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Thursday, 15 December 2011

My First Autodesk University

Just over two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend Autodesk University 2011 in the Venetian Hotel & Conference Centre, Las Vegas. This was my first ever AU and it really didn’t disappoint.
 I arrived in Vegas about half two on the Monday before the conference after 17 hours travelling, to find my bags had been “mislaid” and wouldn’t be arriving till sometime on Wednesday. Not to be deterred, I attended the AU Freshman Orientation where Lynn Allen amongst others made us newbies feel welcome and gave us a good outlook of “what not to miss”.
I’m sure I did miss some very good things, such as the Innovation Forum: Innovation Cage Match—Grey Matter Smackdown, but what I did manage to attend was fantastic. 
Tuesday began with breakfast in the main hall with the rest of the 8,000 attendees. Walking into the Keynote session next was a strange experience, it was 8am in the morning and we were walking into a room light only with red fluorescent lights. An 8am nightclub was the feeling. The session itself was awe inspiring as Jeff Kowalski presented “The Five Waves of Disruption”.  If you watch on class on AU Virtual watch this. I filled the rest of the day with Innovation forums(including a terrific speech from Sir Ken Robinson at “Making Design Personal Again”) and some shopping for clothes(as my bag was still in transit) before an early night due to chronic jetlag.
Wednesday brought a fresher David, who was still in awe of how 8,000 people could eat breakfast all at once in one room. The first class I attended was presented by  Zach Kron and William Lopez Campo. This was the best class of the week for me. “You Want to Model a What? Converting Real Projects into Parametric Relationships”.  This was followed by two more classes, lunch, another Innovation forum. Then was the AUGI general meeting .The AUGI social event affectionately known as the AUGI Beer Bust followed that where I got the chance to check out the exhibit hall and network with some of the top professionals in our industry. My bag had finally arrived when I got in that night.
Thursday began with some Family Counselling with Mario Guttman and Weston Tanner, a lab class with Zach Kron and Robert Mana(Twice Baked: Creating Your Own Adaptive Components and Panels with Autodesk® Revit®) was the highlight of the day and then the AU mixer finished up the week. This was an amazing room with food ,beer, 8,000 people, a DJ and some live demos on stage.
Zaha Hadid, HOK, ARUP, KSS, Disney, were just a few of the companies who I had the chance to network with.
Overall it was and exhausting but thoroughly enjoyable week. I look forward to attending and renewing my new found friendships next year at AU2012.
Be sure to check out AU Virtual for all the classes and notes.
I’ll leave you with my favourite quotes of the week.
“For the cost of a bad Starbucks addiction, you can change the world”
 “The largest untapped recourse on the planet is the free time, disposable income and creativity of the creative class.”
Mark Hatch Tech Shop.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

BIM Workshop.Conclusion

Welcome back to my blog. Blogging has been slow that last month, it has been a hectic month or so, beginning with the BIM Workshop in the RIAI.

We worked for four days collaboratively with a design team to explore the uses of BIM in our industry. Overall this was a terrific week that I was lucky to be involved in. It was really interesting to see how the other disciplines of the design team actually work. Most of us are aware of what people produce but how they actually get to that point is fascinating.

Up to that point we had really only worked with architects and engineers using BIM to create their documentation. The week of the workshop we really got in deep into a BIM Managers role, controlling the models, solving problems, laying down procedures and basically facilitating the real design process to happen through BIM. Personally I was never as busy in my life and at the end of the week I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have very much to show for my efforts. As BIM managers (which we see as a different role to a traditional CAD/BIM manager) we were simply assisting the design team in their efforts in BIM. So at the end of the week we didn’t have any models or images etc to show off. One visitor that came to the workshop (as it was open doors) asked me what exactly I was doing. I found it a difficult question to answer, how do you explain the BIM Managers role in a few simple sentences? I ended up explaining (in a roundabout way) that I wasn’t producing anything but I was making the process of design possible through BIM. Assisting the design team with their models, recommending procedures that we produced, solving problems and technical issues as they arose, all while entertaining visitors and explaining to people what we were doing! Ralph (my boss) summed it up that night in the Pub, he said “even though we didn’t produce anything, nothing would have been produced without us. We simply make it happen, make it work”

 Earlier in the year when this idea of a BIM Workshop was mooted, most of the design team were in their infancy regarding BIM. We offered training and mentoring to get people up to speed and then oversaw the process happening during the week. It was a massive learning curve for us, but one that will no doubt stand to us in the furfure.

Video Summary from CITA below