A. Zahner Company is a family business. “That’s 210 families; one for each of our employees,” L. William Zahner, CEO and president, said.
Founded in 1897, the architectural engineering and fabrication firm began making decorative metal cornices for buildings.
Now in its fourth generation of the Zahner family, it imagines, designs, fabricates and installs some of the world’s most innovative structures in cooperation with leading architectural practices including Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid Architects.
With a turnover approaching US$50 million, the company employs 30 design engineers; another 90 employees work on production and installation.
“Combining experience, skill, technology and craft, we make the complex simple and get buildings built on time and within or below budget,” Zahner said.
The firm works on signature architectural projects where design intent must be retained, despite the inefficient complexities of what Zahner describes as, “a very fragmented AEC industry.” (more…)
Kengo Kuma’s architectural designs range from the whimsical (Asakusa Cultural and Tourism Center, a wildly stacked pillar of houses) to the dramatic (the steamship-shaped Victoria and Albert Museum rising in Dundee, Scotland), to the deceptively simple (Great (Bamboo) Wall, a house in China).
Through them he has discovered his calling – celebrating natural materials and creating human connections – and learned that a computer can be an architect’s best friend.
In the years after World War II, Japanese architects grappled with building homes and businesses to replace what the conflict had destroyed and accommodate booming post-war growth. Japan needed fast recovery as its top priority, and its “first generation” architects delivered. (more…)
China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum, Hangzhou, China. Photo Credit: Eiichi Kano.
We are pleased to announce Kengo Kuma & Associates (KKAA) has selected Design for Fabrication, our BIM solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, to improve design speed, accuracy, and collaboration.
KKAA, Japan’s leading architecture firm, is using the AEC industry solution experience from Dassault Systèmes to enhance the quality and efficiency of its architectural designs with a cloud-based collaborative design environment.
KKAA’s designs introduce organic materials that are native to an architectural site’s region—a sophisticated blend of architecture and nature that infuses bamboo, wood, stone and other resources with lengths, angles, cross-sections, arches, patterns and other parameters.
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.
“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.
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.
For Javier Glatt, CEO of CadMakers Inc., one of the chief benefits of digital modeling is the ability to capture knowledge that can be shared with collaborators and applied to future projects—whether or not those collaborators use digital tools.
In fact, he advised his audience in a presentation at the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum to find a business model that removes the burden on industry veterans of learning the latest technology, while still incorporating their invaluable knowledge.
For example, when working with mechanical contractor Trotter & Morton on a wastewater treatment plant, the CadMakers team was tasked with optimizing the workflow using digital modeling and improved collaboration, even though many of the individuals on the project didn’t use computers. (more…)
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.
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.
Today’s complex buildings should no longer rely on fragmented communication through 2D drawings or pdfs, said Robert Beson of AR-MA (Architectural Research – Material Applications Pty Ltd.), in a recent presentation at the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum Asia Pacific South 2016.
Beson suggested that architects today have a responsibility to provide more than just design intent. When relying on 2D drawings, too much is left up to interpretation.
“It’s necessary to fully engage with the methods of construction, of manufacturing, assembly, logistics and installation,” Beson says. “We need to understand and engage our supply chain from concept through design.”
Geoffrey M. Haines, BSc(Eng), ACGI, C Eng, MIMechE, FRSA
If you think back to your first days in a design office, in a new industry, fresh from college, you’ll remember that there was always a designer who’d been there many years. That was the person you sought for help, as they had all the experience of what works and what doesn’t.
It was Oscar Wilde who said, “Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes.” Why shouldn’t you capture that experience to then avoid making the same mistakes?
There is a way this can be achieved which is by using a templated approach to design or, to use another term, “Knowledge Based Engineering”. (more…)