The extent of Autodesk’s influence over the architecture industry is stunning. In a deep-dive for Architect Magazine that was just published, I examine Autodesk’s strategy, the growing tension between architects and Autodesk, and the ways in which architects have abdicated their technological leadership (and therefore their future) to the software giant:
When you step back, the extent of Autodesk’s influence over the architecture industry is stunning. People I’ve spoken with inside and outside Autodesk say that virtually every large practice in the U.S. uses Revit to produce BIM deliverables—with estimates as high as 90% of U.S. firms and upwards of 80% of U.K. firms. Autodesk won’t divulge Revit’s exact market share, though it does dispute those numbers. Amy Bunszel, Autodesk’s senior vice president of design and creation products (which includes Revit), who responded to my questions through a spokesperson, says that “while we are proud of the industry acceptance of Revit and our success with customers, this is a dynamic industry with a lot of competitive software being used by firms across the board.”
Still, it is safe to say that the majority of American architecture firms buy software from Autodesk and many use Revit. Thus, even the most minor upgrade to Revit can be cause for celebration. Earlier this year, Autodesk released an update that allowed designers to create walls that weren’t vertical. Previously, architects could either draw slanted walls using cumbersome workarounds or avoid designing them all together. Such is Autodesk’s power: It can dictate not only the effort required to design a slanted wall but perhaps whether a designer will create one at all.