The great Revit debate.

Picture this, you are an architecture student facing the ever-impending graduation. You are looking at the next stage in your life, a job. You scroll the pages of Besides your frustrations at the words graduate architect and 4+ years of experience commonly appearing in the same sentence, you notice a common skill: Revit competence essential. For me, this is reality, and I’m taking issue with it. I believe in computers for innovation in architecture and future technologies, but Revit is not one of these things.  

Image: Autodesk

If you’re an architect living under a rock, Revit is a BIM (building information modelling) design software that is claimed to be the evolutionary advancement of traditional CAD [1] (computer-aided design.) Revit works in elements and components, allowing the plan to be drawn in 2D and viewed in 3D simultaneously. Revit was initially released in 2000 and is currently owned by Autodesk. Revit, of course, has its supporters. It is considered an industry standard among most architectural firms and even features as the basis for multiple unit options at most universities. For the graduate job listing in question, within the 8 essential skills the company is asking for, High-level Revit competency is 4th on the list only behind previous experience, education level and written and verbal communication skills. While interestingly, the ability to articulate design process and thinking is the 7th required skills, perhaps this is explanatory to the value of young architect graduates in the workforce. 

In 2020, 17 UK architecture firms, including Zaha Hadid Architects and Grimshaw, signed an open letter to Autodesk’s CEO, Andrew Anagnost. The letter outlined the companies concern about the rising cost of Revit and the lack of development. The letter stated Where once Autodesk Revit was the industry enabler to smarter working, it increasingly finds itself a constraint and bottleneck. Practices find that they are paying more but using Revit less because of its constraints. and that the software often requires sophisticated and practice specific workarounds. [2]

Image: Autodesk

You can always pick the drawings and design which the designer has unfortunately used Revit for. I see the same clunky wall pre-sets and ugly default curtain wall systems. The building looks out of context, and the design looks like it really had no effort put into it. For me, this is the problem with all the pre-sets. Sure, in building and construction, there are standards. The door frame is 820mm wide etc. There are many things that architecture should be, but a set of pre-set architectural standards is not one of them. When working in Revit, architects should be conscious of not relying on the easy accessibility of these and instead exploring their own creativity. 

In all honesty, I am sufficient within the Revit workflow, but I am no expert, and this is possibly a contributing reason why I find it inadequate as a design-based software. Perhaps Revit is good in the right hands when a design is transitioning from a design proposal to construction drawings, but Revit should never be considered as a design tool and never included in manifesting the concept.

  1. What’s the Big Deal About Revit? Understanding the Role of Autodesk Revit in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, Mabri Pryer
  2. Open Letter to Autodesk,