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Archive for October, 2009

Bentley’s GenerativeComponents – a panel discussion

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

An impromptu panel discussion was held at the end of one architectural track session at the Be Inspired Awards and Symposium a couple of weeks ago. The panel was comprised of Richard Priest, architectural software engineer for Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, winners in the category Innovation in Structural Engineering, Oliver Plunkett, civil and structural engineer director, BDP, finalists and Andy Shaw, architect, head of advanced digital modeling and Paul Hunt, Hopkins Architects Limited.

Huw Roberts, Bentley: Some practices have a specialist team doing GenerativeComponents (GC) – is it better if you can get it absorbed into the practice of the teams?

Response: It’s changing the dynamic for who’s driving the design. You used to get guys out of college who could just draw, now you’re getting them who can actually design to the project. It’s an emerging way of working, it’s generational, with more senior people who have more building experience moving on. It’s giving young practices an opportunity to emerge. I think it’s removed tension. The young are intimately involved and driving options that may seemed not possible. Before they would come in and just draw someone else’s design (in the old days).

You’re using GC to achieve purpose not just a cool shape.

Roberts: How do you think this technology is changing abilities?

Response: Before you had one best guess, now you can fine tune it, within practice, you can’t get away with doing extravagant, must make it rational and efficient, making sure design can work.

Huw Roberts: Clients wanted to explore progressive design – how has technology helped you convince the client that you’re helping minimize their risk?

Response: If you model something in 3D you can’t fudge it. It’s a virtualization of the building process that as designers, we should be doing.

GC forces you to be very precise, the 3D model is your digitai prototype. If your virtual model is working a lot of clients get more confidence that it can be built.

The word “Prototype” makes it sound like it’s more correct, than the word “model.”

Huw Roberts: Are you sharing analytics with client?

Response: Yes, you can prove C-values, shadows, they are easiest to quantify, room temps are more difficult to quantify, etc. They know what they’re getting.

Architectural building constraints become the inspiration

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

New home for the Sperone Westwater art gallery presents vertical space challenges:

“…architects often say the possibilities of a building lie in its limitations, and architect Norman Foster was drawn to the challenge of designing what is essentially a vertical art gallery on New York City’s former skid row, a landscape dominated by restaurant supply stores. The building, at 257 Bowery, just south of Houston Street and one block away from the New Museum of Contemporary Art, will be the new Lower East Side home for Sperone Westwater. The gallery, now on West 13th Street in the West Village, represents artists like Bruce Nauman, Richard Long, Guillermo Kuitca and William Wegman. At its new address it will rise eight stories on a site of just 25 by 100 feet.”

Mr. Foster said, “it’s a case of the constraints finally becoming the inspiration.”

– Architect’s Challenge: A Sliver of a Space by Robin Pogrebin, October 20, 2009, The New York Times (registration required)

i-models tackle collaboration in project review

Monday, October 19th, 2009

At the Bentley Be Inspired Symposium last week, one of the announcements was the soon-to-be-released ProjectWise Navigator V8i (SELECTseries 1), dynamic collaboration software for iterative project review. According to press materials, this new version of ProjectWise Navigator can be used by infrastructure teams to interactively view, analyze, and augment project information.

What will make this process dynamic so there can be bi-directional feedback for team participants, is the inclusion of a new product, i-models.

i-models are said to be “a new infrastructure currency for open information exchange.” As I understand it, the i-Model is a container that can hold an entire 3D model, a revision history and tracking of where the information comes from (what Bentley terms “provenance,” and can be exported to those who need to see this information or series of files. The author can embed access rights into the model, support digital signatures and take measurements or extract information from this information. It cannot be changed, but notes can be attached to it. It is a .dgn file, but it has the capability of bringing in other material such as Revit files using the previously released Revit plug-in. It honors all file formats (or will, once Bentley develops individual plug ins for it) and standards such as ISO 15926, IFCs, XML.

Press members asked, why do we need another format? The i-Model is not really another format, it’s another way to share information with team members or other stakeholders. Similar to a zip file, when you open it you can see its contents. It will be particularly useful for plant and process and other large-scope projects with multiple and diverse processes.

The other big question is, how big is it? In comparison with a regular model file, perhaps a BIM file, the i-Model would be at a ratio of 10 to 1. It will contain all accurate geometry, but will do away with anything extraneous or redundant. I’m not sure how it makes this decision.

The i-Model capability will be part and parcel of the next release of ProjectWise Navigator and Composer which will ship in October 2009.

Integrated Project Delivery – is it possible?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

At the Bentley Be Inspired: Infrastructure Best Practices Symposium and Awards in Charlotte, NC this past week, an Executive Roundtable discussion included Bentley customers, employees and the press in what turned out to be a discussion of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and what that means to different stakeholders.

One participant said Integrated Project Delivery “doesn’t make it” outside the U.S. Another said that legality and risk make it “difficult” to do IPD. Someone offered that structural engineers are able to do IPD more easily.

The hope among some was that as BIM is better understood, then the BIM model will be relied upon for accuracy. But BIM really asks architects to be as rigid as engineers, and one participant said “architects aren’t usually that explicit.”

This topic was addressed in the AECWeekly article, The Road to AEC Project Execution Success, which drew from a study contracted by software company Newforma, and written by Bruce Jenkins, principal of Spar Point Research.

The study entitled “Mitigating Risk in AEC Project Execution: Perspectives from Principals, Counsel and Insurers,” took a fresh look at the industry from three stakeholder viewpoints.

AECCafe at Bentley Be Inspired

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Bentley is holding a new event, the Bentley Be Inspired Infrastructure Symposium, in Charlotte, North Carolina this coming week. The event will showcase the Bentley BE Awards which are usually announced at the annual BE Conference, which was not held this year. This year, the awards ceremony is by invitation only and will also give attendees the opportunity to speak with finalists in executive roundtable settings.

I’ll be in Charlotte Monday through Wednesday of next week and will be reporting from there.

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