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Autodesk Revit

Developer(s) Autodesk
Initial release 5 April 2000
Stable release 2016 / March 2015
Operating system 64-bit Windows
Type CAD Building information modeling
License Proprietary
Website Autodesk 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 model's 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.


  • History 1
  • Products 2
  • Use and Implementation 3
  • Modeling 4
  • Rendering 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


Charles River Software was founded in Newton, Massachusetts, on October 31, 1997, by Leonid Raiz and Irwin Jungreis, key developers of PTC's Pro/Engineer software for mechanical design, with the intent of bringing the power of parametric modeling to the building industry (PTC had previously tried and failed to market its recently acquired Reflex software to the construction sector).[1] 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]

Since Revit 2013 the different disciplines have been rolled into one product, simply called Revit.

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 Nemetschek (makers of ArchiCAD, AllPlan and Vectorworks), and Gehry Technologies with CATIA based Digital Project.[12]


Since Revit 2013 all Revit functionality is available in one product.

Also with Revit 2013 Autodesk introduced Revit LT[13] with some features crippled.[11]

In 2013 Autodesk began introducing rental licensing for some of their products, including Revit.[14]

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

With the release of Revit 2015 Autodesk dropped support for 32-bit Windows.

Use and Implementation

Revit can be used as a very powerful collaboration tool between different disciplines in the building design sphere. The different disciplines that use Revit approach the program from unique perspectives. Each of these perspectives is focused on completing that discipline's task. Companies that adopt the software first examine the existing work flow process to 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:

  • System Families are pre-made by Autodesk and customization is limited
  • Loadable Families / Components can be built from scratch
  • In-Place Families which are like loadable families, but cannot be saved out of the project in which they are made.

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.

Although Revit software comes with a range of families out of the box (OOTB), they are limited, so users can find a need to build their own families or buy them from online stores such as Plansort, Bimbandit or Andekan. A number of websites offer families for free including Revitcity, Augi and NationalBimlibrary.

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.. 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. 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.

An addin available for Revit called Enscape3D allows live 3D rendering walkthroughs and flyarounds. It permits live updates and also allows for sound sources to be added so that acoustics may be tested.

See also


  1. ^ Crotty, Ray (2012). The Impact of Building Information Modelling: Transforming Construction. London: SPON/Routledge. p. 72.  
  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. ^ _tom. "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

  • Dzambazova, Tatjana; Eddy Krygiel, Greg Demchak. (2009). Introducing Revit architecture 2010 : BIM for beginners. Indianapolis, Ind.: Wiley Pub. xvi, 480 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.  

External links

  • Official Revit website from Autodesk
  • Autodesk Revit LT From Autodesk
  • Official Revit Help from Autodesk
  • Building information modeling website from Autodesk
  • Autodesk Seek website from Autodesk
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