There are many ways that the architecture profession has lead the way in environmentally friendly design - but when it comes to the process of creating buildings themselves, the industry works its way through huge amounts of paper. Frank Gehry, through his offshoot technology company Gehry Technologies, is aiming to change that.
The company has recently announced that its GTeam software, which has so far been available for less than a year, will now make use of Box, a cloud based storage system that is well suited to large files associated with complex 3D models that are often required in designing buildings.
Read more about Gehry Technology's new software collaboration after the break
The GTeam software was used and developed during the design of the New York by Gehry skyscraper, and Gehry credits it with keeping the project budget under control: the number of alterations required due to unforeseen errors on the 76-story building was just eight, compared with hundreds that would be normal for a project of a similar size designed using less advanced methods. "Because nobody could see them in the two dimensional world, by taking them into 3-D, you have the opportunity to avoid these clashes,” the architect told Wired Magazine. “Those amount to considerable savings in the construction process.”
Gehry hopes that this increased efficiency can show an alternative, less wasteful way to produce architecture. Currently the sharing of designs between the architects, construction team and authorities is usually done with paper, but Gehry's successful experiments to cut paper out of this process (where he was allowed) is a step in the right direction. "My dream is to do buildings paperless. And it can be done", he says.
The new collaboration with the storage system Box will facilitate this sharing between different sectors of the industry. Before downloading files, users are able to view a rendering to make sure that they are getting the right file, and the system keeps track of all changes to the files, providing information on who has edited a file, when, and what they have changed. What's more, the GTeam software is designed to work with other modelling programs, with the ability to incorporate files made in Autodesk and Rhino software meaning that different companies can be brought together at any time, regardless of the software package they had been using.
In some circles, Frank Gehry is as well known for his company's software innovation as he is for the dramatic forms of his buildings; one of the first major projects of Gehry Technologies was to make use of CATIA, a software system mainly used by the aerospace industry. The development of GTeam, and now the collaboration with Box, should keep the company at the forefront of digital innovation for some time to come.