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    Autodesk University No. 15

    continued

    The presentation used scenarios from the Lewis and Clark State Office Building in Jefferson City, Missouri, designed by BNIM Architects, in which a team tracked a conceptual, integrated view of a sustainable design project. They could create alternative possibilities for sustainable environments — all viewed simultaneously, showing their respective impacts. Using BIM, they could measure the performance of the model, and take a validation step to publish out the data to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The building ultimately received LEED® Platinum certification.

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    The movie demonstrated the use of comparative energy analysis used to achieve LEED goals for daylighting, energy efficiency, building materials, and water-use efficiency. Bernstein said that Autodesk views model-based design as a central framework for revealing sustainable opportunities in building design.

    Sustainable design extends across corporate divisions, according to Bernstein. "Although architects are much more involved in sustainable design and more advanced in their thinking, there are sustainable design issues in all divisions — manufacturing, AEC, everywhere."

    Incorporating sustainable design from the initial design through the construction process requires a validation process that all parties can participate in.

    Engineering firm Glumac, winner of the Revit BIM Experience Award, specializes in consulting, sustainability, commissioning, and specialty design services ranging from energy modeling to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. Leonard Klein, LEED AP, associate principal at Glumac's Portland, Oregon, office, cautioned that sustainability is multifaceted.

    "It's actually holistic," Klein said, "Energy reduction is a major portion of sustainability, such as utility conservation, water conservation, using natural and renewable energy sources. You're also looking at an improved environment for people and building that is more earth-friendly. Indoor air quality is a major factor. Daylighting, natural ventilation, the distance materials must be shipped to the building site are all included under the umbrella of sustainability. Our focus is to assist the owner and the architect in developing the most sustainable building that we can."

    Beau Turner, solutions consulting manager of building solutions for Avatech Solutions, thinks BIM is a perfect fit for sustainable design, since it introduces a whole new concept and reinvents the way buildings are designed. Turner reported that many multidisciplinary firms are interested in involving different parties in the building design process, including contractors, and that numerous contractors want to start working with BIM and doing sustainable design.

    BIM software allows architects to design a virtual building. According to Turner, when modeling a building in this way, a designer can know all the thermal properties and weights of the materials used in the design. The designer can even adjust the materials schedule to specify the source of materials and the percentage of materials considered to be renewable resources.

    "Having full integration between the architectural and structural packages allows the designer to do detailed analysis of everything from energy analysis to integrating with CFD modeling, making it possible to see if you can design in more sustainable features," Klein of Glumac said.

    Turner also noted that "the complete solution isn't just the one product right now." Many third-party products and services, such as Green Building Studio™, allow designers to take intelligent building models and get downside returns to see how well a building will perform.

    Illustrating this point was the demonstration of a prototype application called Metropolis, designed for the purpose of visualizing and building "digital cities." Metropolis creates visual integrations of disparate information, such as BIM models of every building in a city and geospatial information from Google Earth, Virtual Earth, and other sources.

    Users can do fly-throughs of virtual building models and "go" underground to analyze utility lines and other infrastructure. This could be a city planner's dream: viewing and accessing not just visual data, but also associated real-world data that can be analyzed and queried. Applications could be built on top of Metropolis to maximize the use of this data.

    Architect and sustainability pioneer William McDonough presented a keynote talk for the conference's Building Industry session, offering a refreshing approach to sustainability. His design firm, William McDonough + Partners, integrates environmentally conscious strategies into its design work.

    McDonough is ahead of his time. In 1995 he cofounded McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, with German chemist Michael Braungart, to make the design of products, processes, and services more sustainable and intelligent. The firm's Cradle to Cradle℠ certification does for products approximately what the USGBC's LEED certification does for buildings, with testing for environmental impact of materials, water-use efficiency in production, and material reuse and recycling. Among the products already certified are flooring, wall coverings, and U.S. Postal Service mailing supplies.

    Exhibit Floor Takeaways

    Third-party vendors exhibiting this year really seemed focused on cost and time savings, and providing new ways of doing things that users have been struggling with for a long time. Three products in particular stood out as interesting for architectural professionals.

    Adapx

    Adapx continues to rapidly evolve with its new digital-pen-and-paper software. Autodesk University 2007 saw the first public demo of Capturx for Autodesk products, which is scheduled for release at the end of March 2008. Capturx for Autodesk consists of digital pen, digital paper, and a plug-in that prints drawings on digital paper. Users can collect data in the field and create annotations on any DWF (Design Web Format) drawings. This is accomplished on the digital paper using a Bluetooth connection.

    If a user wants to use both the Autodesk and ArcGIS® versions of Capturx, plus possibly the Microsoft® version, they would buy a license of each, but be able to use the same pen. The product is application sensitive, so it will recognize which application you are using to do your work, and will keep the work done in other applications saved. You can also dock your pen for future use or to download data onto a laptop or other computer.

    Green Building Studio

    Green Building Studio, Inc. claims to provide the "only web-based energy engineering analysis solution that integrates with 3D-CAD/BIM applications." According to CEO John Kennedy, the company's web service has embodied functionality focused on green-building analysis, simplified so that user results are easier to achieve. The engine used is just as powerful as DOE 2.2, the world's most widely used tool for building energy analysis.

    Since buildings must adhere to building codes, with an envelope that meets a performance standard, Green Building Studio's first objective is to give code compliance to a building, before they consider other energy issues, said Kennedy.

    Launched in 2004, Green Building Studio has 16,000 regular users. It has just released its carbon-neutral design training program. The goal of creating carbon-neutral buildings — reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from a building's construction and use, and balancing emissions through carbon sequestration and offsets — is one of the goals issued by the nonprofit Architecture2030 in its 2030 Challenge to the global architecture and building community.

    Design decisions made early in the design process are most cost-effective, said Kennedy. Many analyses can result in LEED credits, and add or subtract value from the completed design. Questions that his firm's services can address include whether electricity can be generated from photovoltaics; how the local environment can be used for ventilating, cooling, heating, and lighting; what the water uses of a building would be; and how daylighting might be achieved.

    2BOT Corporation

    2BOT Corporation has come up with a product based upon the idea that 80 percent of what the brain processes is sensory touch information. Paul Nye, CEO of 2BOT, thinks people need more models that we can physically touch, view, and discuss.

    Nye has developed a machine that creates physical models of buildings, building parts, and other designed objects, using Plexiglas, thin metal, foam, or balsa. The company's launch at the conference was ModelMaker for Architects™, which allows for client models to be generated directly from within the AutoCAD® interface. The machine can "carve a physical scale topographical model in its entirety in less than an hour and rapidly create all the pieces for architectural models in minutes," according to the company. Topographical models can be tiled and assembled to any scale. Because the cost of production is so low, quick draft models can be made for in-house consumption, then discarded or replaced with more refined models.

    The value of this kind of technology was made evident each morning as conference attendees passed by a scale architectural model of the Venetian Hotel and the new adjacent Palazzo resort. The model was constantly surrounding by a cluster of Autodesk University attendees on their way to the conference — precisely the people who might be expected to be more interested in 3D models revolving onscreen.

    So perhaps Nye has the right idea. He is hoping for 2BOT to become a verb — that soon people will be saying they want to "2BOT" their designs.

    The 15th annual Autodesk University was held November 26-30, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Susan Smith is the editor of AECCafe, an online news portal for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, as well as GISCafe and GISWeekly, an online portal and weekly magazine for the geographic information systems industry. She has been writing about architecture and technology for over 15 years and resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

     

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    Autodesk University was held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Photo: Shaan Hurley

    ArchWeek Image

    Using the Lewis and Clark State Office Building in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a case study, an Autodesk concept demonstration showed how BIM can be used to inform sustainable design.
    Image: Courtesy Autodesk Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Intelligent 3D model formats make it possible for software to perform complex qualitative analyses of a design.
    Image: Courtesy Autodesk Extra Large Image

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    The Project Chicago concept demonstration tool in action, shown on a wide, touch-sensitive screen designed by Autodesk Labs.
    Photo: Susan Smith Extra Large Image

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    Autodesk Labs demonstrated a city-level BIM tool called Metropolis, which allows building models to be placed on site in a 3D interface that resembles Google Earth.
    Photo: Shaan Hurley

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    A demonstration of a BIM model at Autodesk University.
    Photo: Shaan Hurley

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    BIM-capable architectural software, like Revit® Architecture, can integrate design, rendering, energy-analysis, and material-specification tools within a common program framework.
    Image: Courtesy Autodesk Extra Large Image

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    3D "printers," like those from 2Bot Corporation, allow for physical building models to be generated directly from computer modeling programs.
    Photo: 2Bot Extra Large Image

     

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