Page T1.1 . 28 June 2000                     
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    Turning Today's Research into Tomorrow's Software

    by B.J. Novitski

    Over the past four weeks, a series of articles in ArchitectureWeek has looked at four examples of university research projects that may some day become commonplace design tools for architects. Each of the four demonstrates a narrowly focused capability that is desirable but missing from current practice.

    However, each prototype is probably founded in the belief, common within academia, that the ultimate goal is to connect all tools of drawing, design, analysis, simulation, and visualization to a single, cohesive, complete model which contains everything, qualitative and quantitative, known about the building under design.

    Some researchers are already reaching that goal.

    Bringing good academic ideas into the commercial software market is difficult for many technical and institutional reasons. Another obstacle, according to Robert Aish, the director of research for Bentley Systems, is the mismatch between the structure of the construction industry and what is needed for the single building model approach to be accepted.

    Fifteen years ago, Aish worked on the English design system RUCAPS, which later came to the United States, became Alias Sonata, and met with commercial disappointment. The system allowed multiple users, from all teams in the construction industry "enterprise," to work on a single model with parametrically defined components. Drawings were generated from the model, thus guaranteeing their internal consistency.



    ArchWeek Photo

    Because MicroStation TriForma operates on a single building model, any change made in any view is automatically carried through to every other view.
    Image: Bentley Systems

    ArchWeek Photo

    Structural for TriForma automatically builds the "intelligence" required for structural analysis and design and is compatible with other industry-standard systems.
    Image: Bentley Systems


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