A FormIt Success Story from a-lab

The best part of my job is speaking to our users. Even when someone is frustrated, it means I have an opportunity to listen and hopefully make it better by guiding our development process. Even after almost a decade dedicated to designing tools for architects, I am still constantly impressed by what our users can produce with our tools. During a recent interview with a-lab, a 43 person firm in Norway, I was once again blown away by not only the quality of the design, but also the sophisticated use of multiple Autodesk tools to create a high quality design in, what seemed to me, an insane time constraint!

Angie Arroyo Mendez, the BIM Manager and the rest of the folks at a-lab were gracious enough to allow me to share the story and the images. The firm had entered a competition for a mid-sized housing block – and had two weeks to generate a proposal. Odd Klev, the lead design principal had recently discovered FormIt and had fallen in love with it as a design tool. Angie imported the terrain model as an OBJ into FormIt and Odd spent a few days at home generating up to 20 plus options. Odd used the full FormIt feature set of to generate the options. This included the satellite imagery, imported OBJ files, materials, simple modeling tools, shadow studies, and the space-tracking feature to ensure he was staying within the program constraints.

The team quickly narrowed down the options and began focusing on a design with multiple free-standing structures to optimize open space, views and access to light. These options were imported into Autodesk Revit where Angie began to turn the FormIt massing model into a more detailed BIM. The team then brought the Revit file into Autodesk 3ds Max to create a number of high quality renderings. At the final client presentation, they used Autodesk InfraWorks to display live views of the sight lines from the surrounding park. The best part of all this, they won the competition! Congratulations!

Check out theses images, courtesy of a-lab, that illustrate the FormIt > Revit > 3DS Max > Infraworks workflow.

Practical Design with FormIt

Let’s face it. Design is not always sexy. Sometimes you just need to get the outhouse built. Markus Bonn, one of the Principal Software Engineers (and former architect) on our team used FormIt to design and build this very practical piece of architecture. It is interesting to note that he used OBJ import feature to bring in some elements from another 3D modeling app that he is very familiar with.

Outhouse Design

The first ever outhouse designed with FormIt (that we know of)

Finished Outhouse

That is going to be a chilly user experience!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the FormIt team! My friend and colleague Zach over at BuildZ hosts a parametric pumpkin contest every year. So why should all the Revit and Dynamo heads have all the fun? Here is my “entry.”

I also 3D printed the little bugger just for fun. If anyone is interested I will do a longer post about how I made the pumpkin and printed it.

Photo Oct 31, 3 39 57 PM

G is for…Googie?

I have had to go heads down recently while I work on some new stuff. So my colleague Chico Membreno has picked up the torch while we build out the ArchDaily A-Z modernism posts using FormIt. This one was fun. Who knew kitch American architecture had an official term: Googie? I must have slept through that lecture. Post your own FormIt creations to Instagram using tag #FormIt3D.

C is for Corbu and D is for DeStijl

I am still catching up with ArchDaily’s A to Z Modernism – they just posted E through H! So here are C and D. The Villa Savoye model is something I had been working on for awhile. But the new texture map feature allowed me to add some realism to the windows.


Villa Savoye – modeled with Autodesk FormIt on the iPad


The iconic Red and Blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld – modeled in Autodesk FormIt on the iPad

A is for Aalto

The wonderful blog ArchDaily posted last week “A to Z” Modernism on their Facebook page. The second Wednesday of every month they will profile four modernist icons. They started, of course, with one of my favorites: Alvar Aalto. Specifically the Wolfsburg Center near Berlin. I decided to try and keep up with them and re-create all 26 projects using FormIt.

Alvar Aalto Wolfsburg CenterCourtesy of www.worldarchitecturemap.com

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I will be sharing all of the FormIt files. Here is the first one. Just copy it to your FormIt folder on Autodesk 360 and resync from the FormIt Gallery page in the app to open the file.

Ronchamp par FormIt

We had a little “bug bash” today in the office as we prepare to launch the next version of FormIt. Its always fun to see what our users and colleagues come up with. This one comes from Trey Klein in the Revit QA group: Which of the images below is a photo of Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp, and which is actually a FormIt model of the masterpiece?  Hmmm?

Image Image

Want to know how he did it? You have to wait a bit to find out…