The AEC industry is seeing an increasing trend towards dedicated software development by AEC firms themselves, a trend that was highlighted in recent AECbytes articles such as Technology – A Catalyst for Innovation, Sustainability and Design at Foster + Partners and AEC Technology Development at Bryden Wood. This article captures the cutting-edge technology development initiatives at Thornton Tomasetti, a leading structural engineering firm with a global footprint, including a staff of over 1,500, offices in various cities across the world, and projects in over 54 countries. These applications are developed by a dedicated software group in the firm called CORE Studio.
I was first introduced to the cutting-edge work the A/E firm, Bryden Wood, is doing in AEC technology at the August 2020 event of the San Francisco Computational Design Institute (SFSDI), in a presentation by Phil Langley who leads this work at Bryden Wood. More recently, I had the opportunity to learn more about it at the April 2021 Glimpses of the Future event, presented by Jaimie Johnston of the firm. It was fascinating to learn about the innovative tools for design automation and industrialized construction being developed by the firm, showing that AEC firms do not always have to rely on software vendors for pushing the state of the art of technology in the field. They can take the lead on this themselves.
This article takes a closer look at some of the technologies being developed by Bryden Wood.
It has been close to seven years that I first wrote about the extension of the BIM concept of model-based design from the building domain to the infrastructure domain. At that time, Autodesk had recently launched InfraWorks as a “BIM-from-the-ground-up” infrastructure design application and was transitioning its flagship civil design application, Civil 3D, from being more CAD-like to BIM-like. Since then, there have been several developments in the field of BIM for infrastructure, including the software that is available for it, the implementation of BIM by infrastructure firms as well as government agencies, and the expansion of the IFC open standard for BIM to include infrastructure elements.
This article is focused on capturing the developments along the software front. As we will see, the field for BIM in infrastructure has expanded beyond the initial offerings that were limited to Autodesk and Bentley solutions. Let’s start by exploring these more recent offerings before going back to look at the solutions from Autodesk and Bentley for infrastructure design using BIM.
The biggest news out of this year’s annual GTC conference that NVIDIA — best known for its GPUs (graphics processing units) for gaming and professional markets such as AEC — puts together to showcase the latest developments in its products was the Omniverse. It is a 3D virtual world that can contain models created by many different people in many different applications in diverse locations around the world.
This article looks at the Omniverse in more detail, including what it is, how it works, and how it is being used by leading architectural firms like Foster + Partners and KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox).
It has been over 15 years since I took an in-depth look at the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) open standard and my reason for doing so at that time was that with the increasing interest in BIM in the AEC community, “the issue of interoperability as a means to integrate the various model-based applications into a smooth and efficient workflow” had emerged to the forefront of professional attention. Here we are, all these years later, and the interoperability issue is still as critical as ever, if not more so. The number of applications for the AEC industry has exploded, and it is likely to continue to increase. We need all these applications to be able to work together in order for them to be able to do what they need to do — help AEC professionals design, construct, and operate buildings and infrastructure as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. And in order to work together, they need to be able to exchange the building data they are creating and using with each other freely using a common standard, which is what the IFC is.
In addition to the IFC, the industry organization, buildingSMART, that develops it also develops several additional standards including BCF (BIM Collaboration Format), MVD (Model View Definition), IDM (Information Delivery Manual), and bsDD (buildingSMART Data Dictionary). What these various standards are and what they do is the subject of this AECbytes article.
This article by engineers Sorin Ficut and Dan Ferne of INTBS Romania highlights the practical benefits of using FineFIRE, a BIM software for fire protection design, through a real-world case study involving the storage capacity expansion of a bottling plant of Coca-Cola HBC S/E Europe in Timis, Romania.
FineFIRE is a flexible modeling tool for sprinkler installations, practically without any design limits. We can directly get (almost on a real-time basis) the pipe sizing results according to the standards, thus enabling engineers to focus on the substantial aspects of the design. Particularly for medium to large scale projects like the one presented in this article, FineFIRE is the ideal tool to study alternative design solutions/scenarios in order to reach the optimum one.
This article captures the key AEC industry updates that were shared at the recent Autodesk University, including some new products, most notably Autodesk Tandem for digital twins and Autodesk Build for construction, the acquisition of Spacemaker for generative design in urban planning, and updates to existing products including generative design in Revit and site optimization in Civil 3D.
This article discusses key topics from Bentley’s annual Year in Infrastructure (YII) conference that kicked off last week, including digital twins, digital cities, Bentley’s upcoming iTwin Platform and its strategic partnership with Microsoft, and the many updates to Bentley’s existing applications for design integration and project delivery.
Foster + Partners is a global studio for sustainable architecture, engineering, urbanism, and industrial design, founded by Norman Foster in 1967. Since then, the firm has established an international practice with a worldwide reputation and is considered one of the leading architectural firms in the world.
In this article, Han Shi, Head of BIM & Design Systems at Foster + Partners, describes how technology forms an integral part of the firm’s workflow, with several interdisciplinary groups at the practice involved in areas such as computational design, building physics, performance analysis, optimisation, fabrication, and interaction design. They conduct state-of-the-art research and development in collaboration with universities and industry partners, exploring far-reaching ideas from bio-inspired engineering to extra-planetary 3D printing.
This article captures the highlights of the National TRAC Bridge Challenge, an annual competition for students in 7th-12th grades organized by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), which aims to introduce students to the professional world of transportation and civil engineering and inspire them to consider careers in these fields.