Friday, July 27, 2007

ArchT — For Architects, By Architects (07jun97)

June 1, 1997

It isn’t often that software users (much less architectural software users) declare that the developers of products they use understand their needs, but we have run across one of these rare instances with a product called ArchT v13.5 by Ketiv Technologies Inc. We feel that a major reason behind ArchT’s success with architects is the fact that it is developed and enhanced, at least in part, by licensed architects. From the beginning, Ketiv has focused on creating architectural tools that can be used right out of the box, or customized to meet the needs of virtually any architectural office. ArchT is a shining example of this goal.

ArchT works within AutoCAD and provides enhanced architectural functionality to it. ArchT has been around the block, too, since 1985, so you can rest assured that it works well with AutoCAD for architectural work. It has been considerably overhauled and enhanced to the point where it is suited for just about anybody who needs 2D architectural documents with the flexibility to get 3D models and rendered images, pre-defined and customizable reporting and scheduling capabilities, plus architectural content.

As testimony to ArchT’s usefulness in the architectural arena, Ketiv recently signed a volume purchase agreement with Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum (HOK) Inc., the largest architectural firm in the US for an undisclosed amount of AutoCAD and ArchT packages.

The First ARX Architecture Application

ArchT was the first shipping AutoCAD Runtime eXtension (ARX) application for architecture, initially running inside AutoCAD R13. Ketiv has been an Autodesk Authorized Developer with over 14 years of experience in AutoLISP, ADS, and ARX programming and architectural domain experience.

Ketiv claims that ArchT was the first object-oriented software product for architecture. Instead of manipulating simple geometry (lines, arcs, and circles), ArchT users actually design with objects (windows, doors, and walls). These objects are "intelligent" about what they are and how they interact with other objects in the drawing. For example, if the style of a window is changed, ArchT first redraws the window to meet the new specifications, and then redraws affected walls to accommodate the change.

Ketiv is an interesting company, in that it not only develops software products, but is also a major AutoCAD reseller, training, and support center, specializing in architecture. The company also offers a taste of mechanical design, as well. In addition, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently designated Ketiv as a Premier Training Center for fulfilling annual continuing education requirements.

Draw It Once And Refine It

Ketiv’s primary philosophy and motto is "Draw it once." We think a better tagline would be to "Draw it once, simply, and refine it as you go." Ketiv realized early that everybody hates repeatedly drawing the same architectural elements, so ArchT was designed to handle the geometry while users can experiment with the available options — creating and revising until a design solution is reached. Many architectural elements, such as doors, roofs, stairs, windows, etc., can be quickly drawn using ArchT’s library of standard styles. Styles can be created, edited, and previewed. ArchT also has several utilities for speeding production drafting.

For working quickly, you can draw in 2D and then display the design in 3D with a simple mouse click. ArchT’s unique methodology stores 3D data as 2D drawings are being created within style definitions and blocks.

Overall, ArchT is very easy to use with an interface that is intuitive and, as importantly, consistent.

General Requirements

For running ArchT, Ketiv recommends 32 MB of RAM, but we have heard few complaints from users who have only 16 MB installed. Of course, AutoCAD is also required; R13c4 or higher. ArchT is priced at $1,195 and comes with free 90-day tool-free technical support directly from Ketiv.

Contact: Ketiv Technologies, 800-458-0690, 503-252-3230,