Revit for Landscape Architecture

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I recently started working with a new client – a local Alexandria landscape architecture firm – which got me thinking about how we can better format Revit for Landscape Architecture (LA). I was also contacted by an old friend who is a Landscape Architect who wanted to know more about how they could make the move to Revit. I can only imagine that this is the beginning and we will see more and more LA firms wanting to move over from 2D to 3D.

Those who really enjoy Revit, love a good challenge and the opportunity to think outside the box to push the software and use the tools in new and innovative ways. As I’ve said before, all of my Revit experience in practice was with existing (often historic) buildings, which required me very early on to push the envelope with Revit. I feel very well equipped to apply this thinking toward using Revit for LA.

There are a few unique challenges for using Revit for LA:

  • Larger sites (acres and miles, not just single buildings)
  • Need a good way to show specific elevations for grading
  • Hosting to elements in linked models

We have a few unique solutions that aren’t just for LA, but can be used for many different applications:

  • Using floors for planting beds and topography
    • Use the “add points” tool for floor surfaces to specify specific elevations
    • Utilize the “variable” checkbox for the thickness of a layer in a floor assembly to choose which layers will have a constant thickness vs. which will not
  • Using integrated sweeps into walls for foundations/footers for planter walls

Pros of Going to Revit:

  • Better coordination and integration with the rest of the design team
    • Don’t have to waste time exporting to Revit or building a 3D model in another software for coordination.
    • Better visualization capabilities without having to go to another software and create the same design more than once, keep two sets of documents updated, etc.
  • Because the scope of a landscape architect is relatively limited, the number of tools in Revit that are required is smaller, making this type of implementation similar in scope to what you would do for an Interior Design firm.
  • Have a template with all of the standard elements pre-populated.
  • Revit also has a workflow integrated with Civil 3D. If you haven’t already, check out the presentation that I did with Donnie Gladfelter at last year’s AU conference.

Any shift to another way of creating documents requires a certain amount of give and take, and I think that most of the challenges faced by a Landscape Architecture firm are not unique to that type of work – any company that wants to switch from AutoCAD to Revit will have to rethink their workflows, graphic standards, and project team composition. One of the greatest benefits of doing a big push like this is that it forces you to reevaluate your entire system of working, allowing you to really look at what you’ve been doing to determine if it can use a refresh, update, or complete revamp.

While there is still a lot to look at related to larger sites and topography in Revit, many of the cons of taking the Revit plunge are outweighed by the better integration with the rest of the design team.

If you are interested in taking the leap to Revit, please let us know. We would be happy to help!

Happy Reviteering!

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