When asked where they find inspiration, artists have a variety of responses from nature to other artists. Architects and engineers are no different. Creators often find inspiration in nature (as we’ll see from some of the wood construction) and from other creators and the way they utilize, capitalize on, and experiment with the tools given to them.
That’s why we’re taking a moment to explore and appreciate some of the most innovative and, pardon the pun, groundbreaking building designs we’ve seen. In looking at what is capable with Autodesk tools and BIM technology, we hope you’ll be moved to learn more about its capabilities and how it can revolutionize your own designs or design ideas.
What is BIM?
BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. It’s a process by which designers, architects, and engineers can digitally build and manipulate structures. Through the use of software, such as Autodesk, BIM technology enables Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (AEC) teams to create, share, and modify digital models of their projects, in the cloud, where they can collaborate on decisions impacting the structure itself.
More specifically, BIM revolutionizes the design space by taking 2D hand-drawn images and enabling users to use 3D designs that also include information about geographical information, building materials (and sustainability), and other assets (structures). Teams can then modify designs as they move through all phases of the project, and more data is entered regarding structural needs. This information then extends into the life of the building should modifications need to be made or issues addressed in everything from structure to engineering.
What BIM Tools Does Autodesk Offer?
In 2002, Autodesk’s whitepaper “Building Information Modeling” essentially heralded the industry acceptance of BIM as a term to define the process rather than a product. For that reason, it’s important to understand that across different vendors, BIM tools may include vendor specific assets and data files that may not integrate with other applications.
Autodesk itself offers a full suite of BIM applications which are currently under two different umbrellas.
As a standalone product, BIM 360 is designed to allow all team members to communicate, share, and collaborate on all facets of a building’s design throughout all phases of the project. It’s basic level includes BIM Docs for that reason. However, users may wish to, and can, add on the following applications for additional functionality:
BIM 360 Design- Used by architects and engineers for design, drafting, and editing
BIM 360 Coordinate- Used by virtual design and construction managers to coordinate aspects of the design and run clash analysis tests to verify its feasibility
BIM 360 Build- Enables coordination of all aspects of project management and construction administration in one cloud location
Autodesk Construction Cloud
With the acquisition of Plangrid, Assemble, Building Connected, and Pype, expect some changes to the Autodesk universe. Those changes include the unification of Autodesk’s construction tools under one platform that brings Plangrid and BIM 360 together.
The nomenclature for some of the legacy BIM 360 products, along with continued entitlements, was absorbed by the naming conventions in the new unified platform.
BIM Docs- Autodesk Docs
BIM 360 Design – Autodesk BIM Collaborate PRO
BIM 360 Coordinate – Autodesk BIM Collaborate
BIM 360 BUILD + Plangrid – Autodesk BUILD
Autodesk Takeoff will also be included for construction estimators looking to improve their qualifications process.
As with many Autodesk offerings, there’s evolution here, particularly with the new acquisitions, but the overarching goal is to offer users the most robust applications for design, building, and construction on the market. It’s the type of software that allows some amazing creations.
5 Amazing Autodesk/BIM Buildings and Projects
We likely don’t have to think too hard to come up with a building or a structure that, to this day, people still wonder about its construction or design. In contrast, some modern architecture, engineering, and construction marvels can be traced directly back to tools provided by Autodesk software and BIM technology.
Cathedral construction, the likes of which we see on buildings such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and Notre Dame in Paris, have long stood as testaments to what humans can build with time, dedication, and craftsmanship. However, in the modern age, the tools are just a bit different.
After it was nearly ruined in an earthquake, much like Notre Dame was nearly lost to fire, engineers, architects, and designers are looking at how modern digital tools can help them restore both cathedrals to their previous glory.
In fact, Autodesk and its BIM tools will enable them to:
- Identify structural weaknesses before work begins
- Determine which areas require reinforcement, rebuilding, or reinstatement
- Plan for structural stabilization to secure the structure
- Design and construct new buildings to add the cathedral’s grounds
At 102 stories, New York’s Empire State Building was the first “skyscraper” to exceed 100 floors and in 1930, it was quite the marvel. It’s still a marvel in many ways as it rose 4.5 stories a week to be completed in a year and 45 days. In contrast, the Shanghai Tower, at 128 stories, took nearly 7 years to complete.
However, the Empire State Building had just one local firm rather than the 7 global teams working on the Shanghai Tower. While each building had logistical challenges to overcome, BIM technology and Autodesk ensured that those working on the Shanghai Tower were able to:
- Coordinate 7 worldwide teams and 50 local team members
- Create a complex structure that features “nine cylindrical buildings stacked on top of one another, all enclosed by a circular inner curtain wall and a triangular facade enveloping the entire structure.”
- Reduce construction material use by 32%
- Create a LEED certified, energy efficient skyscraper with its own wind farm and geothermal system as well as rainwater recovery and gray water recycling.
- Revit allowed a full glare analysis assessing the tower’s impact on the city
When it comes to making fine jewelry and watches, Bulgari knows history, precision and style. It’s why their factory needed to be a reflection of those qualities as well. When we consider that the factory was also slated to be built on the same land where, in 1817, Goldsmith Francesco Caramora’s skills established him, and the town, as the epicenter of gold design work, it was essential that the project adhered to standards that would maintain the cultural site.
Other important design factors that presented unique challenges to the project included the need for intense security to protect the product and trade secrets. Given the requirements of this particular project, Autodesk and BIM were able to help the team:
- Create aluminum panels preventing outsiders from seeing in, but maintaining views from the interior.
- Providing secure workspaces while facilitating outdoor access for employees required to be onsite all day
- Creating a visual stunning space that was also a working manufacturing floor with highly technical specifications
- Build the largest, 14,000 sq foot, jewelry factory in Europe while ensuring it was sustainable and LEED certified
When you’re looking to construct a building that will act not as a formal collection of objects as museums typically do, but to design a space that reflects the creation and innovation occurring within its walls, you need the right tools to bring specific and detailed visions to fruition. That’s precisely what happened with the teams working on the Museum of the Future in the United Arab Emirates.
While design specifications, both interior and exterior, needed to accommodate varied utilizations and cultural values, the building itself was expected to be a showcase and invitation for innovation in UAE’s largest city. Further, the demands required that the building also represent the region’s respect for art, design, engineering, and the riches of the landscape. It’s why the design is so intricate and complicated and why it could not have been completed without Autodesk’s tools which enabled:
- 4D design required to prove buildability given the unique structure
- Clash analysis was essential in determining feasibility for design elements
- Facilitated intense collaboration between designers, architects, and engineers
- Functional design elements (freestanding stairways) that contribute to the overall aesthetic
- A building that pushes the limits of design, beauty, and functionality that also reflects its purpose
I’d like raise a glass for this design! In a region (Napa) that celebrates all the things (okay, mostly one thing) the Earth gives us, one of the primary goals of this new construction was to rebuild with sustainability at the forefront. In 2006, the winery was decimated by fire. When faced with difficult decisions, the family-owned business decided to rebuild and re-envision how the winery worked with the landscape, the environment, and their overall goals for being a leader in the viticultural community.
The Duncan family was able to express their values to the designers, engineers and architects who, with the use of the Autodesk suite of software, was able to do the following:
- Utilize solar power, LED lighting, and a water-filtration system to put them on track for LEED Platinum certification (only the 2nd winery to do so)
- Help Silver Oak become the first winery ever to earn 7 petals in the Living Building Challenge
- Incorporate reused Redwood in the exterior
- Align needed plumbing and catwalks with building aesthetics
- Harness solar thermal energy to provide heat to central hot water heater
- Through Revit, identify potential conflicts and challenges that would negatively impact bottom line
If you’re looking for the tools, the techniques, the training, or just some help with inspiration, the TPM Team is here and ready to help you get the most out of your Autodesk experience. Get in touch with us today!