History of BIM software

edited November 8 in General

For anyone interested in the history of BIM software up to Autodesk Revit this post has most of a presentation by Jonathan Ingram who wrote the original Reflex & Sonata BIM software programs back in the 80's and 90's.



  • Good job, I build something like that on my GitHub but with a different view, and still is not complete and needs a lot of information to be added: https://github.com/EAzari/HDBE

  • Fascinating video @duncan !

    @ReD_CoDE - maybe you should add that as an article to the OSArch wiki?

  • @Moult it's not complete yet, will add in the near future

  • @ReD_CoDE said:
    @Moult it's not complete yet, will add in the near future

    Don't be silly! Add it as it is. Something like that is never really finished. Let other people help and develop it - if you're ready to let them.

  • @duncan I'm ready when you're

  • I've been wondering about starting a new category to collect all learning material. Maybe 'Tutorials' 'Documentation' and we could have one called 'History'. All of those can be part of a 'Learning' section. How does that sound?

  • Sounds good, especially when the majority of them are academic articles or resources from Wikipedia about some important topics in the digital built environment
    However, it would be better to put it in a general category and based on topics mentioned in it, and also the community's interests have some learning materials too

  • @ReD_CoDE it's a wiki - anybody can edit without permission from other people. You don't even need an account! Go for it - it can always be moved / reorganised later.

  • @Moult will do that, however, should learn how to work with Wiki, is it like MD?
    Also, last night I summarized "Programming Fundamentals book", so soon will add the book and its summary too
    https://github.com/DfMALab/DfMALab/blob/master/LabResources/Programming Fundamentals.md

  • I'd love to see a whole section of learning material about BIM, maybe if you @ReD_CoDE want to make start that'd be great. For now I've link to this page from the front page. As @Moult says we can find more structure once we see what sort of content people want to add.

  • added tag 'learning'

  • @duncan the source is on my GitHub, I won't add it myself, you're one of Wiki editors, so it's better you do that

  • edited November 14

    Not to steal anything away from Jonathan Ingram's excellent work and contribution. But there are some additional material: The original paper from Chuck Eastman that predicted the oncoming approach to what was to later on become BIM in 1974 is an important event in this history. (attached to this post)

    And pardon me for mentioning TAD here --I think one should know. Also one can have the advantage of hearing from the horses's mouth :-)

    Here is the photo of the DOS version of TAD. As you can see it had 3D views (using painters algorithm) This is from my July 1 1991 presentation I had given at Mumbai for the JIIA (Journal of the Indian Institute of Architects) Special award I had received then. Note that very primitive work on TAD started with a programmable BASIC (!) calculator in 1987. Then I coded a version in C++ but it was clumsy and I discarded that and moved onto Turbo Prolog in 1988. TAD was actually in place since 1989 and was used in Konkan Railway Corporation's Interior Design work in 1990

    Unfortunately there was no Internet available in India those days. But I had made copies of my thesis presented there and distributed it to several architects.

    From whatever Jonathan Ingram explains (or even what Chuck had explained in his paper); the approach taken for TAD is quite different from what were to become BIM later on. I still believe that conventional BIM has got linguistic issues which is one core reason I believe why BIM does not handle large data in an efficient manner. Also the need by BIM to directly talk about the building without giving any much credence to the process of arriving at the building makes the approach flawed.

    As Abraham Maslow said; if all you have is a hammer; then all problems look like a nail -- so there are indeed people who would vouch for what they believe is a fact that BIM can indeed be used for early stages of design too. My criticism comes from another quarter: That of theories and concepts from linguistics.

    Of course that does not mean I am not acknowledging Chuck's or Jonathan's contributions. I am of the opinion that historically; we are still at the "pioneering" stage of all this. So if one were to enter the subject of computer representation of architecture even as late as today, one would still be mentioned as a pioneer -- because these 30-50 years of time span is practically nothing in comparison to the history of discussions in architecture

  • Sadly Chuck Eastman has recently died. It would have been interesting to hear what he thought about opening the industry up to Free Software.

  • Another great mind gone :(

  • That is true. Chuck Eastman had foresight, contributing to one corner of the puzzle in this area

Sign In or Register to comment.