In the warm night sky above Budapest, a fleet of drones spelled “GRAPHISOFT” as the software company celebrated its 40th anniversary. At Graphisoft Park—the company’s headquarters in Buda—attendees gathered outside with Aperol spritzes before CEO Huw Roberts took the stage. Roberts was joined by founder Gábor Bojár and chairman of the board and former CEO Viktor Várkonyi as images from the company’s 40-year history shuffled on-screen behind them. Before the cake was cut, guests were given a preview of the company’s strategic road map.
Graphisoft’s anniversary was not the only thing worth celebrating. The company also launched Archicad 26, the new version of its premier building information modeling (BIM) product. Focusing on giving designers more time to design—rather than getting bogged down in handling tricky aspects of the software itself—Graphisoft’s aim is a more streamlined product.
Graphisoft also released updates for additional programs, including improvements for Graphisoft Learn and Graphisoft Community. Through Graphisoft Learn, an online learning platform, the company now offers courses that users can take at their own pace, providing training for modeling, documentation, and BIM workflows. Rather than leave users to wade through YouTube tutorials for their software—as is standard with some platforms—Graphisoft aims to direct users to its in-house training, which would ensure a sufficient level of instruction. Graphisoft Community, the go-to platform for users to troubleshoot for the entire range of the company’s products, has been revamped to include articles outlining Archicad 26, and a centralized site for events, services, and other useful information for users.
Graphisoft product marketing manager Carlos Cordeiro said that the enhancements to the company’s training platforms were in response to market needs; the company wanted to provide high-quality training for Graphisoft products and decided to direct that in-house.
As Cordeiro explained, Graphisoft’s goal with its product enhancements is not to simply jump on the latest trends, but to ensure that updates are done thoroughly. This includes improvements to Archicad 26 that address the growing demand—and environmental need—to be able to tabulate data that tracks, for example, embodied carbon. On this front, Graphisoft does not want to be a “checklist company,” Cordeiro told AN, “but to do things in a way that really delivers value.” Graphisoft’s software now includes environmental properties for building materials, initially based on an Austrian database, which will eventually be tailored to the company’s 28 localized versions of Archicad.
Looking forward, the company’s road map is expanding from this year’s slogan of Stay Focused, Design More to Choice Consideration in 2023, Scale at Speed in 2024, and Analytics for Performance in 2025. In advance of this trajectory, one exciting, and more specific, potential came earlier this year. Graphisoft’s merger with DDScad brings mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design capabilities to Graphisoft clients. The software allows for smoother project integration between designers working on MEP systems and Archicad users. While the software is, for the time being, primarily used within Central Europe, this model of providing better workflows for all aspects of building design could have a wider appeal. At Archicad 26’s launch event, Roberts said that the goal of integration was not to have a large collection of features that overwhelm users, but to offer products that fit specific needs of a growing user base. While making the company’s platforms easy to use for designers and offering tools for more complex projects are explicit targets for Graphisoft, this still comes at a time when there is a growing need for architects to be able to leverage design software to address grave climate concerns. Graphisoft sees this as complementary to its goals. As Cordeiro told AN, “sustainability is not a buzzword. It is a social responsibility.”