Louis Vuitton’s Newest Landmark: The Jewel of the Bois De Boulogne

By Akio

The following is a reprint of a Compass: The 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine article by Dominique Fidel.

Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation by Frank O. Gehry

In Fall 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation will spread its glass wings in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. This epic project is guided by two overarching themes: the celebration of visual art and the creativity of meeting a unique technological challenge.

Louis Vuitton’s Newest Landmark: The Jewel of the Bois De Boulogne

by Dominique Fidel

A spaceship, a cloud, a crystal chrysalis: Observers have found many metaphors to describe the structure under construction for the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation, a new art museum that will open to the public in Fall 2014.

Born from a dream shared by architect Frank Gehry and Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and caretaker of the one of the world’s largest private art collections, this glittering glass gem is the new architectural jewel of western Paris.

The foundation, officially founded in 2006 after a 15-year strategy of cultural sponsorship, supports the commitment of Arnault and the LVMH group to contemporary art.

 

“Artistic creation has always been central to the Louis Vuitton fashion house,” said Christian Reyne, the foundation’s deputy director. “With this internationally recognized venue, we offer a great cultural breathing space in western Paris. The goal is to build more bridges connecting heritage, innovation, youth and tradition.”

The artistic programming of the “glass ship” remains secret for now, but its purpose is clear. The foundation will offer permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, plus multidisciplinary events, debates and conferences.

The collection as a whole is known to be one of the world’s largest private art collections, and the opening will mark the first time that many of the pieces have been on public display.

Breaking With Tradition

For Gehry’s second structure in the French capital (after the American Center, in 1993), the Canadian-American master architect proposed a revolutionary project, breaking with the signature style he has developed throughout his career.

Here, visitors will find no shiny metal casing or deformed, powerful volumes. Despite its imposing proportions, the foundation’s new home has an airy silhouette that seems to fly above the Bois de Boulogne by sheer force of its glass wings.

This architectural sculpture will soon house 11 exhibition galleries, or “chapels,” in a flexible, modular convention space that can accommodate nearly 400 people.

With plenty of room for reception, entertainment, leisure and research areas, the building covers an area of 145,313 square feet (13,500 square meters) on two levels and is 150 feet (46 meters) high.

Only by observing the building up close can one appreciate its structural complexity. In effect, the foundation’s home consists of two structures overlapping one another.

In the center is the “Iceberg,” the functioning body of the building, made of reinforced concrete, steel and wood and covered with a façade of approximately 19,000 white concrete wafers.

Surrounding this mass is the glass superstructure, consisting of 12 cantilevered sails of curved glass with a wingspan of 98 feet (30 meters) each. The sails have a steel-and-wood frame covered in aluminum mesh, which in turn supports the 3,400 glass panels.

Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation by Frank O. Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne

Ongoing Innovation

The design took 13 years of development.

“This is a one-of-a-kind creation – without a doubt, one of Frank Gehry’s wildest challenges,” Reyne said. “He made an initial sketch in 2001, after his first meeting with Bernard Arnault. Three years later, the Gehry Partners teams began working on the architectural model, and the following year LVMH commissioned the Paris office of the Studios Architecture agency to manage the project in France.”

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Studios Architecture Paris was a natural choice due to its past experience working with LVMH. “We already knew LVMH because we had done the interiors of two of their office buildings,” said James Cowey, the company’s CEO. “And we had worked with Gehry on the IAC building in New York. But we never imagined what challenges were in store for us, both art- and technology-wise.”

Renaud Farrenq, the engineer in charge of coordinating the project at Studios Architecture, lists some of the challenges the team faced: “Unpredictable curves and counter-curves in the central building, extremely demanding load calculations, bending plates of glass to the millimeter, identifying industrial partners capable of carrying out work that had never been done before, and fire and wind testing.”

A Unique Collaborative Environment

Given the complexity, the team had more than 800 people working simultaneously during the study phase, and then 750 workers at the peak of construction.

 

“In this kind of project, requiring ongoing technological innovation, seamless cooperation among everyone involved is crucial,” Reyne said. “In fact, we decided to put all the teams – architects, engineers and contractor – together in one place. In addition, we all relied on a single tool: 3D design software.”

The software, built by Gehry Technologies on top of a three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided design solution developed for the aerospace industry, brings together the data from all the different trades – including construction, reinforced concrete, glass, plumbing, electrical, etc. – allowing everyone to work on the same digital model and to share information in real time.

“It was the first time that this software was used on a construction site in France,” Cowey said. “So we had to adapt it to French reality, especially to French law. But it’s clear that it played a key role in the success of a project that pushed the limits as much as possible.”

In 2012, its use of the software program earned the Louis Vuitton Foundation the BIM Excellence award, bestowed by the American Institute of Architects. Since then, the building has won several prestigious awards and is now studied in the architecture school’s curriculum at Harvard University.

A Pioneer in Eco-Friendly Building

In addition to its artistic and technological achievements, the Louis Vuitton Foundation building rose to many environmental challenges.

It aims to set examples in its use of geothermal energy, high-performance insulation, recycled and recyclable materials, passive cooling, rainwater harvesting, site management and more.

 

“With its environmental design, the project took on an ambitious sustainable profile, as demonstrated by its comprehensive HQE (High Environmental Quality) certification. The Foundation is also a pioneer in adapting the HQE standard to historic buildings,” said Renaud Farrenq, engineer in charge of the project for Studios Architecture Paris.

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Increasing Efficiency by Adopting Lean Construction Practices

By Akio

McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute, and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is an excerpt from that report on increasing efficiency through better practices.

Construction team


Practices Adopted to Increase Efficiency

While taking a formal Lean approach is relatively new to the construction industry, many of the practices that are intended to increase efficiency have been adopted for a longer period of time.

Long before they considered themselves to be pursuing Lean, firms have been using frequent, regular meetings with workers onsite, prefabrication and optimization of crew sizes, and the data reveal that a large percentage of respondents have been employing these practices for more than three years.

Advanced practices to achieve efficiency used by contractors

Practices Undertaken for More Than Three Years by Most Respondents

The wider industry adoption of these three practices is also evident among the firms that have not implemented Lean.

1. Weekly or Daily Meetings with Workers: Site meetings used to bring efficiencies to the worker level may be associated with Lean, but firms seeking to improve safety practices rather than eliminate waste may also focus on frequent site meetings.

2. Prefabrication: The 2011 Prefabrication and Modularization SmartMarket Report revealed that 84% of the contractors included in that study used prefabrication or modularization.

This is roughly consistent with the findings of this report, with 80% of contractors using prefabrication.

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are using #prefab

Clearly, with such a high percentage of firms, this is not a practice associated solely with Lean.
However, as the Lean expert in-depth interviews reveal, many Lean firms find prefabrication to be an essential strategy to eliminate waste in their construction processes.

3. Optimization of Crew Sizes: It is not surprising that most contractors, especially those not familiar with any Lean practices, would feel that they optimize the size
 of their crews.
However, to truly gain efficiencies, there are clear advantages to gathering additional input from approaches such as pull planning and to rely on data rather than previous experience.
Firms implementing Lean may be more likely to make this distinction, which may explain why the highest percentage that report engaging in this practice are those unfamiliar with Lean.

One additional practice reported widely by firms that have not implemented any of the key Lean practices is training workers with preparatory tools and methods. While the percentage of Lean practitioners is slightly higher, the difference is not statistically significant. A larger percentage also report having used this approach for more than three years versus those that have been using it a shorter period of time.

Again, these kinds of preparations may not always be focused on eliminating waste, even if they help achieve that. Contractors may also prepare workers for safety reasons, and some firms with an advanced green/sustainable practice may also spend additional time preparing workers to handle green technologies for maximum impact on building performance.

The one practice that has a higher level of use among Lean practitioners that is statistically significant and that has also been in use for more than three years by a larger percentage of respondents is Just-In-Time material delivery. This finding suggests that this is one of the earlier Lean practices to be adopted in the industry.

Practices Adopted by More Respondents in the Last Three Years

Not surprisingly, the practices that have been adopted more recently—studies of worker ergonomics/activities and GPS tracking of materials, tools and equipment—are also those more reliant on effective data gathering.

Tweet: Studying worker activities and GPS tracking of tools/materials rely on effective data gathering @Dassault3DS #LeanCon http://ctt.ec/d54dc+Tweet: Studying worker activities & GPS tracking
of tools/materials relies on effective data gathering

The 2013 Information Mobility SmartMarket Report suggests that the ability to gather and analyze data from the construction site has been increasing with new tools and systems supporting those efforts, although it also reveals that better tools are still needed to support these efforts.

Studies of Worker Ergonomics/Activities

Analyzing data on worker ergonomics/activities can be a time-consuming, manual task without the right tools.
It can also be critical to find efficiencies at the worker level and to find new processes, as the the Lean experts in the in-depth interviews reveal.
This may explain why 50% of Lean practitioners report engaging in this activity, more than double the percentage of respondents that have not implemented Lean.

GPS Tracking of Materials, Tools and Equipment

The data suggests that this is still an emerging practice among Lean practitioners and non-practitioners alike.
Again, to use this information to find efficiencies, it is essential to be able to analyze this data, not just to gather it on individual projects.

Practices Not Undertaken by Respondents

It is noteworthy that, even among the Lean practitioners, none of the respondents report using 4D schedule modeling or 5D cost modeling.

The Lean experts interviewed in the in-depth interviews frequently mention the importance of BIM to implementing Lean at their firms. While a few of these experts do report doing 4D schedule modeling, the larger survey results reveal that this is still a highly limited practice.

Advanced practices to achieve efficiency used by contractors

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Lean Construction Case Study: UCSF Cardiovascular Building Team Implements “Value Stream Mapping”

By Akio

McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute, and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is a case study from that report on Value Stream Mapping, implemented on the Cardiovascular Research Building project at the University of California in San Francisco.

Value Stream Mapping (VSM)


Achieving Savings Through Value Stream Mapping

Rosendin Electric was challenged by the project owner to look at ways to bring their projects even more under budget.

As a firm that prides itself on innovation and one that strives to remain on the cutting edge of technology, Rosendin tasked one of its in-house study groups to come up with ideas that would be able to save time and cost.

As a result, one of the approaches they decided to pursue was Value Stream Mapping (VSM).

Process Improvements Identified Through Value Stream Mapping

VSM, in its simplest term, sets out to observe every step of a process and identifies areas where improvements can be made to eliminate waste. The technique was first originated by Toyota and is a lean tool that employs a flow diagram documenting in high detail every step of a process.

The process they chose to study was the installation of pendant-hung fluorescent lights at the Cardiovascular Research Building at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF).

Light fixtures installed through a more effective process

Light fixtures installed through a more effective process

As a first step, they needed communication to come from upper management to let the workers know that the VSM study was looking for improvements in the process and that it was not a judgment on anyone’s work. The communication also let the workers know that they were open to their ideas and feedback on how the process could be improved.

Joseph Leoncavallo, assistant project manager and one of the leaders of the VSM study, says, “We communicated to them that we didn’t want them to install the lights any faster than they normally would just because we were there watching them with a stopwatch and a piece of paper and writing down everything that they did. So it’s really important to have that honest conversation with the guys working in the field, first.”

The management team, as a result, got very positive feedback from the field. They were excited to be part of a process and to see what could be done going forward.

Bob Weisman, senior estimator at Rosendin states, “The field team want to be successful and to do things the best way for themselves and the company. And we’re giving them buy-in. We’re not telling them they have to do this; we’re saying: ‘what do you think?’ And that’s a big, big deal when you ask people what they think.”

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Each Step Taken Into Account to Identify Waste

The VSM started with setting up an observation record where a list of every activity was recorded along with notes. The group started documenting every step of the process, including activities that workers might not ordinarily consider when they are estimating time spent, including answering a question from someone, bathroom breaks and grabbing a wire nut.

The whole process from start to finish was recorded. The group repeated the process four or five times to get a good understanding of the installation process.

As a next step, the current state map was created, which involved taking the observation record and putting it down as a process map. The map essentially provided a high-level overview of every step of the process. After all the steps were mapped out, the group went back and looked at the amount of time each step took. Two levels of time were recorded: non-value-added time and value-added time.

Value-added time is considered time that is spent directly contributing to the installation of the light fixture, such as physically hanging the fixture. Non-value-added time, on the other hand, is considered something that could be done in the factory such as installing an end cap, or it could be opening a box, a necessary activity, but one that does not directly contribute to the light fixture being hung.

The team then analyzed each step in the process and identified areas where processes could be improved and waste eliminated. These areas of improvements were displayed on the map in highlighted yellow, a Lean technique known as Kaizen bursts.

The areas of improvement that were identified included nine steps in the process that could be eliminated as a result of getting the fixture prefabricated by the manufacturer.

Prefabricating Provides Key Opportunity for Savings

Next, the team incorporated the Kaizen bursts into a future state map that displayed the improved process for installing the pendant-hung fluorescent lights.

According to Leoncavallo, “We were looking at about 22 minutes of time that could be eliminated from each fixture installation, most of it due to eliminating the on-site [work on just one component of] a single fixture. Some of that time was non-value added, and some of it was value added.”

Rosendin communicated to the manufacturer their need to prefabricate the desired fixture and were not met with resistance. The manufacturer had the capability to undertake this for them and wanted to maintain Rosendin’s business, so in the end, they included the additional steps in their agreed-upon scope of work with no additional charge.

While the advantage of being a big player was certainly a factor in the manufacturer’s cooperation in this process, this is potentially an approach that any firm could benefit from. Leoncavallo says, “I think [the decision of the manufacturer
to cooperate is made on] a case-by-case basis, but I think the biggest lesson there is, if you don’t ask for something, you’ll never know.”

VSM Study Results in Project Budget Reduction

The time saved on this project as a result of prefabricating the light fixture resulted in the opportunity to reduce the project budget as the team had set out to do.

Weisman says, “I was convinced that we could at least save 15 minutes per fixture on 2,000 fixtures. So 15 minutes times 2,000 comes to 500 man hours, and our labor rate is close to $100 an hour. So I was able to lower my budget by $50,000.”

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was able to lower their project’s budget by $50k

Lean Construction Case Study facts and figures

According to Weisman, the $50,000 savings against an overall project budget of $100 million was still considered significant by the owners. Especially when taking into account that overall only approximately $2,000 was spent on the VSM study, the time spent by the person conducting the study.

Value of the Process

Leoncavallo finds the value of this process exceeds the cost savings. “It gives you an opportunity to go out there, observe, really see what’s going on and eliminate waste, which is going to improve your flow and productivity.

“It deepens the knowledge of the installation process …. And the other thing is, it really improves communication between the field and management because you’re collaborating together on this solution.”


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