Details of the new Revit release were released to the press today and I thought that I would share what I learned from the news briefings. While Revit 2020 was sort of a snooze release not really worth one’s time, 2021 seems to have upped the ante a bit. For me the biggest new feature has to be the addition of slanted walls. For years if you wanted to create a slanted wall you had to resort to using the awkward massing tool then either import the created mass into your project or create a cumbersome in-place mass that often times ended up crashing your project and then finally selecting a wall type to place over it. With the new feature you can just select a wall, select properties, select the slant dialog box, and the desired angle of inclination and you’re done. It is even smart enough to adjust the doors and windows installed within that wall so they appear flush with the new wall angle. Even better it works on all wall types, straight and curved walls.
Below is a video depicting the slanted wall functions
The realistic 3D views tab has also been replaced with fully panning rendered view mode with artificial lights and natural lighting all activated by default. That is a huge productivity boost not having to wait hours for customer ready renderings to complete, but I am betting to get that added functionality the cpu and memory requirements to run Revit 2021 probably went way up. (Note: I just checked Autodesk’s website for Revit 2021 and the computer memory and cpu seem to be unchanged from 2020. They do recommend a DirectX 11 capable graphics card with Shader Model 5 and a minimum of 4GB of video memory. The 4G of video memory is new so there is an added cost (in addition to your Autodesk subscription cost to fully leverage the newly added rendering functionality.
Below is a video demonstrating real-time realistic views.
In addition to these 2 big bullet points, the Revit engineers also created a generative design plugin which allows you to simulate various design options in response to a set of design parameters. I am guessing that will replace the quirky design options workflow which was always unnatural to my way of working. This plugin is designed to mimic the study model process that most architecture students probably dreaded back in design school where one had to make 10-15 different models to arrive at the best solution. With the computer at your disposal, the time, pain and toil are eliminated from that onerous process. I would have loved to have had a generative design plugin back when I was in design school. I do worry though that with all this automation, it won’t be long before the computer starts replacing the architect in the decision making process, rendering our profession obsolete. Below is a video demonstrating generative design used to arrive at the optimal the number of desks to place in an office space. This is very cool, but I do wonder how much programing experience is required to set up these simulated conditions.