Autodesk Revit

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Revit 2014 branding.png
Stable release2014 / March 2013
Operating system32-bit & 64-bit Windows
TypeCAD Building information modeling
WebsiteAutodesk Revit site
  (Redirected from Revit Architecture)
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Revit 2014 branding.png
Stable release2014 / March 2013
Operating system32-bit & 64-bit Windows
TypeCAD Building information modeling
WebsiteAutodesk Revit site

Autodesk Revit is Building information modeling software for architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors. It allows users to design a building and structure and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements and access building information from the building models database. Revit is 4D BIM capable with tools to plan and track various stages in the building's lifecycle, from concept to construction and later demolition.

The latest released version is Revit Architecture / Structure / MEP 2014 (April, 2013) and the corresponding suites.[1]


Charles River Software was founded in Newton, Massachusetts, October 31, 1997 by Leonid Raiz and Irwin Jungreis, key developers of Parametric Technology's Pro/Engineer software for mechanical design, with the intent of bringing the power of parametric modeling to the building industry. With funding from venture capitalists Atlas Venture and North Bridge Venture Partners, Raiz and Jungreis hired several software developers and architects and began developing Revit in C++ on the Microsoft Windows platform. In 1999 they hired Dave Lemont as CEO and recruited board members Jon Hirschtick, founder of SolidWorks, and Arol Wolford, founder of CMD group.

From the outset, Revit was intended to allow architects and other building professionals to design and document a building by creating a parametric three dimensional model that included both the geometry and non-geometric design and construction information, what later become known as Building information modeling or BIM. At the time, several other software packages such as ArchiCAD and Reflex allowed working with a three dimensional virtual building model, and allowed individual components to be controlled by parameters (parametric components). Two key differences in Revit were that its parametric components were created using a graphical "family editor" rather than a programming language, and all relationships between components, views, and annotations were captured by the model so that a change to any element would automatically propagate to keep the model consistent.[2] For example, moving a wall would update the neighboring walls, floors, and roofs, correct the placement and values of dimensions and notes, adjust the floor areas reported in schedules, redraw section views, etc., so that the model would remain connected and all documentation would be coordinated. The concept of bi-directional associativity[3] between components, views, and annotations was a distinguishing feature of Revit for many releases. The ease of making changes inspired the name Revit, a contraction of Revise-It. At the heart of Revit is a parametric change propagation engine that relied on a new technology, context-driven parametrics, that was more scalable than the variational and history-driven parametrics used in mechanical CAD software.[4] The term Parametric Building Model was adopted to reflect the fact that changes to parameters drove the whole building model and associated documentation, not just individual components.

The company was renamed Revit Technology Corporation in January, 2000, and Revit version 1.0 was released on April 5, 2000. The software progressed rapidly, with version 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, and 4.1 released in August, 2000; October, 2000; February, 2001; June, 2001; November, 2001; and January, 2002, respectively.[5]

The software was initially offered only as a monthly rental, with no option to purchase. Licensing was controlled by an entirely automatic process, an innovation at a time when human intervention and manual transmission of authorization codes was required to buy other types of design software.[6]

Autodesk (the developers of AutoCAD) purchased the Massachusetts-based Revit Technology Corporation for US$133 million in 2002.[7] The purchase allowed more research, development and improvement of the software. Autodesk has released several versions of Revit since 2004. In 2005 Revit Structure was introduced, then in 2006 Revit MEP. After the 2006 release Revit Building was renamed Revit Architecture.[8]

In 2012[9] Revit LT[10] became the newest version of Revit on the market. It is a light version of Revit with a number of features such as rendering and multi user environments crippled.[11]

With their Revit platform, Autodesk is a significant player in the BIM market together with Bentley (developers of Microstation), Trimble (developers of SketchUp), Nemetschek (makers of ArchiCAD, AllPlan and Vectorworks), and Gehry Technologies with CATIA based Digital Project.[12]


Since purchasing Revit, Autodesk has developed three versions of Revit for the varying building design disciplines:

Autodesk sells Building Design Suites which each include a different selection of software packages. Revit One Box is included in the Premium and Ultimate suites.[15]

Use and Implementation[edit]

Revit can be used as a very powerful collaboration tool between different disciplines in the building design sphere. The different disciplines that use Revit aproach the program from unique perspectives. Each of these perspectives is focused on completing that disciplines task. When considering using Revit it is important to look at a companies existing work flow process and determine if such an elaborate collaboration tool is required.


The Revit work environment allows users to manipulate whole buildings or assemblies (in the project environment) or individual 3D shapes (in the family editor environment). Modeling tools can be used with pre-made solid objects or imported geometric models. However, Revit is not a nurbs modeller and also lacks the ability to manipulate an object's individual polygons except on some specific object types such as roofs, slabs and terrain or in the massing environment.

There are many categories of objects ('families' in Revit terminology), which divide into three groups:

An experienced user can create realistic and accurate families ranging from furniture[16] to lighting fixtures,[17] as well as import existing models from other programs. Revit families can be created as parametric models with dimensions and properties. This lets users modify a given component by changing predefined parameters such as height, width or number in the case of an array. In this way a family defines a geometry which is controlled by parameters, each combination of parameters can be saved as a type, and each occurrence (instance in Revit) of a type can also contain further variations. For example, a swing door may be a Family. It may have types describing different sizes, and the actual building model will have instances of those types placed in walls where instance-based parameters could specify the door hardware uniquely for each occurrence of the door.

In 2011 Dynamo[18] was released in beta form allowing first glimpses of directly programming the behavior of hosted components through a drag and drop node interface. This is similar to the way the visual programming language Grasshopper 3d works on objects in Rhinoceros 3D.[19]


When a user makes a building, model, or any other kind of object in Revit, they may use Revit's rendering engine to make a more realistic image of what is otherwise a very diagrammatic model. This is accomplished by either using the premade model, wall, floor, etc., tools, or making her or his own models, walls, materials, etc.. The wall- and model- making process is simple enough to pick up in a day or so. Revit 2010 comes with a plethora of premade materials, each of which can be modified to the user's desires. The user can also begin with a "Generic" material, which can be customized to a level of detail not offered by many 3D modeling programs. With this, the user can set the rotation, size, brightness, and intensity of textures, gloss maps (also known as shinemaps), transparency maps, reflection maps, oblique reflection maps, hole maps, and bump maps, as well as leaving the map part out and just using the sliders for any one (or all or none) of the aforementioned features of textures.

Cloud-based rendering with the experimental plug-in dubbed Project Neon, located on Autodesk Labs is in the beta phases and allows for the user to render their images through their Autodesk account instead of locally through their own computers. Revit models may also be linked directly into Autodesk 3ds Max (release 2013 and later) for more advanced rendering and animation projects with much of their material and object information maintained.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Autodesk Revit Products". Autodesk. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Bergin, Michael S. "A Brief History of BIM". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "What does full bi-directional associativity mean". 
  4. ^ "Patent: Graphical object generation and regeneration". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "The History of Revit - The Future of Design". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Patent: Software usage/procurement management". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Autodesk to Acquire Revit Technology Corporation, 2002 Autodesk Press Release
  8. ^ Arkin, Gregory K. "The History of Revit - The Future of Design". Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Smith, Brett. "Autodesk Announces Autodesk Revit LT". Autodesk, Inc. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Autodesk Revit LT". Autodesk, Inc. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Compare Autodesk Revit LT and Autodesk Revit". Autodesk Inc. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Martin, Richard. "Building information modeling Market to Reach $6.5 Billion Worldwide by 2020". Pike Research. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Autodesk Revit LT". 
  14. ^ "Autodesk Rental Plans". Autodesk. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Software included in the Standard, Premium, and Ultimate editions". Autodesk. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Revit Architecture content". Autodesk Seek. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Revit MEP content". Autodesk Seek. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Revit Spaghetti". Inside the Factory - Designing the Revit Experience. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Keough, Ian. "Dynamo for Revit?". Grasshopper - generative modeling for Rhino. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

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