When Is the Right Time to Change Your Design Technology?

Archicad offers a comprehensive 3D design platform that supports creativity, enables visualization, and fosters collaboration—allowing firms to tap into design freedom while improving efficiency and productivity.

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Kaa Augmentedreality

Los Angeles-based firm KAA experiments with a live Archicad model in augmented reality. Courtesy Graphisoft

Does your current technology platform meet all needs? To answer this question, firms of any size must evaluate their design process and workflow. First, examine projects already in the pipeline to determine areas to streamline. Is the creative process supported or thwarted? How does the firm’s chosen platform respond to project changes mid-stream? Can the platform scale, depending on the size of the project? A candid review of your firm’s platform as it relates to productivity, innovation and value may help you see that temporary disruption will be worth it in the long run.

To produce innovative, high quality work, firms need technology that is reliable, affordable and keeps pace with the industry. Archicad from Graphisoft makes it possible in a single solution. “Many firms have models and various pieces of software, all they’ve done is digitized the inefficiency,” says Joseph Vance of Joseph Vance Architects in New York City. Like an increasing number of design firms large and small, Vance relies on a Building Information Modelling (BIM) solution, namely Archicad, that allows his team to work on a single platform and, by extension, work more efficiently.

By Design is a series of videos produced by Graphisoft in which architects and designers discuss their experiences with Archicad and its importance to their work. It’s one of several ways the software company is working to engage with the AEC community on the subject of design technology.

With a fully integrated technology platform like Archicad, designers are developing new workflows based on BIM that entirely take place in one program. Instead of sketches, a model, a set of schematic drawings, and a set of construction drawings, designers create in the 3D model so it’s always up to date for all stakeholders. “You’re building the building in the computer before you build it in real life,” explains Christopher Lee, principal of firm Design Associates Architects in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Archicad further reduces the need for additional design software when it comes to ideation, initial sketches, or communicating the design to clients. Working in a single platform that does so much allows for workflow flexibility. Blaire McPherson, cofounder of Studio Como in Los Angeles, relates, “Whether we’re rendering within Archicad, going straight to BIMx, or using Twinmotion [to create immersive VR renderings], when I saw that there was a way, so easily, to put the client in their project and put the project in their hands, it was really exciting.”

Aidea Vrcave

Manila-based firm AIDEA presents an Archicad model in their in-house VR cave. Courtesy Graphisoft

Once you have your model — one that’s communicated your design intent with clients from the first concept — Archicad greatly simplifies the production of reliable construction documents. Patrick Bird, principal of Riverstone Structural Concepts, a structural engineering firm in Boise, Idaho, emphasizes the value of using a shared model with the architect to enable true collaboration. According to Patrick, “With Archicad, we’re able to work in the same model, we’re able to communicate through the model, our elements are their elements… if we move a beam, their cut automatically updates. Which is amazing.”

The pressure on architecture, design and engineering firms to do more with less has never been greater as projects grow in complexity, client demands intensify, and design budgets seem to shrink. Today, designers need an innovative and reliable technology platform to keep pace with an ever more competitive field. Changing platforms is a big step, but one that can lead to far greater productivity, innovation, accuracy and profitability in the long run.

Yates Biminfield

Mississippi-based construction giant Yates Construction uses BIMx in the field to verify the accuracy of a subcontractor’s work. Courtesy Graphisoft

Categories: Architecture, Sponsored