Techne: Thinking Microclimates

Mapping conditions and occupant preferences and behaviors to create a thermal model, Image via www.cbe.berkeley.edu

Working in a large space, at work or at school, makes one extremely sensitive to the idea of microclimates. Whether there is a skylight or window that uncomfortably irradiates the immediately surrounding area, or if there is a thermostat that just can’t be set warm enough, everyone has experienced the discomfort of the unadjustable microclimate. It’s not unusual, though it might be a bit disturbing, to see a co-worker swathed in a blanket (I’m not making that up, unfortunately), or a foot-heater discreetly tucked under a desk. Or you might be one of the unlucky persons either stuck under the artful skylight or near a south-facing, floor-to-ceiling window. That’s because most office spaces are designed for a uniform, master-control HVAC system.

It’s important not to confuse the availability of different technologies with widespread, institutionalized use because to do so is to conflate two very different issues. So while this technology may have been around in bits and pieces, it has yet to be combined into comprehensive tools. And as for implementation, many in the architecture industry have experienced the resistance to both passive and advanced energy efficient technologies. (more…)

New App Connects iPad to 3D Software Programs

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Maide Inc. recently released an app that controls 3D programs over the wifi network from the iPad. The app now works with Maya, 3DS Max, , Rhino and Solidworks (Beta). The company is just one step closer to controlling all CAD software through multi-touch applications. Check out the video above for a demo on the app.

Affinity Plug-in for SketchUp

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When architects use Pro as a tool for making more-accurate bubble diagrams, they create “rooms” whose areas match the ones in the program, group each one, and arrange them three-dimensionally. This is useful until one of the rooms changes size, which can throw off the whole process.

That’s where the SketchUp interoperability in Trelligence Affinity comes in. Affinity is Windows software made specifically for the architectural programming and schematic design phases. It includes neat tools for visualizing program information in different ways and using that information to guide your design. The new Affinity plug-in for SketchUp lets you easily connect your shoebox model to Affinity, creating a permanent connection between the model, the spreadsheet and all the underlying data about the building requirements.

 

Digital Fabrication / SketchChair

SketchChair, Process Diagram

has been a popular discussion among architecture and design professionals. Students are digitally fabricating their models and building their own personalized 3D printers. What was impossible to build by hand is quickly assembled through digital fabrication. As the technology rapidly evolves, larger objects are being fabricated at more affordable prices. Today we may be digitally fabricating furniture and tomorrow we might be 3D printing our house. Architects and designers are jumping on board and exploring the capabilities of this game changing technology.

Diatom Studio is currently working on releasing SketchChair. This program offers easy to use, open-source software that allows you to design your own personalized digital furniture. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can view your masterpiece and digitally occupy it in order to test its comfort level and structural capabilities. Options range from personalized ready-made designs to more advanced features that allow you to design your chair from scratch.

Satisfied with your design? Perfect. The SketchChair allows you to export your masterpiece to any digital-fabrication service instantly. In a matter of days, you will receive your customized CNC-milled plywood parts for quick hand construction. Digital fabrication is changing the world of design and becoming available to the masses.

GRAPHISOFT BIMx™ for iPad/iPhone

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GRAPHISOFT recently released an innovative, interactive BIM communication tool for architects. The add-on for ArchiCAD 15, BIMx, is an easy-to-use mobile design demonstration tool for exploring, communicating and sharing building concepts.

Through BIMx, 15 users gain unprecedented ability to share entire BIM models with anyone through an interactive community on Facebook or through iOS devices. BIMx demonstrations can be executed on a desktop computer or laptop as well. More information and some images after the break. (more…)

Autodesk Project Vasari 2.1

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Autodesk recently released their Project Vasari 2.1, an easy-to-use, expressive design tool for creating building concepts. Vasari goes further, with integrated analysis for energy and carbon, providing design insight where the most important design decisions are made. And, when it’s time to move the design to production, simply bring your Project Vasari design data into the Revit platform for BIM, ensuring clear execution of design intent.

Project Vasari is focused on conceptual building design using both geometric and parametric modeling. It supports performance-based design via integrated energy modeling and analysis features. This new technology preview is now available as a free download and trial on Autodesk Labs. More videos and information on the software after the break. (more…)

ArchiCAD BIM Provides Competitive Edge for Conceptual Design

Sahana Tower - Orcutt|Winslow

Phoenix-based Orcutt|Winslow (O|W) has been hired to design a verdant, green residential tower that will soar into the sky above , India. The project, currently in a conceptual phase, addresses India’s burgeoning housing demand by creating an alternative to ’s densely-packed extensive horizontal communities, which have erased the once-lush tropical landscape. Embracing a trend toward vertical development, the design provides opportunities to re- introduce nature at the ground plane and improve the quality of life for residents. Offering breathtaking views of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to one side, as well as panoramic views of the city, Sahana Pride at Sion encompasses a challenging and compact footprint. O|W focused the building design on allowing residents to reconnect with nature, despite being located in the center of a bustling city such as . Rising from a strong base, surrounded with vegetation, the proposed building expands to provide a wide range of activity spaces. (more…)

GRAPHISOFT BIMx™: The Latest GRAPHISOFT Innovation for the iPad/iPhone

Courtesy of

Our sponsor GRAPHISOFT recently launched their new mobile device, called GRAPHISOFT BIMx™, which is their latest innovation for the iPad/iPhone. The development makes BIMx an interactive environment with game-like navigation, available to anyone, even those that do not hold a license of the professional authoring software in which the building model was originally created.

BIMx models can be viewed on the iPad/iPhone through a purpose-built app directly linked to the BIMx community for “social” model sharing on Facebook.

More information on their innovative product after the break. (more…)

Welcome Wacom’s new Inkling Digital Pen

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Wacom’s new Inkling Digital Pen is bridging the gap between sketching by hand and drawing on the computer.  The technology allows you to sketch anywhere on paper with a pressure sensitive pens, that can pick up 1024 levels of sensitivity and an electronic receiver that clips onto the drawing medium.  The information is stored onto the device, which has room for up to 50 projects and can then be transferred via a USB connection as digital media to a computer.

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Practice 2.0: BIM Myths and Building Truths

Construction Coordination Model / Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects / Image courtesy of CASE

By Steve Sanderson

My inbox was hit recently by a couple of posts painting a bleak picture of the impact of BIM on the AECO industry. Thoughtful and objective criticism of BIM is helpful and necessary to counter vendor marketing overreach and fanboy zealotry. Unfortunately the criticisms I read are neither thoughtful nor objective. Instead they rely on sensationalist titles, sources outside of the building industry, and nonexistent relationships between cause-and-effect.

The first, A Cautionary Digital Tale of Virtual Design and Construction published in Engineering News-Record (ENR), describes the construction of an undisclosed building at an undisclosed university that resulted in an undisclosed contractor suing the undisclosed owner, who then sued an undisclosed architect, who brought an undisclosed MEP engineer into the mix. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount by an insurance company. Tellingly, a VP at the insurance company is the only source for the article. The point seems to be that if you use BIM you could be sued. (more…)

Autodesk announces AutoCAD 2012 for Mac

Today Autodesk announced AutoCAD 2012 for Mac OSX, offering native support for Mac OSX Lion, and AutoCAD WS for Mac (the cloud/mobile solution for CAD drawings).

Autodesk also announced AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac, available for immediate download at the App Store (US$899.99).

The new portfolio of AutoCAD products for Mac expands options for millions of users of the popular design, documentation and collaboration software. AutoCAD 2012 for Mac was built specifically for OS X Lion and helps users create stunning designs on their platform of choice. AutoCAD LT for Mac enables users to document designs, optimize workflow and collaborate with colleagues and clients. for Mac enables users to view and collaborate on DWG files through the Mac interface. In addition, users can plot DWG files to PDF or DWF formats and sync with their cloud-based account, making files accessible from their mobile app. AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac and for Mac are available exclusively in the Mac App Store.

More images after the break:

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Mac OSX Lion and CAD software

Mac OSX Lion screen capture

Yesterday released the latest version of their operative system: Mac OS X Lion. I started using it yesterday and it works like a charm on my Macbook. At a first glance, there’s a lot of focus on handling all  your applications thanks to features like Mission Control (an improved view of everything running on your computer) and Launchpad (a new way to organize your apps). Other interesting feature is Airdrop, which will allow you to easily share files with your co-workers. There is also a lot of focus on security, back up, system recovery and versions of files, that I know will be very useful for architects.

But what about the software we architects use on a daily basis? A word of advice before you upgrade:

Disclaimer: Graphisoft is the sponsor of our Software section.

Australia’s 1st completed Building Information Modelling (BIM) High Rise wins more awards

Courtesy of Investa / Photographer: Gerrit Fokkema

Coca-Cola Place (previously known as ARK) has won the Property Council’s NSW Development of the year. This award is the equivalent of the “Oscars” for the property industry in and is yet another for this 21-level iconic building north of , New South Wales in .

The Property Council’s Innovation and Excellence Awards is the pre-eminent property industry program in Australia. The annual awards celebrate the achievements of the sector’s finest professionals and companies.

Integrated into North Sydney’s heritage precinct, the form of Coca-Cola Place breaks boundaries, challenges traditions and sets new design benchmarks. It was conceived as a set of layered elements which responds to the grain of the Heritage Street, natural environment, public domain, and city skyline. Completed in 2010, it was conceived, designed, documented and built using Building Information Modelling (BIM).

More about it after the break. (more…)

Classics modeled with ArchiCAD15

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Last week we told you about ArchiCAD 15, Graphisoft’s latest version of its premium design software for architects. Although you can see many videos showing the new features of the software, it’s great to see some projects modeled with ArchiCAD 15. Specially if we can see some of the projects we have featured in our AD Classics section, like SOM’s USAFA Cadet Chapel or William Van Alen’s Chrysler Building. Check the other two videos after the break. (more…)

Graphisoft ArchiCAD 15

Last week, we attended the AIA 2011 National Convention in New Orleans, where Graphisoft presented ArchiCAD 15, the latest version of its premium design software for architects. 15 enriches architectural forms available for designers to unleash their creative minds. The new version also expands the scope of the BIM workflow to include renovation & refurbishment projects.

The evolution of forms has always walked hand-in-hand with the evolution of structures. From the simplest barrel vaults to the most sophisticated rib vaults, the architect has always aspired to combine durability, utility and beauty (Vitruvius). These very principles can be seen in the finest examples of modern architecture as well. ArchiCAD 15 expands the design capabilities of its BIM tools, including new Shell structures, to support the broadest spectrum of architectural shapes and forms found in both classical and modern architecture.

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- ArchiCAD introduces the new Shell tool – enabling designers to unleash their creative minds and to create enriches architectural forms.

More features after the break. (more…)

Practice 2.0: BIM is an opportunity, not a problem

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnagrayson/195244498/sizes/z/in/photostream/

by David Fano

is a regular series of posts guest authored by CASE (@case_inc), focusing on technology and innovation in the building industry.

At CASE my efforts focus on the strategic implementation of new technology, software development and learning. As a regular contributor to ArchDaily, I hope to touch on how firms of all sizes are dealing with change and how I think embracing new technologies will enable new forms of practice and create opportunities. If there is interest, I can also chime in on how to start a consulting firm and alternative forms of practice in the building industry.

I give a lot of presentations on BIM. Understandably, there is a certain level of anxiety that comes along with any new process. But I’m frequently confronted with the same set of fears, which really have no solid footing in reality. In this article, I would like to address those fears and in the process debunk three commonly held myths about BIM: that a firm’s size should be the deciding factor in whether or not to implement BIM; that the size and type of project limit opportunities for BIM; and that BIM requires a wholesale change of tools and processes. BIM adoption is making its way through the industry at an amazing pace and I hope to ease some of the unrest around taking the plunge and point out where we can capitalize on the value it provides.

More after the break. (more…)

UK’s Moonstone Project Achieves Zero Carbon Rating with ArchiCAD

Moonstone Project, designed using

The award-winning Moonstone Project, designed using ’s ArchiCAD BIM software, is one of the UK’s best performing houses, exceeding the UK’s Code 6 Sustainable Homes Guide; the house also exceeds the German ‘Passivhaus’ top standard for energy efficiency by over 65%.

Developer John Croft had a dream to build his own home in the idyllic setting of the Cotswolds. It took a few years, a lot of patience, research, and work to make this home the best it could be. At 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters), with a third of its structure underground, Moonstone meets a zero carbon footprint – an incredible accomplishment considering the house is 21 times larger than the average UK home. The house literally needs no energy as it was designed to meet, or exceed, the very highest environmental standards, while providing a beautiful and practical family home.

More after the break. (more…)

DA|AD: Not Your Father’s Architecture Firm

Courtesy of &

The Lighthouse Christian School (LCS) was a beacon of goodwill even after a deluge washed away its pre-school in May 2010. Although few had lost more than the school community, LCS leaders hung a banner amid the ruins that read, “Southeast Nashville Recovery. How can we help?”

“At their time of greatest need, the LCS community was helping other flood victims rebuild their homes, so it was an easy decision, an honor actually, for us to give them a hand,” says architect John Abernathy, founding partner at DA|AD of Nashville. Abernathy and his firm were recruited to design and oversee the pre-school building’s resurrection, featured on the popular US TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

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