BIM for Landscape Architecture

BIM for Landscape Architecture
IFC for Landscape - Example used in Revit

Saturday, June 30, 2012

BIM Capabilities

FEB2012/VOL102 NO2

.....The BIM software that landscape architects should learn and pur- chase depends upon context. Those who work primarily with architects should probably learn Autodesk Re- vit, since the program has about 90 percent of the current market. Land- scape architects who work primar- ily with engineers should consider either Bentley Architecture or Auto- CAD Civil 3D, whereas ArchiCAD is the BIM program of choice for many federal projects. The downside is that none of these BIM programs offers the tools needed for landscape design. All of those programs have
shapefiles can be
used to modify polygons to take 3-D form
in the modeled site.
a proprietary format that offers full BIM capacity, but they also use for- mats such as IFC, which is an inter- national standard for exchanging data for BIM applications.
For landscape architects who would like to be able to import and export BIM data using the IFC format, Vectorworks Designer may be the answer (currently, Landmark does not offer IFC import and export). When an IFC file is imported into a Vectorworks file, the objects are translated into corresponding Vec- torworks objects when possible. Most landscape elements are not recognized as IFC objects, so there is an IFC Data command that at- taches IFC data to custom 3-D ele- ments so that they will be recog- nized as IFC objects. The geometry of IFC entities can be edited and then exported for use in a BIM pro- gram. Vectorworks provides guide- lines on how to prepare Vector- works Landmark building models for exporting to IFC.
I would love to see Vectorworks be more proactive when it comes to
developing the sort of BIM compo- nents that landscape architects need. That starts by adding IFC import/ export capabilities to Landmark. In- dividual architecture and landscape architecture firms are developing their own BIM components on a project-by-project basis. There is not much chance they will share those components with other landscape architects. But I wouldn’t be sur- prised if Vectorworks takes the lead on developing BIM components for landscape architecture in the future. Vectorworks’s long-term commit- ment to developing tools specifically for our profession is one of the rea- sons I’ve become a believer.
For more information about Vectorworks 2012 software, visit

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