Revit 2016 New Features – Architectural Enhancements

This week I will jump into the Architectural Enhancements for Revit 2016. The past two weeks I’ve gone over the Multi-Disciplinary Enhancements. I am using the organization that Autodesk has on the Revit 2016 Help page under What’s New? So if you want to check out the Help page, you can see where I’m going and what I’m covering.

There are not a lot of new architectural enhancements, but there are some exciting updates! Take a look:

IFC Links and Rooms

In Revit 2016, you can use linked IFC files to define room boundaries. This works pretty much the same way linked Revit files can define room boundaries. You must specify that the link is Room Bounding in the Type Properties dialog.
The biggest difference from Revit links is that IFC-based curtain elements cannot be used to define rooms. To get around this issue, you can place room separation lines in order to get rooms placed in spaces bounded by curtain walls.


To better assist you in tagging and scheduling floors, there is now an Elevation at Top and Elevation at Bottom instance property. These parameters are read-only in the Properties palette.


Place Rooms Automatically

This has to be one of the most exciting new features for 2016. You have been able to place spaces automatically in Revit for quite some time, and now you can place rooms automatically! When you start the Room tool, the ribbon changes to the Modify|Place Room contextual ribbon. In the Room panel, there is a Place Rooms Automatically tool. But you should not click this tool until you have specified all the options so that the rooms will be created properly.

The same options are available as when placing rooms manually. Just a few notes on those options. First, you cannot place unplaced rooms when placing rooms automatically. Next, you can still tag rooms on placement and control the orientation of the tags, but the Model option really does not work when placing rooms automatically. Selecting Model simply places the tags horizontally. The Model option works when placing rooms manually.

Also, when placing rooms automatically, rooms will only be placed at the current level. Be aware that rooms will be placed in enclosed areas greater than 0.25 square feet. The vertical constraints work the same as when placing them manually. Once you specify the vertical constraints and tag options, you can click Place Rooms Automatically and Revit will create the rooms automatically!


When rendering a view, you can now choose the rendering Engine. There are two options: NVIDIA mental ray and Autodesk Raytracer. Mental ray is an offline 3D rendering technology, while Raytracer is a real-time 3D rendering technology. Depending on which Engine you select, the Quality and Background settings will be slightly different. The Raytracer engine does not support all of the Quality and Background settings that the mental ray engine does.

Additionally, the Raytracer engine is only for static 3D views. Revit still uses the mental ray engine for walkthrough exports, FBX exports, material appearance previews, decal previews, and so on. You should try out the Autodesk Raytracer engine the next time you render a view!

Energy Analysis for Autodesk Revit

As stated in my initial blog post to preview the 2016 new features, the energy analysis tools in Revit are ever-evolving. The science behind energy transfer and usage does not change, but there are always new things to account for and better ways to view and interpret the data. Autodesk is always improving these tools to help designers understand the performance of their building designs at any point during the design process.

There are several updates to the energy analysis tools in 2016. First of all, realize that Energy Analysis for Autodesk Revit is still a subscription only feature. The biggest update this year is the ability to run energy simulations with mass models and building elements together. This way, if a portion of the building is modeled with elements and another portion is modeled with a conceptual mass, you can still run an energy simulation. The Analysis Mode is controlled in the Energy Settings dialog instead of on the contextual ribbon as in previous years.

Additionally, when using an Analysis Mode that includes building elements, you can click the Show Energy Model tool and Revit will create a new view and two schedules. A 3D Energy Model view is created to help you view the analytical surfaces in the model that will be analyzed. Also, an Analytical Spaces and Analytical Surfaces schedule is created to help you see the spaces and surfaces that will be analyzed in a tabular form, rather than graphically.

The Analytical Spaces schedule shows the Area, Count, Room Name, and Volume. The Analytical Surfaces schedule shows the Area, Count, Opening Type, and Surface Type. Be aware that both openings and surfaces are shown here and every instance is not itemized.

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