What’s New for Architects in Revit 2021.1

Architecture

By Lainie Ransom

The Revit product management team is pleased to announce the first point release for Revit 2021, which includes new features and enhancements geared towards architectural design and documentation. “We’re making dedicated investments to address architects’ needs,” says Harlan Brumm, Revit Product Manager for Autodesk.

You will find improved fidelity of the display of imported geometry and easier transitions between add-ins and Revit. You’ll discover additional study types available for Generative Design, a new version of Dynamo for Revit with more nodes and improved visual consistency between FormIt and Revit—all working together to create more streamlined workflows and an improved user experience.

New Study Types for Generative Design 

Explore new design options with Generative Design. 

“We are continuing to explore new ways of creating automated and data-backed designs with an aim to include more designers in the process,” explains Lilli Smith, Senior Product Manager at Autodesk. Generative Design is one of these features, and it helps you rapidly create design options based on specific user-defined goals and inputs.

You can then use these iterations to fuel data-driven design decisions. The feature’s debut in Revit 2021 came with three sample study types for desk layout, building massing, and access to daylight that let users explore the impacts of different factors. Now, Revit 2021.1 provides three new study types: objects can be placed in a regular, rectangular grid pattern; a stepped (alternating) grid; or at random. 

These new study types allow architects and designers to quickly study design alternatives for room layouts—like spacing tables evenly in a cafeteria and enabling fast and easy scene creation with plants and entourage to mimic a natural setting. 

Generative Design in Revit is available starting with Revit 2021 with the AEC Collection. Learn more about the AEC Collection offerings and how it can benefit your workflows. If you have a Revit subscription, you can access Generative Design tools through Dynamo for Revit.

New Dynamo Scripts/Node Package 

Use scripts to optimize and automate more tasks. 

The Revit 2021.1 release also includes an updated Dynamo release: Dynamo for Revit 2.6. Dynamo is an automation tool that uses algorithms to automate repetitive tasks and explore design problems. Its graphic interface is intuitive for visually-oriented designers and consists of two primary layers: a graph view with nodes and wires (essentially the building blocks of your graph) and a background 3D preview (the geometry). Together, these layers enable Dynamo users to “explore the flow of information through a graph as well as visualize the outcomes,” explains Sol Amour, Dynamo Product Manager at Autodesk. 

Now, users will be able to employ more than 90 new nodes spanning 19 different categories that were specifically selected based on customer requests and feedback, all with the objective of helping improve project automation. 

While the Revit 2021 launch included 10 new nodes, ”the addition of 90+ new Dynamo nodes in this release exposes a huge swath of new functionality to help you work with Spaces, warnings, Families, Elements, and more in a much more nuanced and granular way,” Amour says. 

Some of these include nodes based on: 

  • Element 
  • Document 
  • Selection 
  • Family 
  • Group 
  • Dimensions 
  • Warnings 

Use these nodes to create scripts that confirm that all fire-rated walls only host doors with matching fire ratings, which would employ an Element-related script, for example, or to set Dimension above or below values. Let’s talk about why you would want to set above or below values to all dimensions in a project. Say you have a renovation project where you’ve converted CAD drawings into a Revit model. This feature could potentially help you collect every single dimension on the Revit file and add a “Site Dimensions TBD” value below that helps inform your stakeholders progress on initial ideas that may not be fully resolved yet.  

In Revit 2020, we introduced the Dynamo for Revit Path of Travel node, which allows users to select any two points in their building and see the travel distances and analysis of routes. This point release goes even further, introducing new nodes for the Path of Travel analysis feature that enable multiple nodes to be selected along a route—ideal for mapping out the paths of travel in a hospital to patient rooms, supply closets, and nurse stations, for example. 

Another new node calculates the longest Path of Travel from selected rooms in a floor plan to specified exit points, ideal for conducting egress studies and examining travel distances. 

FormIt Converter in Revit Enhancements 

Take advantage of smoother transitions between programs and project phases. 

With Revit 2021.1 comes an improved workflow with FormIt 2021.2. This program is a lightweight, intuitive 3D modeling and analysis environment designed for conceptual and computational design workflows. These breakthrough enhancements for FormIt focus on user-requested changes relating to visual consistency when moving from FormIt to Revit, allowing you to stay within the Autodesk ecosystem for the entire workflow. 

If you’ve been using FormIt to create early-phase design sketches and models, you’ll now find that complex curves can be imported into Revit with higher fidelity, maintaining their original smooth appearance. Selecting the curved geometry will reveal its faceted structure, or “hidden edges,” but it will otherwise appear as a curvilinear surface, allowing your designs to stay consistent as they move from one platform to another and as the design and documentation of a project continue to develop. 

Another enhancement integrating FormIt and Revit builds on the existing translation of materials from FormIt to Revit. Materials that were scaled or rotated in FormIt will now retain their visual fidelity in Revit. “Designers can be confident that FormIt materials will accurately display in Revit with no rework, saving time when moving from early stage design to detailed design,” explains Heather Lech, Autodesk Product Manager for FormIt. 

And there are even more key features in this release. 

That’s not all that’s available for architects in Revit 2021.1. They’ll also benefit from the following features: 

  • While Revit 2021 rolled out the ability to reset shared coordinates in a project file, this is now extended to all linked project files. This customer-requested change makes working with consultants and large projects even easier. 
  • Importing models from Rhino, Sketchup 2020, and SAT files has been streamlined, improving fidelity and workflows across platforms. 
  • If you’ve been exporting STL files using an add-in, this release includes a built-in STL export, simplifying the transition from 3D modeling to 3D printing. 
  • The release maintains compatibility with Revit 2021, in case team members don’t upgrade to the new point release, further facilitating easy and consistent project processes across teams. 
  • Check out the new Technology Preview, which provides early access to features that are considered complete and ready to use in production for Autodesk Revit and Revit LT. Learn more about how you can test BIM functionality and provide feedback on the way you design. 

Whether you’re a long-standing Revit user or are just starting to learn its ins and outs, Revit 2021.1’s numerous updates make work across programs, models, and consultants easier for architecture and design professionals. 

“The product team has focused on making the production of design documents more efficient so that users no longer need to use workarounds,” says Brumm. The goal is for those efforts to not only help teams save time and resources, but to also make life easier for architects so they can focus on what matters most: developing great designs. 

CONTRIBUTORS Kate Reggev, Natalie Burg, Lainie Ransom 

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