Monday, October 26, 2015

Moving The Use of Building Information Modelling in the Construction Industry Forward

Writer Jeffrey Pinheirol’s has an interesting post up about what contractors are looking for in the BIM models they receive. I’m actually already sold on the benefits of looking forward in the building process for how best to structure the building data but his post contains some good practical advice about how to best approach this goal. The first take away for myself was that we should all be using REVIT’s build-in assembly code parameters in our models. Having each model element associated with its matching UNICODE format data greatly facilitates the estimating process (and by extension the tendering process). For myself, I think tagging model elements with assembly code data represents easy low hanging fruit which any firm can take implement of with very little investment.

Secondly, the writer touches on an issue central to the development of BIM. The coordination of the required level of detail in any given project has been a difficult goal to achieve for the BIM community. While the consequences of either over-modelling or under-modelling a structure are clear. Less well understood is agreed upon definitions of differing levels of development and detail within a project. Fundamentally this is a communications issue which manifests itself with inconsistences in the deliverables. This issue is an obstacle especially for distributed teams and integrated building design workflows which require a shared language to continually move the design forward. AIA’s Level of Development package is a good starting point for establishing agreed upon levels of development but certainly project partners have also stepped in to define the model’s level of completeness on a case-by-case basis.   

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall 2015 Architectural 3D Printing Update: Reversible Concrete

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, in collaboration with Gramazio Kohler Research and ETH Zurich, unveiled their new 3D printed architectural feature “Rock Print” at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The 3D printing method utilized for the sculpture mimics some of concrete’s best characteristics such as its strength and flexibility in addition to the capability of being disassemblable. This property, achieved by cramming a bunch of stuff into a small space and thereafter relying the system’s inherent friction, is called the “jamming phenomenon” and in this example employs string, rock and a lot of material science to achieve the effect. The automated placement of the materials is done by robot arm and produces a structure of comparable strength to concrete but which retains the capability to be disassembled (just like LEGO). Andreas Thoma of Gramazio Kohler Research goes on to state: “The ability to digitally fabricate, disassemble, and reassemble structures with no material losses changes the paradigm of architecture as well as the view of permanent / temporary architecture." I’m actually not particularly drawn to the topic of temporary architecture – I’ll leave that to the retail specialists – I personally come done much more on the side of high-quality permanent structures but architectural 3D printing should at least fire one’s imagination in regards to the architectural possibilities. The design itself is pretty good. It’s solid public art that is both smooth and gracefully extends its heft up while showcasing innovation. I’m just not sure it falls into the rare and elite category of sculpture I’d want to own.