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PSFK catches up with Chris Ryan, a young architect who relies on AutoCAD software to give him flexibility, mobility, and security.

Jeff Weiner
  • 20 january 2012

PSFK caught up with Chris Ryan, an architect and designer who has been using AutoCAD to create some of his more recent design projects.

What is the most creative project you have produced?

I modeled and fabricated a seating installation (with Single Speed Design, an architecture firm based out of Cambridge/ NYC) for an exhibit they had at the Boston Architectural College (BAC).  I like this project because it included 3D modeling and digital detailing, AutoCAD output, physical fabrication, and getting to enjoy the final product during the exhibition.  I like it when the projects are at a scale that lets me produce and be involved in the entire process, from beginning to end.  In this case, the project was small enough that I was able to do all of the work myself.

What was your inspiration for this project?

This project was based on a competition proposal SsD had made for a cultural complex in Korea.  The structural system features an arched, long span structure that we reinterpreted into a piece of large scale furniture.  The final piece of furniture was experimental, and required testing and adjustments throughout the entire process to get the final piece to work.  Part of the motivation for this project was to be easy to assemble and disassemble since it was a temporary exhibition, so the vertical struts were all dry-fit, and the bolts used simple wrenches.  The entire piece folded flat and fit in the back of a small SUV, and was assembled in a couple hours without any glue or nails.

How did using AutoCAD software help aid this creative process?

In this project, AutoCAD was used to produce the final fabrication drawings, and confirm that the detailing would work from panel to panel.  Over the years, AutoCAD has been a valuable tool for me in a variety of different ways.  Some projects are done entirely in AutoCAD, some are filtered through AutoCAD for output of fabrication drawings and laser cutting/ CNC files, and other times AutoCAD is the common in-between with a variety of other programs that I may choose to use from project to project.

What’s your favorite AutoCAD modeling feature?

For me, the drafting in AutoCAD is still the only way that I output final drawings.  I have used AutoCAD to produce, clean up drawings for presentations, for fabrication, and for export. AutoCAD has always been my preferred drafting tool to make high quality presentation drawings and high precision fabrication drawings.

Can you give us an example of how these features have helped you in your creative process?

Over the years I have been able use the drafting tools and batch utilities for automating printing drawing sets, which has been a huge time saver.  I have also been setting up my presentation files to be able to take final AutoCAD drawings straight onto presentation boards, or into other printed/web material. I have been able to mockup presentation files so that they can evolve as the project evolves without any post-production lag in-between. This has been a huge time saver for final deadlines.

Things are moving towards the cloud as people demand a more virtual lifestyle. How has the ability to edit remotely from the web or mobile device within AutoCAD helped you to better manage your company/business?

I find myself using cloud computing more and more in my work process.  When traveling, I carry a lightweight laptop and leave the 17″ workstation laptop at home, so it is very nice to be able to access design files from a single location without having to transfer files with flash drives or hard drives.  Additionally, the backup features are a big deal when working on critical files.

Thanks Chris!

Chris Ryan Studio

This article was made possible due to the kind support of AutoCAD.

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