Architecture Software you need to learn NOW to accelerate your career in 2021, advice from an expert

Navigating Architectural Software in 2021: A Guide by Stephen Drew

As we bid farewell to the turbulent year of 2020 and set our sights on 2021, Stephen Drew, Head of Architecture at a leading company and the founder of the Architecture Social, shares his insights into the software that will shape the future of architectural practice. With a rich background that spans both academic and professional realms, including valuable experience at EPR Architects and involvement in recruitment for top-tier firms like Zaha Hadid Architects, Stephen brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.

The Evolution of Architectural Software

Reflecting on the journey from his early days as a Part 1 graduate in 2009, Stephen notes the seismic shift in software requirements within the architectural industry. The landscape has dramatically transitioned from a reliance on CAD software like AutoCAD and MicroStation to a near-universal adoption of BIM, with Autodesk Revit at the forefront. This shift signifies not just a change in tools but a fundamental evolution in how architecture is conceptualized, designed, and delivered.

The Imperative of Revit Proficiency

Stephen’s primary advice for architects aiming to advance their careers in 2021 is unequivocal: master Revit. As BIM becomes a standard, Revit’s role as the linchpin in architectural design and documentation is undeniable. Its importance is such that Stephen predicts virtually all London-based architectural roles in 2021 will demand Revit proficiency. For those yet to familiarize themselves with Revit, the message is clear – now is the time.

Exploring the Frontiers of BIM with Dynamo

Beyond the foundational skill of Revit, Stephen encourages architects to explore its extensions, particularly Dynamo. As a tool for computational design within the Revit environment, Dynamo offers the potential to solve complex design challenges efficiently, heralding a new era of creativity and innovation in architectural solutions.

Rhino Inside: Bridging Software Worlds

Another emerging trend identified by Stephen is the integration of Rhino 3D into Revit through Rhino Inside. This synergy combines Rhino’s robust modeling capabilities with Revit’s BIM functionalities, offering architects a powerful toolset for complex geometrical explorations within the BIM ecosystem.

The Rise of Real-Time Visualization Tools

Stephen also highlights the growing relevance of real-time visualization tools such as Twinmotion, Lumion, and Enscape. These software solutions, built on gaming engines, offer the ability to produce high-quality visualizations quickly, enhancing the design process and client presentations.

The Value of Coding Skills

In an era where customization and automation are becoming increasingly valuable, Stephen points out the importance of coding skills. Learning programming languages like C# and Python can empower architects to develop bespoke solutions, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the architectural software landscape.

Excel and Adobe Suite: The Unsung Heroes

While much focus is placed on architectural-specific software, Stephen reminds us of the utility of mastering Excel for data management and optimization tasks. Similarly, proficiency in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign remains crucial for creating compelling visual narratives and presentations.

Embracing Continuous Learning

As the architectural profession continues to evolve, Stephen emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and adaptation. Resources like LinkedIn Learning and the Parametric Architecture network offer opportunities to stay abreast of the latest trends and technologies, ensuring architects remain competitive in the dynamic landscape of 2021 and beyond.

Joining the Architecture Social Community

Stephen concludes by inviting architects and students to join the Architecture Social community, a vibrant platform for discussion, learning, and collaboration among over 3,000 members. Here, the conversation around architectural software and the future of the profession continues, offering a space for growth and connection in the ever-evolving world of architecture.

As we step into 2021, armed with Stephen Drew’s insights and recommendations, the architectural community stands ready to embrace the tools and technologies that will define the future of design.