Unknown Facts About The Eiffel Tower

Unknown Facts About The Eiffel Tower

eiffel tower

Had Eiffel not expended his efforts to strike this deal the tower might not have been constructed at all. Considered an abomination by many art and civic leaders, it was said: “They have only erected the framework of this monument, it has no skin”.

The Eiffel Tower, 1889

Designed by and named after the French engineer and bridge builder Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (1832 – 1923) for the Paris Exposition, 1889, the tower is 300m high making it the highest man made structure of the time. It was inaugurated on March 31, 1889 and would have remained the tallest structure but for the completion of the Chrysler building in 1930. However, it remains the most recognized structure in Europe today and was the most popular attraction of the Exposition of 1889. Built in celebration of the French Revolution of 1789, it consists of an open iron framework.

It was nearly never built.

Eiffel discovered that after awarding the contract the Exposition Committee was only willing to grant about one fourth of the funds required to construct the tower. Eiffel was left to fund the balance amount himself. On the condition of sole ownership and control of the profits for the next twenty years, he agreed to find independent funders for the tower. Surprisingly, the tower was paid off within the first year itself.

Had Eiffel not expended his efforts to strike this deal the tower might not have been constructed at all. Considered an abomination by many art and civic leaders, it was said: “They have only erected the framework of this monument, it has no skin”

The entire conception of iron and only iron being a beautiful, ‘architectural marvel’ ruffled quite few feathers in the architectural community. Distinguished cathedrals and palaces have been built out of stone with carefully crafted ornamentation adorning them. Iron definitely can be used for construction as an underlying structure as in the case of the Statue of Liberty. But, exposing your underbelly to the world by using only an iron framework was just poor taste.

A Committee of Three Hundred was formed and they petitioned for its demise:

“Honored compatriot, we come, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, passionate lovers of the beauty of Paris — a beauty until now unspoiled — to protest with all our might, with all our outrage, in the name of slighted French taste, in the name of threatened French art and history, against the erection, in the heart of our capital, of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower.

Are we going to allow all this beauty and tradition to be profaned? Is Paris now to be associated with the grotesque and mercantile imagination of a machine builder, to be defaced and disgraced? Even the commercial Americans would not want this Eiffel Tower which is, without any doubt, a dishonor to Paris. We all know this, everyone says it, everyone is deeply troubled by it. We, the Committee, are but a faint echo of universal sentiment, which is so legitimately outraged. When foreign visitors come to our universal exposition, they will cry out in astonishment,” What!? Is this the atrocity that the French present to us as the representative of their vaunted national taste?” And they will be right to laugh at us, because the Paris of the sublime Gothic, the Paris of Jean Goujon, of Germain Pilon, Puget, Rude, Barye, etc. will have become the Paris of Monsieur Eiffel.

Listen to our plea! Imagine now a ridiculous tall tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black factory smokestack, crushing with its barbaric mass Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the dome of Les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all our humiliated monuments, all our dwarfed architecture, which will be annihilated by Eiffel’s hideous fantasy. For twenty years, over the city of Paris still vibrant with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see, spreading out like a blot of ink, the shadow of this disgusting column of bolted tin.9

It may have taken every bit of those twenty years to change some people’s minds. All of the other iron buildings built for the Exposition were torn down shortly after (a shame). Today we look upon Eiffel’s tower as anything but hideous. Mary Louis King calls it “a monument to nineteenth century architectural engineering and a frank display of structure and material.” *

By today’s standards of engineering the tower looks over engineered, as iron is ultimately an inferior material. Therefore, a single beam was unable to withstand the large tresses. The simple beauty of this quaint behemoth is derived from this very weakness itself. Upon closer look, you can see an approximate replica of the cellular structure of a plant in the tight lattice work of beams.

The process of converting iron to steel was discovered by Sir Henry Bessmer in 1855. This converted it into a lighter and stronger material but practical implementation and mass production took still many years. Eventually steel went on to replace iron as is evident from the skyline of most major cities. In 1885, fours years before the Eiffel tower was created, the world’s first skyscraper was already built in the form of the Home Insurance building in Chicago by William LeBaron Jenney. Reference architectural evangelist. For know more about it then contact us and click here to see our services.

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BIM modeling guidelines from design to construction

BIM modeling guidelines from design to construction

BIM, in a 3D world acts as a glue to hold design and construction together. There are many firms who still don’t have much idea what to do to make BIM project successful. This article is a guideline for such firms, as it details the steps that a construction firm has to follow from design through construction using BIM.

The process of using BIM models is a lengthy one that leads up to and through construction. Proper software and employees are required to do this process effectively. Revit Architecture, MEP and structural as well as 3D Studio Max, Navisworks and AutoCAD are the software’s that support this process.

It is in the predesign stage that we decide, whether BIM is used in the project. Once use of BIM modeling guidelines is approved, the architect starts to work on schematic model. He either uses masses or real elements in a BIM environment. The architect will give a presentation to the owner, after completing the preparation of schematic architectural model. The presentation requires a walkthrough or rendering. The software that helps in this task is Studio Max, in conjunction with Revit. In this stage, the owner can put forward his suggestions on the design. The model enters to the design phase after necessary changes are made.

The role of scheduling (4D) and estimating (5D) starts during schematic design stage. It is the duty of scheduling to make sure that the building construction is completed within the allotted time. Estimating should ensure that they track the cost of the project constantly and systematically. Proper set up of BIM models from the starting stage is necessary for getting appropriate scheduling and estimation. For scheduling, the model of the building should be in mind, while the model is built. I.e. each floor of the building should be modeled in the order they are going to be poured. So, the Navisworks can schedule correctly. The parameters of the construction project should be added to the model in estimating.

Trying and counting all elements of a project from a 2D plan is a laborious task for estimating. But BIM enables the collaborative effort of the design and construction process.

Collaboration is the key element during detailed design. A compulsory weekly meeting including the architect, engineer, project manager, estimator, scheduler and construction manager takes place to make sure that everybody follows the process with same pace. Interference checks and coordination reviews are done weekly basis in this stage of design process. Even though it is a mandatory step to follow, most of the firms are not aware of the benefits of collaborative tools provided by BIM. Firms think that they get enough time to detect clash and run interference checks. But actually what happened is that they waste their time and money by fixing errors in the site. Actually with the proper use of collaboration tools, they could have been detect the clashes in the design phase, is they spend some time in the initial stage.

Some of the coordinated process that make your BIM model more efficient are scheduling, sections, elevations and walk throughs. It is sure that proper use of them will help you save time and money.

Ownership of elements is another significant factor. Ownership of an element means the discipline that originally modeled an element. It is the responsibility of the owner of an element to pay extra attention to the coordination of that element.

It is always advised to model every element type only once, as multiple instances of the same element stretched across disciplines will create headache for coordination and collaboration between models.

Once the design is finished, construction starts. The construction manager and field superintendent will work together with the design team. They check whether the design intent is followed and run their own clash detections on all models. The Navisworks monitoring and workflow tools help to report the identified problems and to track them through resolution. If BIM is used early in the design stage, construction can be made easier. BIM creates a solid link between design and construction that makes revolutionary changes in the industry. Reference bim forum.

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Get Walking to be a Modern Urban

Get Walking to be a Modern Urban

BIM services india

In the recent times, there has been a cumulative feeling that people are increasingly getting isolated. In more ways than one, the factor responsible for this has been accounted to the way we live, or more precisely the structures that we live in.

In the recent times, which we would call the ‘modern age’, there has been a cumulative feeling that people are increasingly getting isolated. There has been a marked alienation within the social fabric and people live like ‘islands’. In more ways than one, the factor responsible for this has been accounted to the way we live, or more precisely the structures that we live in.

Buildings have a deep psycho-social impact on human behavior. Increasing stress among educated professionals, failure in relationships (high divorce rates for instance), unrest among teenagers (high schools shootings being a case in point), are all accounted to the simple fact that our entire life is spent within walled confines, leaving little room for healthy inter-personal bonding. It doesn’t foster in us a sense of accommodating others in our space. Instead, it breeds segregation within our community.

Modern architects are, therefore, fiercely propagating the idea of having walk-able townships, where every place and thing would be accessible on foot. This movement has come to be known as New Urbanism. Under this model, the practice of getting out of home and reaching for an automobile, in most cases a car, to reach businesses and other buildings would be obliterated. People would just stroll down the roads, thus, facilitating greater social interaction, understanding and human bonding. Simultaneously, it would go a long way in reducing our destabilizing impact on the environment.

Modern day designers hold that tract style residences with sprawling sub-urban neighborhoods catalyze social isolation, leading to failure of communication within the community. So, New Urbanism landscape architects push for well-knit neighborhoods that lay less emphasis on roads and instead, build more facilities for pedestrians and other social interaction spaces. Suburbia is considered to put an end to authentic civic life.

Walkability is regarded the cornerstone to an efficient surface transportation for an urban area. Every trip involves commuting on foot, where you come in close communion with other people. Besides, it’s the cheapest, healthiest and most affordable mode of transport any community can design. Thus, the community also secures its future by making a sustainable use of resources. Crime and anti-social problems too will diminish significantly due to healthy and happy lives of the citizens.

It has been noticed that when affluent Americans cordon themselves away from the community through enclosed neighborhoods, it leads to misunderstanding, fear, and stereotyping within the society. Therefore, as proud modernists, we should ideally have open cities, where people of all incomes, races and backgrounds would steer through their lives in mutual harmony.

By laying the principles of New Urbanism to practice, people will educate themselves to value others in greater esteem and social networks would healthily expand. It would be a fashion to walk to the destination and ditch the car in the garage. Reference Architectural Evangelist.

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BIM 3D Renderings to Construction and Marketing

BIM 3D Renderings to Construction and Marketing

BIM 3D Renderings to Construction and Marketing

At HingePoint, a Dallas BIM consulting firm, some of us have been working on BIM (Building Information Modeling) or 3D design and construction models even before desktop computers existed. Do you ever wonder if people even know what BIM is? When I try to explain what I do for a living to my kids, “we make 3D modeling systems for hotel and restaurant chains, so they can see their building designs like a video game before they are ever built,” they don’t understand. If you are like my kids and aren’t so sure exactly what BIM is either, you are not alone.  I’ve finally found an example from Legacy Towers building being built in 2014 at the Shops of Legacy in Plano Texas that explains it perfectly. In fact, it was as easy as a drive around Dallas when my kids finally understood what HingePoint does for our clients.

BIM 3D Renderings to Construction and Marketing

In this example, we see some best practice uses of BIM for:

1. Conceptual Design – 3D architecture photo realistic renderings of the building that show exactly what it will look like when finished.

2. Design Documentation – Creating 2D and 3D documents for construction documentation, permitting, and installation so that everyone is on the same page throughout the entire construction project.

3. Site Planning and Community Outreach – Showing the community what the building will look like in the context of it’s surroundings. This group did an exception job of showing the building within it’s urban surroundings, and I bet the community was trilled the building blended in so well.

4. Marketing for Commercial Real Estate – The 3D renderings are so beautiful they can be use for marketing the commercial leases available and advertise for the companies involved. This particular site was successful using job site signage making it clear to everyone exactly what was being built.

As I drove by, I explained to my kids what I did at work.  “Hey kids, see that picture of the building? How do they have a picture of the building if it isn’t even built yet?” I asked. They had no idea. I explained that by using BIM  tools, the architects and engineers can design the building and create realistic photos that are similar to or even better than a really great video game or virtual reality.  They were starting to get it.  Then I had to explain “our firm HingePoint helps clients develop BIM systems and integrates them into their business to get these amazing 3D video game-like models to create those photos of the building before it is built.” They seemed to understand, but were not impressed yet.

Then I wondered why they didn’t realize that BIM is so amazing.  Maybe because they’re not systems engineers or civil engineers like the teams at HingePoint. But, then I realized, maybe they think everyone has BIM tools like everyone has video games.  I then said “do you know how most construction firms still build? They use paper print outs like “blue prints” and mail drawing plans around in tubes, and flip through 100’s of pages on huge tables, and nobody has any idea what the building will turn out like except the architect and interior designer, who envisioned the design. Now they were in disbelief, that real companies still used paper to design buildings. In this digital age, it’s no surprise how children take for granted the accessibility of technology, or assume that people (especially AEC firms) use technology as opposed to traditional (ie: paper) methods.  I then explained that HingePoint helps clients find easier ways to convert from paper to digital, from 2D to 3D, and from drawings to photo realistic renderings. Even though BIM seems really complicated, expensive, and difficult to envision to many, that achieving a more efficient digital workflow is much easier to achieve in this day of powerful computers, cloud computing, mobile devices, and great BIM platforms available from Autodesk and other helpful apps.

If you’ve ever had difficulty explaining what BIM is to anyone, we hope this article will help you convey the technology in a more digestible format. In fact, be sure to TXT this article to your kids to explain to them what you do at work! Credits – we want to give credit where it is due. While PhoenixEOS is in not affiliated with this project, we admire the best practices of the team: CBRE Trammell Crow Company Principal Real Estate Investors.

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revit fencing

Revit Devil’s Fork Fencing

Revit Devil’s Fork Fencing

TIA – This Is Africa: A quote I believe made infamous by the blockbuster Blood Diamond. This entry will focus on another unfortunate TIA necessity here in South Africa: Security. Most residential developments are now taking place in Security Complex’s, as it provides some kind of (false, in my opinion) confidence that the chance of crime occurring at your premises are less likely.

None the less, let’s turn a negative into a positive. Why not model the typical middle-class South African security barrier – Devil’s Fork Fencing, in Revit? Following the layout of a previous blog post: Parametric Revit Scaffolding, the first image will focus on the different component types a Devil’s Fork fence segment is typically made of.

revit fencing

Assembled, complete with bars, braces, bolts and washers, the fence actually doesn’t look too bad.

revit fencing

One thing to note however, is that I modeled the Razor Wire a bit thicker than what it would be in reality, for rendering purposes.

revit fencingThe end result can look similar (or even better) than the image below:

revit fencing

As a sidenote: I still cannot understand why Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t win an Oscar for his performance. Brilliant film!

Exercising the Right BIM Strategy for the Renovation

Exercising the Right BIM Strategy for the Renovation

BIM-for-renovation

With the help of BIM, collaborating designers and engineers can in short order make more informed and better coordinated decisions about to what extent a dysfunctional old building should be preserved, remedied or replaced.

Renovations are essentially the art of compromise. New space planning, lifestyles and work practices need to be fitted around existing load bearing structure and styles of a different era with elegance, efficiency and at minimal cost and inconvenience. In this article I will be discussing firstly the architectural issues of renovation and then how BIM facilitates the methods of documenting and dealing with these issues.

Reasons to Renovate

There are several reasons driving a decision to renovate old inadequate or dysfunctional buildings in preference to demolition and new construction. The following list gives the main reasons that come to mind but is by no means exhaustive:

  1. Preserving heritage buildings
  2. Modernising outdated buildings
  3. Upgrades to reduce energy costs
  4. Conserving resources through reuse
  5. Alterations with changed use
  6. Alterations with building extensions
  7. Alternative to new construction for lower building cost

While a renovation usually involves more than one of these motivations, it is important to understand which is the primary driver in order to adopt the right strategy for the renovation.

The preservation of historical or heritage buildings has become a strong priority around the world since the building booms of the 70’s and 80’s obliterated much of the old inner city building stock. This is frequently enforced through town planning conditions on redevelopment projects. It rarely leads to reduced building costs, and usually involves stringent conditions of approval, where very thorough and detailed documentation is required. These often include requirements to replicate the original building methods, fixings, and colour schemes in restoration work. Conversely new additions in many cases have to be distinctly differentiated to avoid confusion as to what is genuinely historic. New extensions also sometimes have to have reversible connections to the old, i.e. which do not mar the original building fabric if the new extension should eventually be removed. Figure 1 shows one such design solution. In this case the added awnings were not allowed to obstruct the view of the building above.

When an old building has no historical significance and no redeeming aesthetic qualities, but has a sound structure, a decision is sometimes made to renovate and modernise its appearance, usually in conjunction with changes to the internal functional planning. The assumption behind this decision is often that this is a cheaper alternative to new construction, but the need for continuous occupation could also be a major factor. Below Figures 1, 2 and 3 show various stages of one such house renovation.

bim-renovations

Our increasing awareness of sustainability issues has for many years now been driving a wave of building renovations with the aim of upgrading to reduce energy costs and eliminate adverse health issues. This often involves a strong focus on increased insulation, resolving damp-proofing issues, providing adequate ventilation, replacing and improving building service runs, and replacing components found to be toxic.

Sustainability through recycling is increasingly becoming a strong motivation for renovations in order to limit the dependence on new building materials. However, reuse of building materials, while lowering the cost to the environment, will almost always lead to higher labour costs and need to be carefully evaluated as to the net benefit before going down this path.

Challenges

The first and greatest challenge when undertaking a renovation is the unknown and hidden condition of the existing building. Over time all buildings deteriorate, and all old buildings can be expected to have deteriorating drainage, plumbing, and electrical service runs that need replacing. A cursory inspection would also easily reveal sagging or cracking structure, either due to inadequate bracing, or foundation movement. Such issues are fairly easy to predict and budget for in the renovation program.

However, a building that at first may appear sound will, once a renovation gets underway, almost inevitably reveal latent problems that are costly to rectify. Such hidden issues are often specific to particular climate zones and building vernaculars.

In Cold and Temperate Climate Zones some of the more common old building problems are:
Poor insulation, draughty windows and doors, incorrectly placed vapour barriers in walls and roofs causing ice build up in wall framing, inadequate ventilation or damp proofing giving rise to mould growth, spalling concrete beams and columns because of rusting reinforcement. Copied from Architectural Evangelist.

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Spot Dimensions Features

Spot Dimensions Features

There’s more to Spot Dimensions than meets the eye.

Within the Spot Dimension tool you can choose between spot elevations and spot coordinates. Spot Elevations will report the elevation of certain objects. Spot Coordinates will report the distance and direction of a point from an origin that you define (see Tools, Shared Coordinates… Specify Coordinates at a point)

While Spot Coordinates will report the coordinates of any model or drafting element it is not really clear in the help files that Spot Elevations will report the elevation of only certain parts of model elements. Here is the list of elevations that Spot Elevations will tag:

  • toposurfaces
  • roof eaves and ridges
  • stair steps and landings
  • window sills and door thresholds
  • tops of footings & beams
  • the sill and head of openings in a wall
  • any point within the area of (non-sloping) floors and ceilings
  • the height of a family’s model objects (provided they are visible in the view)
  • apparently ramps too but I haven’t figured this one yet
  • if you know of any more please add a comment

The visibility of Spot Elevations and Spot Coordinates can be controlled by the visibility of its host object or the visibility of the annotations themselves.

Taging the elevation of a horizontal surface won’t work in wireframe mode. Spot Elevations may be deleted when trying to modify some objects in certain ways.

Two interesting parameters in the properties dialog are Relative Base and Elevation Origin. If you go to the type properties and change the Elevation Origin to Relative you will notice that the Relative Base instance parameter is no longer greyed out. You can now report the elevation of a point relative to any level you’ve created.

One nice thing about all Spot Dimensions is that you can control the units format separately from the project’s units format by going to the type properties dialog so that their units display in decimal feet if you wish. It would be nice if levels had the same ability. Reference Spot Dimensions Features by David.

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Get out of the Silo: Enhance Collaboration and Leverage BIM

Get out of the Silo: Enhance Collaboration and Leverage BIM

What happens when you put five of the most active and in the know Revit users in the Seattle area together in one room? An engaging experience where leaders from multiple disciplines explore how each other’s Revit processes affects the other.

At the March SeaRUG (Seattle Revit User Group) meeting, a cross pollination of experts were brought together from architecture, structural, BIM coordination, construction and an owner, to discuss the use of Revit throughout all disciplines.

Revit design

Here are the various perspectives to keep in mind when using Revit on your next project:

ARCHITECT: How often is production staff removed from the actual discussion and vice versa? The project manager may not have his hands in the model or understand the tool to a point where his decisions are realistic.

CONTRACTOR: Consider level of design (LOD), at what point has the Architect provided adequate detail to establish relationships? When should the contractor or subcontractors take over and provide accurate up to date and product specific model information to finalize the built condition? Or should it be the contractor’s responsibility?

OWNER: Is the end user, or owner, utilizing Revit models? For the most part, the industry consensus is yes, but mostly for its quantitating abilities. The owner likely does not have the resources (or maybe it’s a small owner) to have a dedicated BIM technician.

SUBCONTRACTOR: Are we working efficiently with the tool? Is it saving us money? Are the models being faked, are they a true representation of the product?

BIM: How can BIM better utilized? Where does it fall short? How can we ensure expectations are followed through? It is directly copied from BRPH blog of Revit.

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Revit Furniture Design

Revit Furniture Design

It is no secret that I love Architecture and Design. What I do however love more, is to try and recreate or draw inspiration from: interesting rooms, buildings, and the like I see on this website. A few furniture pieces caught my eye, so I decided to make constructive use of my insomnia. 

These were the results:

Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design Revit Furniture Design

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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.

Parthenon

Parthenon

parthenon

Parthenon has stood the test of time surviving not just natural but man made devastation as well. A deep study of this wondrous monument would reveal ingenious elements of design attributing to the creative genius of its builders.

Parthenon

Undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural feats of its time is the magnificent structure of Parthenon. Dating back to the 5th century B.C. this fascinating monument stands on a limestone foundation. Initially constructed as a shrine to honor the Greek goddess ‘Athena’ and later serving as a church dedicated to the ‘Virgin Mary’ this structure has stood the test of time surviving not just natural but man made devastation as well.

Its unique architecture is characterized by its splendid and creatively crafted pillars that define the perimeter of the structure. These pillars were ingeniously crafted with a slight bulge at the bottom to provide more durability. Apart from supporting the weight of the roof these pillars also depict the authentic beauty of ancient Greek sculpturing. Also, the floor of the temple forming at the top of the steps was designed in a parabolic fashion to drain the water out during rains. 

parthenon big

Some creative illusions were also incorporated like a subtle bent on the top of the inner columns giving an impression that the columns are getting suppressed by the weight of the roof. 

It is because of these unique features this beautiful historic monument stands out as an engineering marvel of its time. Despite the fact that erosion through natural elements continues to have its effects and heavy bombardment in 1687 nearly collapsed the entire building, Parthenon displays its durable strength by still standing tall. 

large parthenon
The idea of construction of this amazing monument was conceived by ‘Pericles’ a very prominent and a compelling figure in the statesmanship of Athens. He hired ‘Iktinos’ and ‘Kallikrates’ the two most noted architects of their time for the design and construction of the building. The chief sculptor was ‘Pheidias’ who was assigned the task of decoration of the monument. 

A deep study of this wondrous monument would reveal ingenious elements of design attributing to the creative genius of its builders. It is truly a remarkable structure that was way ahead of its time. Even though most of the original structure has been destroyed, yet the remains distinctly foretell the authentic character of its glorious past. Reference architectural evangelist. For know more about it then contact us and click here to see our services.