Spotlight on Morphosis Architects’ Kerenza Harris: Teaching the Value of Parametrics from Concept to Fabrication

By Akio

Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas

 

Morphosis ArchitectsFounded in 1972, Morphosis took its name from the Greek word meaning “to form or be in formation.” While the name alludes to the firm’s “dynamic and evolving practice,” today it might also apply to its innovative use of parametric design tools.

Since joining the firm in 2008, Kerenza Harris has been a key part of Morphosis’ development and integration of these new technologies into design work.

Today, she is helping Morphosis to develop automation systems and parametric tools that can be integrated from the earliest concept design stages through fabrication.

Raising Expectations

Owners, fabricators, and contractors are expecting highly specific information earlier than ever. “It is a bit of a challenge because it forces us to have more complex models earlier on,” Harris notes.

Tweet:

Click to tweet: “Higher expectations from
owners require more complex models earlier”

In addition, some owners are beginning to expect highly sophisticated models as a baseline for design presentations. While Harris notes that modeling makes it easier than ever to show owners precisely how a project will work, it is creating new expectations about the designer-owner relationship.

Lost in Translation

Embedding such sophistication into models so early can also prove challenging later in the process—should the model need to translated into another format.

“Every time we need to communicate with someone, be it a contractor, fabricator or client, there has to be a phase of translation,” Harris explains.

When this translation occurs, there is always the risk that embedded information could be lost in the shuffle. By bringing contractors and consultants onto the same software and encouraging closer collaboration, such shuffles can be reduced.

The Intelligence of Parametric Design

Having detailed information from the earliest stages is the beauty of parametric design, Harris notes. Using one program from the first line creates an intelligent model with a history.

“We go from simple geometry; a line, a surface, a plane, a solid, to architecture; a room, a building, a door, a window. As we move forward, the window, for example, becomes embedded with additional information: it has a certain size and uniform specification,” Harris says. “As the idea becomes more cemented, it becomes architecture.”

Tweet: #ParametricDesign turns simple geometry into #architecture. @Dassault3DS @M0rphosis #AEC #BIM http://ctt.ec/4v3PB+

Click to tweet: “#ParametricDesign turns
simple geometry into #architecture.”

Along the way, models are imbued with an “intelligence” that can be linked to methods of fabrication, specific materials, assembly processes and so forth. This can prove especially valuable, Harris notes, when changes are necessary.

When information is imperfect or incomplete, it is possible to embed new information into the model without breaking down the entire system.

The Tools Make the Design

Tools such as CATIA have given Harris an edge in explaining the need for specificity to the students she taught in her former position at Texas Tech University, as well as in her lectures today.

Such software allows students to begin working with simple forms and shapes, and then develop those shapes into complex projects with specific materials and systems.

“We then have a model that has history, which allows us to add information without having to start over,” she points out. Having the right tools in the classroom also has helped Harris to emphasize the importance to students of moving from the “big idea” to the materiality of the future assembly.

“The idea has to be complete and you have to use these tools to develop it and make it a reality,” Harris says. She adds, “That’s how we’re able to have a lot of our projects built in the end: because we are very conscious of the materials and assemblies and reality of what these things are. If that can work with the big idea, that’s perfect for us.”

A Big Idea Realized

AIA seems to agree with Harris’ philosophy. Morphosis Architects won the AIA 2014 BIM Award in the categories of Stellar Architecture Using BIM and Delivery Process Innovation for its work on the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Photo credit: Roland HalbePerot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Photo credit: Roland Halbe

Morphosis used parametrics in creating the museum’s façade, which is comprised of pre-cast concrete modules that are repeated and reorganized to form a highly complex geometrical pattern.

The software enabled the team to achieve an effect that appears random and unpredictable, but in actuality emerges from a rationalized, pre-fabricated system allowing for a more efficient construction and installation process.

The AIA jury noted that the project stood out “by how it leveraged BIM not just in design but in the shop drawing process, and in the fabrication and installation they achieved things in a time that would have been unimaginable otherwise. BIM assisted in fabrication, documentation, and implementation. The submitter had a willingness to share their digital files to better improve the project.”

In its submission, the project team revealed that the museum’s success depended on this integrated process. The accuracy of the early design allowed the team to share highly detailed 3D models with the owner, fabricators, and contractors who used them to develop shop drawings and even a framework for installation.

The result: a world-class museum delivered on budget and ahead of schedule.

3DEXPERIENCE Forum 2014

Kerenza Harris is a featured speaker along with Becher Neme at the upcoming 3DEXPERIENCE Forum in Las Vegas, November 11-12, 2014.

Learn more or register for this event.

Tweet: The Value of #Parametrics: from Concept to #Fabrication @Dassault3DS @M0rphosis #AEC #BIM  http://ctt.ec/Qz4UC+Click to tweet this article

 


Related Resources

Morphosis Architects

Watch an 8-minute demo of the Dassault Systèmes Industry Solution Experience Façade Design for Fabrication

Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

3DEXPERIENCE Forum Las Vegas, November 11-12, 2014

Banner 3DX FORUM NAM

Spotlight on Becher Neme: BIM Expert Pushes a Zero-Change-Order Approach

By Akio

The team that makes up Neme Design Solutions, a Long Beach, California-based BIM consultancy, specializes in simplifying highly complex projects to enable fabrication.

Led by founder Becher Neme, the firm includes a small team of architects and engineers with more than a decade of experience working onsite with general contractors, and with particular expertise in the CATIA solution.

This combination of field experience and software knowledge has helped the firm carve out a unique niche in model clash detection and resolving interface challenges.

Yesterday’s Improvements Are Today’s Inefficiencies

While Neme notes that the AEC industry has flocked to BIM as a means for improving construction efficiency, the tools commonly used require certain sacrifices.

Case in point, one of the firm’s primary services is coordinating clash detection among BIM models. Today, most general contractors launch a project by meeting with all of the trade contractors.

Dozens of people bring their 3D models and, through a seemingly endless series of meetings, they run clash detection to find potential conflicts among systems. When conflicts are found, each model is updated with the solution.

Neme left these meetings wondering: how much time is invested in preparing for these meetings? How much money is spent on getting all parties involved on the same page? If BIM is about providing project efficiency, how can this process be made more efficient?

A Single-Source Solution

While clash detection can be easy, there’s value to be gained in resolving these conflicts more efficiently. To do so, Neme Design Solutions has explored the single-source model concept.

The idea is that Neme Design Solutions works with the general contractor to create an accurate BIM model before subs are brought on board. A small, highly skilled team creates a highly accurate model. As much as 90 percent of the conflicts can be resolved at this stage.

Tweet: An accurate #BIM model can resolve 90% of #AEC conflicts before subs are brought in @Dassault3DS @becherneme http://ctt.ec/Uyh5a+

Click to tweet: An accurate #BIM model can resolve
90% of #AEC conflicts before subs are brought in

Next, the trade contractors are brought in. Rather than resolving hundreds of modeling conflicts, this wider group fine-tunes the existing model before moving directly to fabrication and installation.

The Peak of Precision

This single-source solution is already in action on several of Neme’s projects.

Among them, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center required the high-precision work for which the CATIA software solution is best known. The project features a highly complex ETFE roof with more than 3,000 connection components.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center

(images courtesy of Neme DS)

The roofing contractor brought Neme Design Solutions onboard when the sub determined its software could not handle the roof’s intricate geometry.

By developing a comprehensive, single-source 3D model, the roofing team was able to extract fabrication drawings so accurate that only four of the 3,000 components ultimately needed changes.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

But it is Tivoli Village—a mixed-use development in Las Vegas—that perhaps best demonstrates the unique benefits possible from single-source models.

General contractor Hardstone Construction took complete charge of this 2 million square foot project. As part of a small team of CATIA experts, Neme was deeply involved in developing a single-source model for the project. He rendered the MEP part of that model to be conflict-free and ready for installation.

Tivoli model

With the help of this process, the $350 million first phase of the Tivoli Village was so efficient that it had virtually no change orders. The general contractor was able to beat the budget in several areas.

Tivoli village

(images courtesy of Neme DS)

Tweet: Single-source #BIM models allowed a $350M proj to yield virtually no change orders #AEC @Dassault3DS @becherneme http://ctt.ec/b6b3_+

Click to tweet: Single-source #BIM models allowed
a $350M proj to yield virtually no change orders

Next Generation Possibilities

Given the promise of single-source models, Neme is looking to what might soon be possible.

The next generation, he suggests, must move 3D models beyond visual representation and conflict resolution tools. Future models should improve installation workflow onsite, further optimize prefabrication, reduce material waste and raise onsite safety standards.

For Neme, CATIA is far and away the preferred platform for creating complex, yet flexible, models. However, he notes that given Dassault’s game-changing results in the aerospace industry, expectations are high from construction players on what the software company can do to transform their standard processes.

Neme notes that the latest update to Dassault’s platform boosts the software to a truly collaborative tool. The cloud-based platform allows project teams to work live in a model from anywhere around the globe. Updates are instantly visible to the entire team.

This capability allows the specific skill set offered by Neme Design Solutions to be available as-needed worldwide, and allows Neme and his team to work on multiple projects across the world at once.

Where to Learn More

Looking to learn more about single-source models? Consider attending this year’s 3DEXPERIENCE Forum in Las Vegas, November 11-12, where Neme is a returning speaker.

For Neme, the event is a must-attend for anyone interested in innovative solutions, as it exposes attendees to how the technology currently being explored in construction is being used in aerospace, industrial design, medical and other highly successful industries—suggesting new possibilities for how construction can move forward.

For more on the 2014 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM, visit: www.3ds.com/3ds-events/3dexperience-forum-nam

Tweet: A Zero-Change-Order Approach for #AEC from #BIM Expert and #3DXforum Speaker @becherneme | @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/55958+

Click to tweet this article


Related Resources

Visit Neme Design Solutions

Connect with Becher Neme on LinkedIn

Learn more about AEC solutions from Dassault Systèmes

Attend the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum, Las Vegas, November 11-12:

3DEXPERIENCE Customer Forum 2014

 


Flip the Script: Ask Planning Questions in This Order for Better Project Outcomes

By Patrick

Architect in field

When architects and planners work with owners, they usually accept a proposed site and think about how to arrange and orient a building on that site.

They develop ideas about what the building should look like in some detail before engaging builders or construction managers in ideas about how the building will be delivered.

Then, if the project cost cannot be brought in line with the budget, another site or an existing building renovation is considered.

AEC teams tend to think first about what to build, then how to build, and finally where else they should think about building.

Perhaps this is the wrong sequence of decision-making and engages the team members in the wrong order.

Tweet: Owners too often rely on recommendations based on experience rather than objective data. #AEC #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/j72pJ+

Click to Tweet: “Ask AEC planning questions
in a better order for better project outcomes”

What happens if we reversed the sequence? Can a where-how-what sequenceconsidering multiple sites, new and existing buildings, and logistical delivery issues before thinking about the appearance of the buildingdeliver a better result?

(In manufacturing, how a product will be made is just as important as what it looks like, therefore delivery issues are considered from early in the design stage.)

The minimum information required for considering alternative locations and options are:

  • the owner’s requirements, or the space program
  • code and zoning constraints that might differ by location
  • construction cost differences and schedule implications by location

To find the best location, we need a data driven decision-making process that updates space program alternatives against multiple locations with multiple code constraints.

Note: This is a process enabled by an interoperable BIM Level 3 system; it is not possible with disparate data across multiple BIM Level 2 point solutions.

where-how-what approach allows the focus to be on the process of delivering the project, not primarily what it could look like.

With sufficient data to determine if a certain location will permit a facility to be delivered more quickly, or managed more efficiently, an owner can make an informed decision to prioritize project value over the appearance of a building.

Owners rely heavily on the recommendations of their design and construction team, but this advice has traditionally been based on experience rather than objective data.

Tweet: #AEC teams might need to reconsider their decision-making sequence. #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/4GPBJ+

Click to Tweet: “AEC needs a data-driven process to update
space program alternatives for multiple location options”

When building owners collaborate with finance teams, they benefit from data clearly presented in models that can be updated instantly to compare different scenarios.

Design and construction delivery decisions, by contrast, are made mostly on faith that the opinion of the planning team is correct. In this sense, owners have not been able to directly participate in a truly rational and objective decision making process.

Construction projects that leverage cloud collaboration, 3D models, and interoperable data can predict implications of choices early in the process, enabling owners to make the right where-how-what decisions to support their long-term objectives.

Tweet: Flip the Script: Ask Planning Questions in This Order for Better Project Outcomes #AEC #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/lq721+

Click to Tweet: “Flip the Script: Why AEC project owners should
switch from What-How-Where to Where-How-What”


Related Resources:

Integrated Planning – An AEC Industry Solution from Dassault Systèmes

CATIA Building Space Planning

Building Space Planning on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform



Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »
3ds.com

Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.