ArchiCAD – a bit of History

Did you know that ArchiCAD is the first BIM Software from 1984 from Hungary? : )

Let’s go deeper and check some interesting points of the history and development of ArchiCAD. Why do we do that?

Because Nora and ArchiCAD are coming from the same country : ) The founder Gabor Bojar is originally a physicist and his dream was to be a Nobel-Prize awarded scientist : )  But he became a programmer. The way of his success was, that he wanted to create something useful for people for everyday life. Not only the nice user interface, the elegant and smart use of the processor. In the beginning Gabor Bojar was helping to geophysicist to use small calculators to get their results as soon as possible, on the site. This was a big help that time, instead of waiting for the result for two weeks, during the night they could process the information.

The other big step was to visualize this information in 3D to help the intuitions of the geophysicist. As a next step they created Graphisoft. Their first big project was to model the complex 3D pipe system of the nuclear power plant in Paks, Hungary. The project was having a complicated three-dimensional structure, which didn’t fit. They were using days and nights a table computer of 64 Kilobyte memory without hard disk or floppy. It was working with two 99 Kilobyte tape unit which was covering the data storage device. Thanks for that and their software they were able to produce the drawings. 

To explain a bit the situation, during this time was not easy to get help from Western technology, computing and engineering, because of the Iron Curtain and the division of East and West. So they had to solve the problem with the existing hardware finding a clever solution.

 

 

The name of their first software was Radar CH (ArchiCAD 1.0). In 1984 they rewrite the software for Apple Lisa, they won support from Apple, but the problem was, that Macintosh was having a little local market in Central Europe and the Soviet Union.

 

Their first intuition was to sell the software for companies connected with pipe systems, but they didn’t want to use small capacity computers. In that point they realized, the architects are the perfect market, because they needed 3D and they were not having so much money for better computers. That was the perfect match. The coming years Graphisoft expended internationally.

 

ArchiCAD is the first “Virtual Building” concept, the first implementation of BIM. Was the first software to create 2D and 3D geometry and store large amounts of information within the 3D Model.

As we mentioned, Gabor Bojar was a physicist. ArchiCAD was written in GDL (Geometric Description Language, a BASIC-like language. In 2D and 3D in GDL, all the model elements are linked to a local right-handed coordinate system. For placing an element in the desired position, you have to move the coordinate system to the desired position (and orientation), then generate the element itself. Every movement, rotation or stretching of the coordinate system is called a transformation. Transformations are stored in a stack, which can be extended by further transformations and can be cut by deleting one or more transformations from the top of it. Graphisoft attracted the most talented people for the company. Working for the global market behind the iron curtain was very attractive for the best programmers in the Sovjet Block.

In 1995 ArchiCAD was created for both platforms : Macintosh and Windows.

The next big step was TEAM WORK with the version 5.1 in 1997:

As Gabor Bojar says, the biggest challenge was to train the programmers to like the market and the customers. Graphisoft was deeply focused to serve and understand the need of their customers and since then (more then 36 years) they are doing the same.

Today the last version is ArchiCAD 24, connected with other softwares, like Rhinoceros and Grasshopper to take the software to the maximum level : )

The ArchiCAD + Grasshopper Live Connection it exist since 2016, from the version ArchiCAD 18! PAZ is using this connection since it’s born. A special project were we made our first connection was The house of the Hungarian Music.

 

If you want to know more, contact PAZ!

Source:

01 – Gabor Bojar

02 – Micro Capitalism

03 – ArchiCAD 2.0

04 – ArchiCAD

05 – GDL

06 – Gabor Bojar Interview

07 – Gabor Bojar about Graphisoft

08 – ArchiCAD Talk

09 – ArchiCAD Story

10 – ArchiCAD Versions

11 – Apple Lisa