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Building Information Modeling BIM in Current and Future Practice by Karen M. Kensek and Douglas Noble, FAIA, Ph.D. | PDF Free Download.
No one denies that architecture directly addresses crucially important realms, as we are reminded in discussions of sustainability, various forms of public health, and safety.
It has a direct role in dealing with human comfort and well-being. It has huge impacts on energy, water, and resource needs, and later with refuse.
Yet here in the United States, only tertiary attention to the science and systematic development of knowledge in these domains is undertaken by schools of architecture.
They rather tend to focus on the composition of form and space as the assemblers and composers of products and technologies.
The technologies dealing with resources, energy, and most aspects of well-being generally have been picked up, developed, and applied by other professions, usually within engineering including structural, energy, acoustical, and other types of phenomena.
As a result, architecture has the primary responsibility for a declining range of issues and decisions within the construction industry. The explanation for this observable trend is liability and risk.
Another may be the traditional size of firms offering architectural services. They do not have the scale needed to support this range of services, although consulting firms, often manned with architects, do offer these services.
Is this a premonition for the development and use of BIM in architecture? Will it be outsourced to consultants, like CAD services have been, to satisfy contractual requirements? Is it a tool mainly for contractors? University schools of architecture are the training ground for future architects.
How is BIM being accepted in the universities? It was my hope and I think the hopes of other early developers of parametric modeling of buildings the earlier, more general name of systems before the acronym BIM was conceived that parametric modeling of buildings would provide the leverage to re-capture the issues dwindling from the profession’s grasp.
BIM was thought to facilitate and integrate an assessment of functionality, performance, and increasing complexity to give architects better technology to integrate these new aspects into the design with those already integrated regarding the more subjective social well-being and aesthetics.
It was hoped that future architects would consider all these central issues within the field. This book serves as an early milestone for examining the status of the BIM endeavor in the universities.
From this viewpoint, it can also be used to assess other perspectives dealing with the interaction of social values and technology in design.
It offers an implicit review of the relation of architecture to the new technological environment of modern society. With twenty-six chapters by a diverse set of mostly North American authors, the volume offers a good sense of current thinking in universities.
To date, the potential uses and impacts of BIM have only been partially explored. What will be the external impacts of new technologies, for example, having close to infinite computing power available everywhere, with integrated sensors increasingly leading toward smart buildings, and new smart materials, and tablet-based access?
How is architecture likely to evolve technology-wise as we move through the twenty-first century? There are several repeating themes in these chapters.
One deals with BIM’s ability to accelerate current design processes, through faster iteration cycles regarding structure, cost, lighting, air flows, costs, schedules, and other assessments, to realize close to real-time feedback. Faster design is not the end goal.
By making such feedback quickly, the experiential and systematic development leading to better alternatives, and integrating multiple evaluations leads to better design. Tracking the results, the client can see the value-added through design, generating better value for the client.
Multiple chapters discuss the expected richer set of services the BIM potentially offers building project clients/owners (Bernstein and Jezyk; Kalay, Schaumann, Hong, and Simeone; Trubiano; Goldman and Zarzycki).
Bernstein and Jezyk lay out the evolution path for BIM, based on these analysis/simulation cycles posed by other authors.
They point out the changes in the design process enabled by tightly coupled design and simulation/analysis, and the potential values and added benefits that can be offered by architecture when increasing dimensions of design are directly viewable and measurable.
The question is posed whether the architecture schools will rise to incorporate these ranges of intellectual contributions. One particular aspect received special attention regarding feedback: energy usage.
The chapters by Hemsath, Sanguinetti et al., Yan, and Donn offer methods for integrating both the automatic generation of zonal energy models and feedback for interpreting the many multidimensional data results.
A variety of design-supporting feedback options are proposed and prototyped. Energy considerations are not best unitized only at the level of the building; heat islands and energy recovery schemes from high-heat generating buildings suggest that neighborhoods and urban zones provide important units of analysis and energy system designs.
Some of the approaches are reviewed in the chapter by Baird, Ramesh, Johnstone, Lam. Kalay et al. provide an important critique of current BIM models, regarding their limited ability to represent functional, behavior, comfort, and other essential aspects of building space.
Their critique suggests several paths for research and innovation. Akin’s chapter lays out a different set of research and development areas, dealing with interoperability and further improving BIM’s basic usability and facilitation of collaboration.
There seems to be broad recognition that architectural design will have an increasingly strong analytical base. There is a professional need to develop market differentiation to support these services.
A variety of organizational structures (in-house departments, consultants) will support these knowledge areas.
Another theme is the benefits of customizing BIM tools for special problems, and to provide unique services.
While custom design styles and materials are one path (Beorkrem), Burry lays out the need and context for metaBIM, where design innovation leads to the customization of the tool, and the designs are co-developed more or less in parallel.
The results are outlined in the astounding Sala Creuer above the nave of Sagrada Familia, now being constructed.
Embedding enhanced design expertise is another theme. Sheward and Eastman offer two examples of embedding design expertise into BIM environments: automated conceptual level layout of high-rise building cores and air-handling equipment in laboratory buildings to gain instant feedback of laboratory building layouts from this major energy perspective.
The design firm CASE (chapter by Davis and Miller) examines different kinds of analytics applied to BIM models and develops “dashboard” types of feedback for use during design. These include analytics at the design project scale, regarding productivity, number of revisions, and other project data. They develop methods of workflow integration.
Other firms are providing similar services. This is a step recognizing, like Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), that processes are crucial determinants in product success.
As a business, architecture provides a service that has been licensed since the early days of the last century.
Predominantly composed of small partnerships, the AIA had until recently ethical covenants prohibiting financial involvement in projects, advertising, and delimited the services that could be offered.
Only in the last 40 years have these culturally defined limitations been partially removed. Today, architecture has as its core service the production of a set of drawings, sufficient for civic governmental approval (code check), and for construction bidding on the project.
The AIA contract forms provide variations on these roles for other forms of project delivery. Bid documents have always been incomplete, with major references to standards of practice, which have been accepted in construction law.
BIM addresses many of these issues and in some areas challenges them. They all add to the complexity of fully integrating BIM into current practices.
It forces recognition of the design intent level of modeling as distinguished from the means-and-methods level of fabrication models.
There is growing recognition that the recognized collaboration benefits of BIM are also reducing the scope of value-adding services at the fabrication level. Hartmann's chapter airs these concerns while also addressing the issue of one BIM versus many (also Johnson and Kensek).
BIM allows addressing new areas of focus. A primary objective of the architectural design is the design and composition of space.
Spaces were only represented diagrammatically until recently. Hagan presents an insightful review of the explicit representation of space and the role of GSA in its development.
BIM tools still do not facilitate the full modeling of a space with its surfaces fully apparent for review. Krishnamurti, Toulkeridou, and Biswas examine the development of topological structures for representing systems, including circulation systems, in IFC models. Ahrens and Sprecher describe how the immense potential of sensor data might be used aesthetically as well as analytically to enhance building experience.
They rightly point out the uncertainty associated with computational simulations. Deamer provides a valuable perspective on the role of BIM managers within architectural offices, using information from BIM managers themselves.
Her chapter offers advice on the nature of the work, its rewards, and frustrations. Gu, Singh, and London address BIM project and office management at a more operational level. Martens and Peter report on an important issue for the future: archival data and its maintenance.
Akin emphasizes the cognitive challenge required to address the new complex and detailed information required for the full deployment of BIM technologies.
I would also note, in addition to his insights, the great facilitation that 3D modeling provides as a more direct link to cognitive experience.
It is replacing the arcane notations embedded in traditional architectural drawings and the manual mapping and management costs of generating and maintaining 3D renderings. Other authors (Gu, Singh, and London; Clayton; Paranandi; Kam; Davis and Miller) provide their insights on the nature of BIM.
To summarize, this volume provides strong indications that the integrative and rich simulation capabilities offered by BIM are being adopted, further developed, and integrated into architectural education.
The topics addressed in the volume offer strong agreement and support with the new capabilities emerging almost monthly, some based on work produced by the authors of this volume. We can expect to see integrated analysis/simulation tools foremost for energy, lighting, and comfort, but also for costs and various forms of human activity and emergencies.
Architectural practice and the schools will be moving strongly into a data-rich design environment. It is apparent that BIM practice, although already different from earlier forms of CAD-based architectural practice, is certain to undergo additional changes that will continue to improve our ability to build sustainably and to build more effectively, creatively, and economically.
The demand for customization is already apparent in the BIM community; it is a growing need. Some firms are already selecting BIM platforms based on the need to be able to customize and extend the object classes, to better control parametric behavior, and to integrate different simulation/analysis tools.
The tying into generative plug-ins and with performance application interfaces will become more visible priorities in offices that are interested in supporting new market capabilities and differentiation.
Architecture has an exciting future. This volume provides a good roadmap of where we are going, in the schools, and in practice. Written by BIM leaders, the agenda defined here will depend on the leadership of the authors and their advocates in practice and university administration.
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