Organic Architecture, Avant Garde

Organic Architecture, Avant Garde

organic architecture

Organic architecture is the new revolution to have taken over the architectural domain that marks avant-gardism in building construction. It does away with conventional geometric shapes and takes resort in free-flowing curves and natural forms.

After farming techniques went the organic way, architecture happens to follow suit. But don’t be scared of your living spaces being invaded by manure and scum. It isn’t also an anti ‘global warming’ movement to bring about a sustainable model of human existence.

Organic architecture is the new revolution to have taken over the architectural domain that marks avant-gardism in building construction. It does away with conventional geometric shapes and takes resort in free-flowing curves and natural forms.

Yesterday against Today and Tomorrow
The 20th century was marked by dominance in rectilinear and orthogonal design structures because the materialistic aspirations of the industrial age could only be fulfilled that ways. A little reflection would show how mechanical the entire process was. But, the new-age is marked by ‘a free style,’ which highlights beauty and harmony, through its curves and free-flowing forms that is more akin to the human body, mind and spirit. Such architecture enraptures the dwelling individuals and they not only feel better, but also freer and more expressive.

The Modern Manifestation
In this millennium, scientific explorations brought us a more holistic and organic picture of the universe. Thus, a craving for new forms of expression bearing semblance to nature’s diversity emerged. Buildings that resemble a breaking wave or a blooming flower will challenge the existing paradigm and sweepingly transform architecture and building design in the 21st century. The Opera House at Sydney harbor that resembles a boat’s sails and the spiral forms that resemble sea-shells at New York’s Guggenheim Museum are perfect manifestations of organic architecture.

The Driver of Change
Modern computing, information technology and the rapidly expanding computer-aided design (CAD), across all fields of architectural design, have helped architects in giving shape to their creative process. The latest three-dimensional BIM softwares have made it a breeze to design complex and sophisticated building structures. Curved forms like arches, domes, vaults, and spheres are not only stronger, but also more efficient and economical than their rectilinear counterparts. The radical transformation in building design is also putting a simultaneous ripple-effect on other design fields like furniture, lighting, textile design, landscape and interior design.

A Natural Art Form
Organic architecture puts a building in a continuous logarithmic spiral where open-space platforms are suspended from a central mast by cables. The spaces appear to float over each other as if defying gravity. Inspired by the natural symmetry and non-linearity found in nature and organisms, organic architecture is characterized by visual poetry and idiosyncrasy. And in tune, it embodies a harmony of person, place, and materials. 

Organic architecture oozes a surreal free-spirit and is surprising due to its multiple facets. A break-off from static symmetry for embracing the dynamic irregularities found in Nature. Reference architectural evangelist.

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4D construction simulation helps in delay monitoring.

4D construction simulation helps in delay monitoring

4d construction simulation

Being one of the largest and significant industries, Construction industry has a main role in determining the gross domestic product (GDP) of many several advanced countries. This unique industry exists in a dynamic environment and therefore itself it faces lots of changes, conflicts and complexity of communications, which will result in the delay and sometimes the failure of the project. Here comes the significance of BIM, as it can assist in creating a traditional delay analysis method. As this method is easy to perform and deliver its message, the problems between all involved parties can be solved earlier.

Understanding the benefits of BIM, several construction firms are now starting to invest in BIM technologies during all stages like preconstruction, bidding, construction and post construction. Therefore, owners need BIM service from everybody involved in a project including construction managers, architects and engineering firms.

“The article aims at understanding current applications of BIM in different disciplines and to comprehend how “Design to Build” and “Build to Design” concepts can be implemented along with focusing on 3D and 4D construction simulation.”

High level of communication and collaboration environment is the most advantageous of BIM. It can cover all aspects of a construction project by incorporating every parameter like time (4D) and cost (5D). AEC uses BIM services in several application areas such as photorealistic rendering, virtual design review, cost estimating, analyzing design alternatives, analyzing execution methodologies and project document production. A categorized framework has been established for eD/4D models areas of applications into three key phases such as design, shaping and construction.

Delay analysis using 4D simulations

Professionals and Forensic delay analysts must become more aware of the capabilities of 4D implementation in AEC industry, As-Built models should highlighted to industry.

Case Study: Delay monitoring through 4D construction simulation

Execution of multiple projects at the same time, and monitoring the progress of every project is intimidating. The project owners are very keen to use technology to assist them in monitoring progress remotely.

Monitoring delays in execution is another plus of BIM implementation that is achieved. Simulating the construction activity for planned and actual dates and highlighting these to the client and project team ensures that execution delays are minimal. The clients are able to monitor the execution remotely on multiple projects

The project plan (from Primavera) is linked with the BIM model. To the 3D model the 4th dimension of time is added and the construction simulation for every activity is generated. This linking is done initially for a base line project plan and routinely updated (every 2 weeks) for actual updates to the project plan. Using this, delays are highlighted, the construction sequence is corrected, thus achieving the goals of efficient resources and material management.

4d construction simulation

bim 4d and scheduling

4D  BIM and Scheduling (Time):

Construction planning and management: BIM models include tools for visual depiction of the space utilization of the job site through the entire project construction, which provide a means of verifying site logistics and yard operations. Several temporary components like Lorries, cranes and fencing can be included in the model. It can also incorporate the traffic access routes for cranes, Lorries, lifts and other large items.  Using the tools, we can also enhance the planning and monitoring of health and safety precautions required on-site, when the project progresses.

Schedule visualization: Schedule visualization provides multiple sources of accurate real-time information and using this, the project members can make sound decisions. A chart can be used in the BIM model to show the critical path. The chart also gives visual representation of the dependency of some sequences on others. Advanced BIM models can identify the changes in a design, which will influence the critical path, and indicate the possible corresponding impact of these changes on the overall delivery of the project.

A large project may have more than 100 activities at proposal and schematic stages. While the schedule activities are between 500 and 1000 during design development, it will range from 1000 to 10000 or more during construction document stage. So, it is important to make sure that no information is missing, when the project progresses to the construction document. Reference Bim forum.

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Flexible Ducting Graphics

Flexible Ducting Graphics

By default, we have eight graphical ways to show flexible ducting in Revit. We can either decide to use one graphic for all flexible ducting, or decide to use a specific graphic to distinguish between for example, Standard Flexible Ducting, Insulated Flexible Ducting, etc.

The images below will show what the graphics look like per flex duct instance property.

1. Flex Pattern: Single Line

Single Line
Single Line

2. Flex Pattern: Circle


3. Flex Pattern: Oval


4. Flex Pattern: Flex


5. Flex Pattern: Flex 2

Flex 2
Flex 2

6. Flex Pattern: Curve


 7. Flex Pattern: Single Line 45

Single Line 45
Single Line 45

 8. Flex Pattern: Undefined


Reference  Flexible Ducting Graphics by Herman Solomon.

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Can I get a witness? Autodesk to testify in Washington

Can I get a witness? Autodesk to testify in Washington


National leaders look to Autodesk Construction team for support and testimony

In just a few days, our very own Stacy Scopano, Sr. Industry Manager, Building Construction, will meet with members of the National Institute of Building Sciences (or NIBS as those in the know like to say).

The hearing, which is being sponsored by Autodesk and supported by the International Code Council, will provide an opportunity for project stakeholders from the planning, design, construction, operations, ownership, and other segments of the U.S. building industry to speak about the productivity and workforce challenges they face and offer potential solutions.

Building momentum

Autodesk’s involvement at the hearing came at the direct request of Ryan Colker, President Barack Obama’s Construction Advisor. Ryan and Stacy both serve on the Board of Directors for the NIBS Offsite Construction Council. Our participation ties in nicely with our overarching thought leadership efforts. Earlier in the year Stacy and colleagues on the construction marketing team helped to draft a survey that drove the publication of the well-received Economist report “Rethinking productivity across the construction industry: The challenge of change.”

To find out more about the NIBS hearing or read about the Off-site Construction Council visit the NIBS home page, or clickhere to read the Economist report. Reference Can I get a witness? Autodesk to testify in Washington by  Julie Jacobson.

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Model Compare

Model Compare

I have recently been asked by a client for the ability to compare different versions of the same model. When I was asked to do this I scratched my head ans said “Oookkk” not really know why and how I was going to do this.

When I started this I asked myself, why would we want to compare models?
-To show the power of BIM. (vague but an answer)
-To see what objects had been deleted in the model (getting a little more to the point)
-To see what objects had changed in the model (getting a little more to the point)
-To see what objects were new in the model (getting a little more to the point)
-To see if the model is following the office standards (Using compare to help with model QC, hmm)

In my research I came across this article written by David light. In this article he wrote back in 2009 he explained different ways to compare models. David talked about using the Autodesk Revit Model Compare add in tool, as well as using Autodesk’s Design Review, and using Adobe Acrobat. Even though the article was written about 6 years ago it is still applicable today in 2015, but now there are a few more process as well.  Today we can use Navis Works to compare models. See Navis works link to see how to do it. The Cad Technology Center (CTC) has a model compare tool which I recently talked a little about. CTC Revit Express Tools:Model Compare

Using Autodesk Design Review, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and or Blue Beam Revu all works the same way. These programs really aren’t comparing models they are comparing two different 2d documents. Don’t think I’m belittling this at all. Comparing the 2d information is extremely import. Having a program highlight and show you what has changed between different versions of the same documents saves a lot of time in finding the changes, good or bad.

Model Compare

CTC’s Model Compare and the Autodesk Model Compare tools are similar in how they work. Both programs look at the databases of multiple models and look for items that are different. CTC’s Model Compare takes a snapshot of the Revit Data base and puts it into a small XML like file, while Autodesk’s Model Compare requires you to open both version of the model to compare the models. Both the CTC and Autodesk Model Compare addin’s create reports that can be brought into Excel. These data centric reports have a lot of information, and generally a lot more information than I would generally use.

Model Compare

Within Navisworks there are two workflows to compare the models. The first method is to use the model compare function within Navis works that works like comparing 2d PDF’s,see  this Navis works link to see how to do it.. The other method is to overlay multiple models on top of one anther. One of the benefits of Navis works is that you can insert multiple files into the same Navis works project. This functionality allows you to insert different version of a model and overlay the models to see the difference graphically. One the different models are in the Navis works project you can change the color of an entire inserted model, not just individual modeled objects. This workflow of overlaying the models I got from one of the engineers I work with at Bridger & Paxton consulting Engineers, who knows Navis works a hole heck of a lot better then I do. Reference Model Compare by  Mathew Miller.

Model Compare

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BIM 360 info & Autodesk 360 Viewer

BIM 360 info & Autodesk 360 Viewer

A sneak peek at the new Autodesk 360 viewer

For those of you who have signed up for the Autodesk 360 Technical Preview, you may well have already gotten a taste for its new viewing capability. Upload a 3D model of pretty much any format (the list is pretty exhaustive and goes well beyond Autodesk’s own formats, but you might try with DWG, RVT, IAM, IPT, NWD and DWF, to name a few to get you started) and you’ll see the viewer enabled for that model:

Autodesk 360

Before we go on, please bear in mind that this is very much still in Beta: it’s early days and the team is ironing out wrinkles on a regular basis. You’ll also need a WebGL-enabled browser to make this work, of course (as mentioned in yesterday’s post, this is built using Three.js which in turn uses WebGL). With all that said, hopefully you’ll see that this technology is pretty darn cool.

One other thing, be sure to read up about the new Autodesk 360 viewer at Ken Walmsley’s Through the Interface blog. I’ve had a good play with this & its very impressive.

BIM 360 info & Autodesk 360 Viewer

BIM 360 info & Autodesk 360 Viewer

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Our Mission: To offer the best integration of Architecture and Engineering solutions thereby consistently being in focus of what the clients need. Our zeal to excel in the technology inputs and providing consistently credible output shall be the strong points of our services at all times.

Our Vision: To be a forerunner in our field with the drive to provide valuable services to the clients. To be part of the solutions through sustainable engineering and architectural designs that keep in mind the future. To be quality driven in our approach to cater to our clients with emphasis on balancing their needs and the environment.


Supertall Buildings: How High Can They Go?

Burj Dubai
Burj Dubai

Chicago, IL – Skyscrapers were the invention of New York City, and the Empire State Building held the title of “world’s tallest building” for 87 years. However, cities across the country around the globe have since been testing the limits to see just how high they can go.

An organization known as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat(CTBUH) has defined the “super tall category” of skyscrapers as any building taller than 984 feet. To be categorized as “mega tall,” the building must reach 2,600 feet in height. The height of a building is measured from the sidewalk to the structural top, including spires, but not antennas or flag poles.

For reference, the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall, the Willis (Sears) Tower is 1,451 feet tall, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is 2,716 feet tall. The Chinese broke ground on Changsha’s Sky City, which is expected to stand about 2,750 feet tall by mid-2014. At this time, there are 73 supertall buildings and 2 megatall buildings on Earth. From an architectural and engineering standpoint, several factors set these buildings apart from their less-impressive counterparts.

Structural System

In the mid-1960s, an engineer, Fazlur Khan, introduced a structural system known as the “tube.”By replacing the internal steel frame of a traditional building with a series of inter-connected columns, Khan ensured that the strongest part of the building was on the outside. One a building exceeds 40 stories, wind becomes more of a concern than gravity.

But the tube design was abandoned  in the late 1990s, as Bill Baker and Adrian Smith created a “stayed mast” design for Chicago’s 7 South Dearborn. This design featured a centered core, surrounded by eight large columns. Dozens of “post tube” designs emerged in the following years. However, Baker and Smith’s “buttress core” design, which involved a central hexagonal concrete core with triangular buttresses on three sides, secured Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the tallest building in the world.

Building Materials

Today’s super tall buildings are unique in both design and composition. Although engineers once built high-rise buildings with steel, modern buildings contain a complex cocktail of chemicals and microfibers. Concrete is generally preferable to steel because a concrete tower can be thinner, without sacrificing wind resistance, and concrete towers don’t need fireproofing. Carbon-fiber materials, similar to those in jet airplanes and racing bikes, are promising but pose challenges of their own. Not only is carbon-fiber expensive, but its lightness and flexibility could feel insecure to people inside the building.

Use and Purpose


Although super tall buildings were once reserved for offices, they are being utilized for condos, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. Chicago’s Willis Tower is considered a single-function building because more than 85% of its total floor area is dedicated to office space. On the other hand, Chicago’s John Hancock Center is categorized as a mixed-use building because it has nearly equal parts office and residential space, with a large section for parking as well. Super tall buildings are trending towards mixed-use, especially as space becomes a rare commodity in overcrowded cities.

So aside from bragging rights, what do super tall buildings have to offer for the future? “Vanity height” is such a big deal that CTBUH recently produced a new report examining the egotistical side of skyscraper construction. Shockingly, the report found that 44 of the world’s 72 super tall buildings would lose their “super tall status” without their unusable, uninhabitable spires.

Statistical experts have predicted that the world’s population will surpass nine billion by 2050, and around 70% of  these people will live in cities. Supertall buildings posit a solution to extreme urbanization growth, while regarding environmental concerns. For city-dwellers, they present the opportunity to go ice skating, see a movie, eat dinner, and get a night’s rest without ever taking a breath of fresh air. Despite terrorist attacks, anti-urbanization movements, and architectural challenges, supertall buildings have nowhere to go but up. Saudi Arabia’s 3,280-foot Kingdom Tower is set to open in 2017, but what’s next and how high will it go? Reference viatechnik for more information about our services then click here.

Modeling Methods versus Project File Size

Modeling Methods versus Project File Size

In-place models do have it’s place in Revit. However, the overuse of in-place models will have a detrimental effect on your overall project file size, as well as the performance of your hardware.

Often times users create in-place models due to time constraints or to better visualize the object in the project context. There is nothing wrong with that. However, where the problem starts to rear its head, is when one forgets to convert the in-place model to a family after the design has been finalized. 

I often tell my students: Rather try and do things properly from the start, than trying to reverse engineer a model when you desperately need to get your CD’s out. 

To demonstrate this, I have created two scenarios where the contribution to file size is compared between an in-place model and a family.

The first comparison uses a 2.5 m x 2.5 m x 2.5 m Cube.

Modeling Methods

Now, in the example above, there does not seem to be a big difference between a Revit family and an in-place model. Remember though: a cube is not a complex piece of geometry. There isn’t that much data for Revit to process.

The second comparison will use one of each available forms in Revit: Extrusion, Blend, Revolve, Sweep and Swept Blend.

Modeling Methods

The more complex geometry data Revit needs to process, the higher the project file size will become. In the last scenario, there is a 54.3 MB difference between the Revit family and in-place model. Reference by Herman Solomon.

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Accuracy of BIM Quantity Takeoff and consequently material procurement!!!

Accuracy of BIM Quantity Takeoff and consequently material procurement!!!

If the estimation is not correct on a project, it will affect the business negatively. While underestimation of the cost leads to loss of money, the overestimation may result in failure at the bidding phase. Even though the direct victim of this issue in traditional fixed price contracts is contractor, the impact of poor estimation will be seen in the entire project.

The typical pain areas for BOQ’s industry wide are:

  • As quantity take-off from 2D drafting is not connected to the resulting BOQ dynamically, the surveying team has to take many days in order to visualize the construction from 2D drafting.
  • Even though BOQ industry needs the cost and resource loaded schedule. It is not in the hierarchical structure of the BOQ.
  • There are different methods to estimate cost codes and schedule resources at various levels of details.
  • BOQ or the schedule is not the structure for cost controlling and cost capture. But a third structure should be mapped to these two for cost controlling and cost capture.

Estimating Process

A baseline of cost required at the various stages of project development is called cost estimation. The cost engineer or estimator predicts an amount at a given stage, based on the data available. Even though several types of cost estimation methods exist, Bill of Quantities (BOQ) Unit costs is the most commonly used. In this approach, the bill of quantities assigns a unit cost to each of the components or tasks. If you sum the quantities that are multiplied by the corresponding unit costs, you will get the total cost of the project.  Unit cost method is based on a simple arithmetical principle and is very accurate in estimating. But proper application is essential. However, there are three key factors that decide the success of this method.

estimating process

  • First and most important factor is that BOQ should be accurate
  • There should be a well-defined framework for the construction procedure, which is commonly called asStandard Method of Measurement (SMM) or Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The framework should contain a series of tasks with the allocation of quantities to those tasks.
  • Estimating tools are the third factor. They are used to calculate cost accurately based on WBS and BOQ and report the expecting estimates in client defined formats.

Besides the three main factors, there are many other fixed or variable factors like inflation, consumption rates, taxes, currency fluctuations and contingencies etc., which should be considered by the estimator.

Generating accurate BIM quantity takeoff:

The best way to get an accurate BOQ is nothing but adoption of Building Information Modeling services. The possibilities of common errors in BOQs are minimal in the projects that use BIM Process and technology. BIM represents a single and accurate design model instead of providing several drawings. A BIM model can create a bim quantity takeoff automatically, which means it has in-built intelligence to know about each building element and with what it is made of. Therefore, it any change occurred in the design of a model, the BOQ will also be updated.

Example of Building information modeling services quantity comparison:

Costing is one of the most important aspect of a project to the owners of the project. Controlling cost escalation and managing material is one issue that cannot be compromised.

Quantities for architectural and structural components are extracted at schematic, tender, Good-For-Construction (GFC) and construction stage. At the schematic stage it is used for budgeting. While tendering, the BIM quantities are compared against the tender costs. As the design is refined at GFC stage, the revised quantities are used for evaluating change requests. On completion of execution, the bim quantity take offs from the model are used for bill verification.

At every stage, the accuracy of BIM quantities exceeds the accuracy of conventional thumb rule calculation. Overall adoption of building information modeling services helps control cost escalation and disputes during the checking process.

On an average while comparing the benefit of BIM for Accurate Quantification and material procurement it can be summarized through our project experiences that

  • Time taken to calculate quantity from BIM -1 day
  • Time taken to calculate quantity by site team -1 week

The difference in the quantities is anywhere between 1% – 8%.

quantity takeoff

bim quantity takeoff


BIM solutions application and Benefits to Stakeholders:

The availability of software packages that can help prepare bills of quantities is increasing day to day. Bills of quantities are produced with the help of building information modeling services. They do this task using the information contained within the model. The benefits of integrated BIM solutions are several and they are beneficial for everybody in a construction industry including owners, cost consultants, project managers and contractors.

Building information modeling services help owners take a ‘hands-on’ approach to manage investors, stakeholders and contractors. Using this technology, the project managers and architects can provide their services on behalf of their clients. Cost consultants can provide various services like rapid and credible cost planning, energy analysis and procurement services etc. BIM helps contractors support revaluation amendments. Reference bim forum

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Nanotechnology in the Construction Industry

Nanotechnology in the Construction Industry

Mention the word “nanotechnology” and people think of nano robots. After all, that’s how Hollywood has portrayed it. Microscopic sized robots that crawl around accomplishing whatever nefarious task their creator programmed them to do. Mention nanotechnology in construction and they look at you strange, as if you’re a character from a science fiction movie.

Carbon Nanotube Structure
Carbon Nanotube Structure

Nevertheless, researchers are hard at work applying nanotechnology to the materials used in construction. While it sounds incredibly high tech, nanotechnology is actually just a type of materials science. By definition, it deals with materials that are less than 100 nano meters in length. To put that in perspective, the smallest thing the human eye can see is about 10,000 nano meters long.

Something interesting happens to materials at that size. Normal things like gravity don’t matter, and others, like electromagnetism function differently. Nano materials react differently with other materials than we’re used to, creating new compounds with surprising capabilities.

One of the things that make nano materials so effective is that they have a much higher surface area to weight ratio than other materials. This drastically increases their ability to chemically bond to other materials, creating compounds that are much stronger and lighter. These materials also possess unique properties that aren’t available in other materials.

One of the most promising nanomaterials is carbon nanotubes. These are able to be produced in a ratio of 1,000,000 to 1, creating an incredibly strong, incredibly lightweight fibrous material for use as an additive in materials as diverse as car tires and concrete, increasing both compressive and flexural strength.

There are four basic areas in which nanomaterials are being studied for use in construction:

  • Structural materials – Nano materials, such as the carbon nano tubes are making materials stronger, reducing labor required in construction, and reducing wear on materials.
  • Surfaces and surface coatings – Nano materials used as surface coatings can make buildings self-cleaning. This can include self-cleaning glass and coatings for concrete structures that break down and decompose organic materials, so that rain water will wash them off.
  • Thermal performance – Improving insulation values of materials to reduce energy costs required for heating and cooling structures.
  • Energy efficiency – Window coatings are being created to increase the R-value of windows, reduce ultraviolet light transmission and the clarity automatically to match ambient light levels.

Much of this is still largely in the experimental stage, as the whole field of nanotechnology is still relatively new. Moving these new materials from the laboratory to the job site is the work of years.

Part of the problem in implementing these new nano materials is their relative high cost. Being new, they don’t yet show an effective return for their cost. Added to this is the construction industry’s general mistrust of new technologies, preferring to stay with materials and methods that they know and trust. With the long life expectancy of buildings, proving the benefits of nano materials is a slow process.

Nevertheless, there are construction materials currently in use that utilize nanotechnology. In most cases, the manufacturer doesn’t label their products as such, as there is no clear marketing benefit in doing so. Architects and contractors are more interested in the actual advantage that the nanotechnology provides, than they are in the technology itself. Reference viatechnik for more information about our services click here.