AU 2023: What Happened in Vegas

Recently, I had the privilege of attending Autodesk University (AU), a gathering that goes beyond a mere conference. It's a convergence point for professionals passionate about the intersection of technology and AEC, and much more.

AU 2023: What Happened in Vegas

Upon reflection, I once again find myself energized by my time in Las Vegas, which honestly, is surprising to me too! In this post, I'm excited to share my experiences and takeaways, particularly focusing on the remarkable community atmosphere, invaluable networking opportunities, and my personal reflections on this well-orchestrated event by Autodesk.

Of course there were announcements, keynote speakers, lots of talk about AI, 3rd party booths in the expo hall, demos, parties, and a whole lot more. And just to set expectations up front, I'll be publishing more content about some of that soon.

Community Atmosphere

One of the most striking aspects of AU was the palpable sense of community. It's not every day that you find yourself surrounded by such a high concentration of individuals who share your passion for technology and its role in shaping the future of AEC. The event felt like a homecoming of sorts, fostered a feeling of camaraderie and belonging, creating an environment where ideas and experiences were exchanged as freely as contact information. It was heartening to witness professionals from diverse backgrounds connect over common interests, displaying a collective enthusiasm that’s rare to see. This event truly magnifies the importance of the people behind the tech, products, and companies.

See all of these wonderful people in this post.

Networking Opportunities

The informal yet professional setting of AU presented a goldmine of networking opportunities, and this is my favorite aspect of the event. Moving beyond the confines of typical conference formats, the event goes above-and-beyond to enable spontaneous interactions on the show floor, during breakout sessions, and at casual gatherings. These interactions weren't just about exchanging business cards but were about building relationships. The opportunity to engage with industry peers, technology innovators, and thought leaders was invaluable. Each conversation opened a door to potential collaborations and insights into the evolving landscape of our profession.

Personal Reflections and Experiences

For me, AU was more than a professional event; it was a rejuvenating experience that offered a fresh perspective on our industry. Whether it was learning about the latest in BIM technology, discussing sustainable design practices, or just sharing stories with fellow architects, each moment was truly enriching. The conference also served as a reminder of our responsibility as architects to continually adapt and embrace new technologies to create sustainable, impactful designs. But of course the tech is a means to an end. As I’ve said on the podcast many times,it isn’t why we do what we do. It’s leverage to help us along the way.

The Sphere

So it wasn't all about the people. I did have the opportunity to visit the Sphere which is an entirely new addition to the skyline since my last visit to Las Vegas in 2019. The complexity of the seemingly simple (it’s just a sphere, right?) venue is mind-blowing. I won’t write too much here but to say that it must be experienced in person. Videos on social media do not do it justice, and I am planning an episode on my Archispeak podcast to do a deep dive into the building and talk about what makes is so great.

Kudos to Autodesk

I cannot conclude without tipping my hat to Autodesk for orchestrating such an incredible conference. No matter what your views are on the incredibly complex business they run, there’s no denying the attention to detail, the quality of sessions, and the overall experience are testament to their commitment not just to their products, but to fostering a vibrant community of professionals. Their influence extends beyond the realm of architectural software, impacting various industries and bringing a wealth of cross-disciplinary insights to the table which I do believe we benefit from. Events are difficult, and the team that puts this conference together are doing valuable, top-notch work for all of us.


AU 2023 was an incredible experience, underscoring the importance of community, collaboration, and continuous learning in our profession. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend attending. It's not just a conference; it's a celebration of where our industry is headed, especially with the contribution of the people who are willing to participate, and it’s an amazing opportunity to be part of that journey. And if you’d like to catch the presentations from the event, they are now available to watch on demand.

Finally, I want to say thank you to the team at Autodesk for inviting me to attend. I’m excited to record a couple of podcast episodes in the near future that get into more detail about some of the product announcements and research projects they showcased in the expo hall.

See all the selfies I took with previous TRXL and Confluence podcast guests here:

TRXL and Confluence podcast guest photos from Autodesk University 2023
A photo chronicle of almost everyone I caught up with at AU this year.

Hear more about my AU 2023 experience in this recent episode of Archispeak:

#318 - What Happened in Vegas — Archispeak
Cormac gets more CEU’s bringing his HSW count to Jedi levels, Evan visits Las Vegas for the Autodesk University conference and gives a full report, and they compare and contrast AU to the AIA National Conference on Architecture.