Page T1.1 . 06 April 2005                     
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    Computer-Aided Green Design

    by Jim Gleeson, AIA

    Like Renaissance master-builders who analyzed and visualized their designs by working with physical models and full-scale construction, modern architects have opportunities to master a holistic, integrated design process. But today's models are digital, and the "full-scale" construction is virtual, using the newest computer-aided design technologies.

    Through building information modeling (BIM), architects today can efficiently simulate high-performance buildings as an integral part of their form-making process. Design for energy conservation need not depend solely on engineers focused on mechanical solutions.

    Equipped with BIM technologies, the master-builders of the new millennium can simulate a finished building, "experience" it as it is fashioned into the final design, and manage the design data and the building information, linking all disciplines and stakeholders over the life of the building. Data-driven design can help accomplish this and, although not yet widely adopted, is being used to great advantage by a few firms.

    Not only are the tools, changing; so also are perceptions of what constitutes "good" architecture. For instance, the definition of efficient enclosure of space has changed. A square plan may enclose more volume per skin area, but that shape can become a huge liability to high-performance design. Green, LEED-certified buildings tend to be more elongated in plan to take advantage of solar access and other holistic strategies.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The West Quad Living/ Learning Center on the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina was modeled in Autodesk Revit.
    Image: Jim Gleeson, AIA

    ArchWeek Image

    A pseudo-color analysis of lighting that was made directly from the building information model served as documentation for LEED credit.
    Image: Jim Gleeson, AIA


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