Building Information Modeling or BIM is no longer a new concept. Every now and then, it gets integrated with a new technology, further strengthening its role in unifying different aspects of the construction process and subsequently, the management of the asset created. Some of the technologies that BIM has been successfully integrated with are GIS, IoT, AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence, and 3D printing. This Viewpoint article by Soumya Das, the founder and CEO of Aarka Technology Pvt Ltd, discusses how these integrations can open up new avenues for BIM in the future.
The Open Design Alliance (ODA) is one of the oldest organizations in the AEC technology industry committed to openness and interoperability. It was launched in 1998 with the objective of providing an API (application programming interface) for working with the DWG format, including opening, creating, and editing DWG files. This work is what has made DWG an open exchange standard for the CAD industry and enabled vendors around the world to develop low-cost versions of AutoCAD-like drawing applications such as IntelliCAD, BricsCAD, progeCAD, 4MCAD, etc. Over time, the work of the ODA has expanded to support additional CAD formats like DGN and DXF, 3D formats such as OBJ and STL (for 3D printing), and BIM formats such as IFC and BCF. It has also developed dedicated toolkits for working with popular Autodesk applications such as Revit, Navisworks, and Recap.
The ODA has a conference every year to provide the industry with an update on its latest developments. I had the opportunity to attend the 2021 event that was held last week and came away with a good understanding of what the ODA does and why it is important. In addition to the technical presentations by the ODA development team, there were also presentations by some ODA member companies showing how they were implementing ODA technologies in their products, as well as a couple of panel discussions on the topics of interoperability and Scan to BIM. The highlights of the 2021 Summit are captured in this article.
RESIN Architecture, a design, planning, and visualization firm with projects across the western region and also in several midwestern and southern states in the United States, shares its perspective on AEC technology in this Firm Profile.
Technology is so vital to what we as Architects can do, but we have to be willing to venture out of our comfort zone. As a profession, many firms are seemingly caught in a deep rut of tradition. Those ruts exist when we are comfortable doing things the way they have been done for the past several years or sadly, in some cases, decades. The opportunity for us to work differently, to innovate, and evolve the architectural profession exists. Technology advancements allow us so many exciting opportunities that help us better serve our clients.
Graphisoft unveiled the latest versions of its three main products a few weeks ago: its flagship BIM application, Archicad; its cloud collaboration solution, BIMcloud; and its mobile and web model viewing app, BIMx. This year is a special one for Graphisoft as it marks the release of the 25th version of Archicad. Right from the launch of version 1.0 in 1984, Archicad included 3D in addition to traditional 2D CAD, and it has continued to cement its position as a leading BIM application with breakthrough enhancements such as server-based collaboration, bidirectional integration with Grasshopper for design scripting, and rule-based design in subsequent releases.
This review explores the new capabilities and enhancements of Archicad 25, including the ability to quickly navigate between 2D and 3D, more parametric object libraries, improved visualization with surface textures and customizable graphic overrides, native support for RVT and RFA files, better support to automatically structural analysis models, and many more.
Pappageorge Haymes Partners describes the implementation of AEC technology on the Wolf Point East project, a luxury 60-story apartment tower located in the heart of Chicago, for which it is the Architect of Record.
Without using BIM applications, the team would not have been able to design, coordinate, and complete this complex project in the allotted time per the aggressive schedule. Pappageorge Haymes Partners and its partners checked every little corner of the building well in advance before the project was built. This avoided costly mistakes on site. Having a clear picture of how the different building components interact allowed us to detect issues early on and quickly make the right decisions.
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.
PT. Wijaya Karya (WIKA) describes the implementation of AEC technology on the COVID-19 Modular Hospital in South Jakarta that it was tasked with building in less than a month at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
As a pioneer in modular construction in Indonesia, WIKA strived to push the boundaries of design and construction through their innovative use of engineering, architecture, and construction applications. Modular design and construction not only accelerated construction time, but also increased quality, safety, and sustainability by using offsite, factory-controlled processes and lightweight, mostly recycled materials. Since Bentley’s engineering, architecture, and construction applications can be used for a wide array of infrastructure types, WIKA easily adapted them for the design and construction of all modular components.
The AEC technology industry has been seeing increasing momentum in the extension of the model-based concept of BIM to the design and development of infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, and bridges, with several tools targeted towards civil engineers. However, tools that extend BIM to the comparatively smaller domain of landscape architecture are still non-existent. For the most part, landscape architects are still working in 2D CAD, even if the corresponding building design has been done using BIM. Not only does this prevent landscape architects from availing of the many benefits of BIM that their architectural and engineering colleagues are enjoying, it also makes it difficult for them to be an integral part of the building team early on when the most critical decisions about the building design are made.
This review looks at Environment, a plug-in to Revit that extends its capabilities for site and landscape design. It includes tools for modeling terrain from scratch, visualizing and analyzing topography, creating outdoor walls and railings quickly along sloped surfaces, and other useful tasks routinely performed by landscape architects.
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.
Orcutt |Winslow describes the implementation of AEC technology on its John S. McCain Elementary School project, currently under construction in Buckeye, Arizona.
The most important take-away our team garnered from this project is that AEC technology is not the limiting factor in projects of this complexity. At the end of the day, the biggest hurdles we must cross stem from the development and management of streamlined workflows, both for firm processes and design processes, as well as from communication and coordination amongst individuals, both within our firm and across companies.