Remodeling the Architectural Design Process

By Akio
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The following article is excerpted from the Dassault Systèmes SHoP Architects customer case study


Chris Sharples, founding partner at SHoP Architects, believes that architects should think more like manufacturers and to try to pull as much off the construction site by getting things prefabricated and manufactured in a controlled environment and then assembling the modules on site.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “#Architects should think more like
manufacturers” – @SHoPArchitects #AEC @3DSAEC

“Generally, in architecture, there are many workflow inefficiencies, in the way disciplines, owners and trades interact with one another. A lot of time and effort is spent communicating intent between parties. With technology evolving all the time and computer processing power getting better, it is becoming more realistic to do real-time simulations and collaboration….

“Of course, we can approach projects in the traditional way but I think we can really blow the doors off the barn by taking advantage of a modular approach, which is very well developed in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform,” Sharples said.

He also believes in the power of technology and the determining role it has on the way his firm’s practice has evolved.

“One of our biggest challenges is moving from the traditional way of working using plans and sections – dealing with space and all the things that go into a structure like air flow and environmental controls – to working with 3D models.

“A traditional plan-and-section approach often leads to misunderstandings when presenting information to clients, consultants or to the build team. Working with 3D models that represent all aspects of a design from a structural, mechanical and systems point of view enables us to manage that complexity in a more collaborative way. We can then create a more seamless relationship between all the different disciplines that go into constructing a building. Working with 3D models can improve the way we design and communicate because it is more open and transparent.”

REDUCING TIME WITH DESIGN TEMPLATES

SHoP capitalizes its know-how and design practices with reusable templates in Design for Fabrication.

“Our designs often involve unique components, which would increase complexity and a duplication of information that could be a challenge to manage conventionally,” said John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP Architects.

“We can demystify design complexity by capturing our knowledge in templates and using them when similar concepts arise from one project to the next. Concept and deliverables are of course unique to every project, but preserving the process in templates is invaluable for efficiency.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Concepts & deliverables are unique but preserving the process in templates is invaluable -@SHoPArchitects #Architecture @3DSAEC

In addition to templates, SHoP relies on 3D to accelerate the design to manufacturing process.

“We’re going directly from digital model to fabrication,” Cerone said.

“The machines develop NC code directly from our CATIA models for the fabrication of the façade. And since everything is on a single platform, there is no loss of information because we don’t need to transfer data to and from heterogeneous systems. It’s all compatible and in one place.”

“If you look back to the renaissance or gothic periods, those who designed and those who built worked together,” Sharples said. “Ironically, designers weren’t using drawings in most cases, they were using models to explain the design to the craftspeople, who would look at those models and then climb up on the scaffolds to start building.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Historically, those who designed & those who built
worked together -@SHoPArchitects #Architecture @3DSAEC

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform allows for that kind of collaboration to happen, starting at the predesign stage and watching the model, which is actually organic, alive and changing, grow through to construction or manufacture. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables this evolutionary process because it is a flexible and open platform. And what’s great about it is it not only covers design and construction, it covers a building’s entire lifecycle. It’s sustainable innovation.”

LIVE DASHBOARDING FOR RAPID DECISION MAKING

Moreover, 3DEXPERIENCE has delivered a level of efficiency to SHoP’s workflow, which just didn’t exist before.

“People are engaging the project at the concept level and watching it mature through its lifecycle,” Cerone continued.

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform powered by ENOVIA allows us to create a social and collaborative environment around our projects. Anyone, with or without design experience, can access 3D representations, associate that with information posted on the platform by other disciplines, and create interrelationships between scheduled tasks and geometry. It allows more stakeholders to engage in the design process, which has changed the way we approach new projects. We find enormous benefit leveraging this technology at the conceptual level and seeing our concepts grow as we explore different options along the way. It’s a real eye-opening experience.”

SHoP uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s live dashboarding capabilities with ENOVIA to allow people with specific roles and interests to participate in the project at various stages and maturities.

SHoP uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s live dashboarding capabilities with ENOVIA to allow people with specific roles and interests to participate in the project at various stages and maturities.

“Stakeholders can tailor their dashboards so that they have a real-time view of the aspects of the project that interest them and to make informed and rapid decisions on issues as they arise,” Cerone said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Remodeling the Architectural #Design
Process | @SHoPArchitects #AEC @3DSAEC

RELATED RESOURCES

On any given project, SHoP Architects manages various disciplines and a vast amount of information. Using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud, including the Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Process Experience, SHoP designs and coordinates global stakeholders with a real-time, up-to-date view of project information. This enables stakeholders to make timely decisions, collaborate better and enhance innovation.

Download the full case study.

Watch the SHoP Architects team explain how they think about using technology to evolve the practice of architecture and construction:

YouTube Preview Image

See Also:

Industry Process Experience: Façade Design for Fabrication

Whitepaper: Technological Changes Brought by BIM to Façade Design

Harnessing the Power of Cloud-Based Collaboration on an Architecture Project

By Akio
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clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Harnessing the Power
of the Cloud in #Architecture

Botswana Innovation Hub

Expressing Innovation

For an architectural firm like New York-based SHoP Architects, expressing innovation means harnessing the power of diverse expertise in the design of buildings and environments to improve the quality of public life.

“Architects want to delight people with their designs,” Chris Sharples, founding partner at SHoP Architects, said. “This is why we focus on first understanding what our clients want, what function a building will serve and imagine a design that will help them achieve that.”

SHoP is also involved in public works, entire infrastructures, and cultural as well as institutional projects.

“We constantly seek innovative ways to build by using traditional materials like wood and prefabricated or modular systems for high-rise construction,” Sharples said.

“We are currently working on some exciting projects like a very tall residential tower in midtown Manhattan that we are dressing in beautiful terracotta and bronze. Another project is a complex of two adjoined buildings in San Francisco, California’s Mission Bay neighborhood that will contribute to transforming this developing stretch of Mission Bay into a dynamic, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It’s our way of demonstrating how innovative architecture can play an important role in transforming a community.”

Iconic Symbol of Diversification

Another of the firm’s iconic projects is the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana.

“The Innovation Hub is a government-driven initiative to support innovation in research and development and entrepreneurship in the region,” John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP Architects, said.

“It is a huge investment for the Botswanan government to diversify its economy and to move from one primarily based on diamond extraction toward a more knowledge-based economy,” Sharples added.

“Our client expressed a desire for a timeless building that features the latest advances in green technologies,” Cerone continued.

One of the systems SHoP developed is an energy blanket rooftop that combines sustainable energy techniques and large overhangs to passively shade the building’s interior. The Innovation Hub is also equipped with mechanisms to collect and reuse water, and passive and active photovoltaic systems to harness solar energy.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced is managing the graceful, morphing shape of the building and the many different parts, which are fabricated in Cape Town, South Africa, that are required to achieving this flowing structure,” Cerone said.

“There are many variables and tolerances are very tight. It requires a high level of control and the ability to coordinate the fabricator and the construction site, both thousands of miles away from our design offices in New York.”

A Shared Experience Enabled by the Cloud

The Botswana Innovation Hub façade was entirely designed for construction with Design for Fabrication and the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.

CATIA model of the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana

CATIA model of the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana

“We used the 3D modeling application CATIA and the collaboration application ENOVIA on the cloud for this project,” Cerone said. “We would not be able to attain the level of control and detail required to complete this project without the 3DEXPERIENCE technologies.”

Since the cloud operates 24/7, 365 days a year, it makes collaboration easier as stakeholders are on different schedules and time zones.

“We’re coordinating people across the globe in real time,” he continued. “It is a completely different way to engage a project as it contextualizes every aspect into a holistic approach.”

SHoP has, in fact, been using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud for years, and was one of the first customers to use the platform as part of Dassault Systèmes’ Lighthouse program. During that time, the firm realized the value of working on the cloud and decided to continue using it on new projects.

“On the cloud, everyone has instantaneous access to the most up-to-date information,” Sharples said. “It creates a sense of order because it’s not in somebody’s drawer somewhere; it builds a shared experience.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Working on the cloud builds a
shared experience” @SHoPArchitects @3DSAEC

To continue pushing the envelope of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, SHoP receives services and support from Vancouver-based CadMakers Virtual Construction, a Dassault Systèmes certified business and education partner.

“CadMakers is much more than ‘resellers’ of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions – they are power-users that approach problem-solving with an intimate working knowledge of our industry,” Cerone said. “They feel like an extension of our team, and their support has been focused and impeccable.”

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Harnessing the Power
of the Cloud in #Architecture

Related Resources

On any given project, SHoP Architects manages various disciplines and a vast amount of information. Using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud, including the Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Process Experience, SHoP designs and coordinates global stakeholders with a real-time, up-to-date view of project information. This enables stakeholders to make timely decisions, collaborate better and enhance innovation. Download the full case study.

CadMakers Virtual Construction. A Dassault Systèmes partner based in Vancouver, Canada, CadMakers is an integrated construction technology company focused on applying manufacturing and automation processes, people and technology to the construction industry. www.cadmakers.com

Watch the SHoP Architects team explain how they think about using technology to evolve the practice of architecture and construction:

YouTube Preview Image

See Also:

Industry Process Experience: Façade Design for Fabrication

Whitepaper: Technological Changes Brought by BIM to Façade Design

Profiting From Unity

By Akio
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The construction industry is turning to the cloud for improved efficiency and profitability.

The rapidly growing global construction industry suffers from fragmentation, which increases risks, leads to wasteful practices and negatively affects project delivery and stakeholder interests. But now, cloud-based collaborative tools are replacing traditional industry practices with new business models that imagine, design and construct better buildings.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #AEC Turns to the Cloud
for Improved Efficiency & Profitability


Article by Nic Lerner, originally printed in COMPASS Magazine 

From the Construction Intelligence Center to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), most industry trackers agree that construction is in for a boom.

A PwC–sponsored report entitled “Global Construction 2030,” published by Global Construction Perspectives with Oxford Economics, predicts a compound growth of 85%, to US$15.5 trillion, by 2030.

That level of expansion is more than a percentage point higher than the 3.9% annual growth rate projected for the global economy as a whole, driven in large part by rapid growth in urban populations.

But a dark cloud looms behind those silver growth projections.

The industry, experts agree, is so fragmented with numerous segments – architects, engineers, construction firms and dozens of trades both big and small – that it is not prepared to handle this level of expansion.

A LEGAL TANGLE

Javier Glatt, co-founder and CEO of CadMakers Virtual Construction, a Vancouver-based integrated construction technology firm, said the reasons for fragmentation come down to legal responsibility.

“The causes of fragmentation are risk and liability issues and their apportionment through the industry,” he said.

As buildings become bigger and increasingly complex, they require more specialized skills at every stage. Tiers of subcontractors are appointed not only to do the work, but also to carry some of the risk.

Glatt cites a misalignment of incentives between stakeholders and contractors, with some working to push down costs while others seek to benefit from budget increases.

Even the design process becomes fragmented, with different contractors responsible for structures, facades, visualization, analysis and multiple building systems.

The good news, however, is that there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Automating processes and making prefabricated components off-site reduce risk, cost, waste and errors,” he said.

“Working with a single unified 3D model that everyone has access to helps solve a lot of problems that arise when contractors don’t or can’t communicate among themselves.”

When each contractor produces its own individual model and data, the chances of error and miscommunication increase.

With a unified project model, Glatt said, “builders understand their role in the project and their interactions with other contractors. They can concentrate on their core skills, solve problems and build better.”

PERCENTAGE GAINS

Research conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading data, analytics, news and intelligence provider for the North American construction industry, reinforces these observations.

Donna Laquidara-Carr, the company’s Insights Research director, said that their analysis of Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry data, from a study conducted in partnership with the Lean Construction Institute, shows that 92% of “typical projects” – those that suffer from fragmentation – experience delays, 85% go over budget and 63% suffer quality defects.

“The data demonstrates that integrated project delivery correlates with significant performance improvements and waste reduction,” Laquidara-Carr said. “And we hear time and again that the key to unlocking these benefits is early stage collaboration.”

The data shows that only 1% of owners deployed project integration tools on typical projects, she said, but that these tools were used on 22% of the industry’s “best-performing projects.”

Consequently, positive team chemistry was reported on 68% of the “best projects,” compared with just 10% on “typical projects.” Teams were well- integrated on 61% of the “best projects,” but only on 9% of “typical projects.”

The data indicate that when all stakeholders – including owners, contractors and trades – are integrated in a virtual “big room” that facilitates working together as one team, the AEC industry functions better, Laquidara-Carr said.

A virtual “big room” is a term for a unified online communications and collaboration platform.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) was heralded as a solution to fragmentation, but industry experience has not been consistently positive.

Tim Beckett, director of Beckett Rankine, a UK-based specialist marine civil engineering consultancy, is a design contractor on the 25-kilometer (16 miles), 7.4-meter (24 feet) diameter Thames Tideway Tunnel. The super sewer is budgeted at £4.2 billion (US$5.2 billion) and will reach depths of 65 meters (213 feet).

Tideway is building the Thames Tideway Tunnel to tackle the problem of overflows from London’s Victorian sewers for at least the next 100 years, and enable the UK to meet European environmental standards. (Image © Tideway)

Tideway is building the Thames Tideway Tunnel to tackle the problem of overflows from London’s Victorian sewers for at least the next 100 years, and enable the UK to meet European environmental standards. (Image © Tideway)

Standard BIM systems can be “clunky to use, expensive to buy and require specialist skills to operate,” Beckett said. However, he sees benefits in a cloud-based approach, which offers the advantages and capabilities of BIM while making information more broadly available to people of all skill levels.

“The Thames Tideway Tunnel is expected to operate for more than a century, so all the data must be future-proofed,” Beckett said.

“A cloud-based solution to project management at this scale would allow stakeholders simple, easy, cheap, permanent and traceable access to the data that they need, today and into the future.”

CONTINENTS UNITED

“Visual simulations and high-resolution data are necessary to properly think through very complex projects,” said John Cerone, director of Virtual Design and Construction at New York-based architecture firm SHoP Architects.

“Standard BIM supports traditional building practices, but builders are seeing that a high-quality, unified 3D cloud-based approach helps them make more money by being more efficient.”

That the industry will accept a unified approach to managing building project data is only a matter of time, Cerone said.

“Construction is such a large part of the global economy that many billions can be saved and made through efficiencies,” he said.

Encouragingly, SHoP is hearing significant interest from builders who want to share the benefits of a unified approach.

Replacing linear processes with the concurrent working practices enabled by a unified approach speeds the design-to-fabrication process and introduces greater accuracy while automatically maintaining financial rigor.

“If car companies can know how much steel goes into a car, to the micron, why can’t you do that with a building?” Cerone said.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Car companies know how much steel goes into
a car to the micron; why not buildings?” @SHoPArchitects

On a current project, Botswana Innovation Hub, an iconic symbol of Botswana’s support for research and development, SHoP has attained this level of “digital craft” across continents.

The results, Cerone said, are “speed with no waste, total accuracy of fabrication and absolute budgetary control.”

“A new 3D-model-based paradigm that actually incentivizes innovation, produces higher profits and helps make better buildings is coursing through the AEC industry,” Cerone said. “The industry is transforming, and it is very exciting to be a part of it.”

4 Benefits of Building Lifecycle Management:

BIM (Building Information Modeling) data, combined with PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) capabilities and processes, creates “Building Lifecycle Management” (BLM), which can increase construction predictability, long-term value and profitability. Main benefits include:

Improve Productivity: BLM helps remove version-control issues, with all users accessing a single live database. Human error, rework and iterations can be drastically reduced.

Increase Quality and Value: Armed with richer data in context, designers can make better decisions. Data access also improves coordination among builders and suppliers, allowing them to more quickly and accurately realize the design intent. BLM also offers built-in governance and traceability, improving accountability.

Reduce Waste, Risk and Cost: BLM is designed to reduce waste by more accurately predicting outcomes, identifying potential points of conflict and optimizing processes. BLM also reduces risk to the project schedule, worker safety and the overall construction budget.

Gain a Competitive Advantage: A BLM system enables a team to become more efficient than competitors, deliver higher quality, gain the loyalties of owners and design partners and retain a healthier profit margin.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #AEC Turns to the Cloud
for Improved Efficiency & Profitability

RELATED RESOURCES

WHITEPAPER End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience