

Windows 95, and NT

Addition of various wall types, 

ArchiCAD 6.5

1999

Apple Macintosh

Windows NT and 2000

Beam tools, round columns, more realistic view of elevation, figure tools. 

ArchiCAD 7.0

2001

Mac OS, OS

Windows 98, NT4, 2000, and XP

More library properties such as library manager, and library control. New 3D views, construction simulation. 

ArchiCAD 8

2002

Mac OS 9/OS X

Windows NT4

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Open GL, editable library hotspots, operations of solid elements.

ArchiCAD 8.1

2003

Mac OS X

Windows 2000

Windows XP

More wall editing options, heater and diet option for print, support of quick time image format.

ArchiCAD 9

2004

Mac OS X

Windows 2000

Windows XP

Line weight, intelligent auto-save, customization of the work environment, section transparency, library part search, and work environment customization 

ArchiCAD 10

2006

Mac OS X (PPC)

Windows XP

New menu template, auto-text, guidelines, shaded sections, flexible work environment, integrated layout, creation of custom components, and others

ArchiCAD 10 (IntelMac) 

2006

Mac OS X (Intel)

First version for Intel

ArchiCAD 11

2007

Mac OS X 10.4 (PPC and Intel)

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Separated section and elevation tools, interior elevation tools, the introduction of worksheets, virtual tracing. 

ArchiCAD 12

2008

Mac OS X 10.4

10.5 (PPC and Intel)

Windows XP

Windows Vista

3D documents, partial structure display, curtain wall tool, and so on

ArchiCAD 13

2009

Mac OS X 10.5

10.6 (Intel only)

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Introduction of Graphisoft BIM server

ArchiCAD 14

2010

Mac OS X 10.5

10.6 (Intel only)

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Streamlined exportation to Excel, 64-bit BIM server for MacOS, shadows in openGL, and open design collaboration. 

ArchiCAD 15

2011

Mac OS X 10.6

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Improved model connections, 3D editing planes and guidelines, 64-bit Mac version, Faster autosave, sky lights,  shell tools, and addition of complex roofs. 

ArchiCAD 16

2012

Mac OS X 10.6

Mac OS X 10.7

Mac OS X 10.8

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Graphical editing, enhanced IFC collaboration, easier DXF/DWG data exchange, and morph tool. 

ArchiCAD 17

2013

Mac OS X 10.6

Mac OS X 10.7

Mac OS X 10.8

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Performance improvements, curved beams, building materials, three-dimensional cutting plane, integrated link with Google Earth and SketchUp, and IFC improvements.

ArchiCAD 18

2014

Mac OS X 10.7

Mac OS X 10.8

Mac OS X 10.9

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

Introduction of BIM cloud

ArchiCAD 19

2015

Mac OS X 10.9

Mac OS X 10.10

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

Improvements in IFC importations, PDF, user interface, library; new guideline system, point cloud support, label tool enhancements, and interactive surface painter. 

ArchiCAD 20

2016

Mac OS X 10.10

Mac OS X 10.11

Windows 8.1

Windows 10

Improved program navigation, library management, DWG, and 3DM importation and exportation; upgraded CineRender engine better visualization and rendering. 

ArchiCAD 21

2017

macOS X 10.12

Mac OS X 10.11

Windows 10

Windows 8.1

Improved collaboration tools, enhanced BIMx exports, stair and railing tools, wall editing modes, control of IFC preferences, and introduction of 3D styles for better visualizations. 

ArchiCAD 22

2018

macOS 10.13

macOS 10.12

Windows 10

Further improvements of stair and railing tools, export of  component quantities and properties to IFC, improved performance (easier navigation), and ArchiCAD grasshopper live connection. 

ArchiCAD 23

2019

macOS 10.14

macOS 10.13

Windows 10

New CineRender engine for improved visualization, ArchiCAD library enhancements, more architectural design features, and others

ArchiCAD 24

2020

macOS 10.15

macOS 10.14

Windows 10

Faster workflow, improved collaboration, integrated Architectural and Structural design, MEP modeler, BIMx as an iOS application updated, and many others.

Latest Version and Application 

30 years after its release, ArchiCAD has grown to be one of the best Architectural BIM design software. ArchiCAD 24, the latest version, has a plethora of capabilities that enable Architects and Designers to create virtual buildings with their complete properties, visualize, render, and present the design effectively to their clients or company. ArchiCAD 24 facilitates users to create models more efficiently with precise construction details and proper estimation of construction materials such as complex steel, reinforced concrete, composite beams and columns, and timber. The software application comes with  Graphisoft’s BIM server that encourages collaboration and BIMx for convenient model viewing and presentation. 

Some of the enhancements are in:

  • Performance. Users experience fast workflow in the program starting from the quick launch to the easy and quick access to your project, faster importation and exportation of files, and seamless navigation through the software.
  • Collaboration. Connections such as Solibri, dRofus, and IFC4 have been added to improve teamwork designs and client presentations.
  • Productivity. Productivity enhancements such as updated library contents, refined polyline editing functions, ability to import DGN v8, and a new pull-down menu for ArchiCAD option set values; Integrated collaborative design, new integration between BIM and structural analysis, teamwork collaboration, and coordination through BIMcloud.

ArchiCAD plays a vital role in the world of construction and is the obvious choice for workers in the AEC industry. 

 

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