We are living in an era of shared data and events. Today’s digital tools help us as a matter of course in our daily communication and coordination. Thus, the negative attitude that can be observed in parts of the construction industry appears all the more absurd. Each building project is the result of the interdisciplinary work of a team put together for this specific project. Soft factors such as the identification of all those involved with the project’s objectives and success, as well as clear communication and well formulated expectations are all the more important in this context.
From AS+P’s perspective, model-based work has a positive effect on the planning and cooperation culture. From experience, understanding among those involved increases because a clear view both of the entire project and each niche is possible at any time. Open access to a common database strengthens mutual trust and promotes a partici-patory team spirit. Having the overall result presented in model form every day immensely increases both the identification and motivation of everyone involved in the project.
The digital building model is consistently used during all phases of planning, tendering and construction through to the operation of the building.
Data and findings are shared with all participants based on the conviction that this is the only way for progress and changes to take place. AS+P provides highly specialized services, which are generally based on direct dialogue between people, even when using the latest digital tools.
Sectional axonometry, Ministry Riyadh reference project
Using a real-time rendering engine, realistic perspectives can be produced from the model, even during the preparation of variants. Sun studies with an interior feel, for example, can be carried out realistically with any adjustments in the model being made in real time by the render engine. The result is visualizations of the planning that are close to reality, in qualities between screenshots of the building model and photorealistic renderings. These illustrations are used by AS+P to assist the client in his decision making.
Complex spatial relationships or large-scale proportions are notoriously difficult to represent via two-dimensional visualizations on screen or paper. This can be a challenge not only for clients who are not proficient in reading plans and drawings, but also for architects and designers.
During the AS+P project “Ministry of Commerce and Investment” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for example, the design of the main entrance, or more precisely the height of the entrance portal in relation to the total façade was the subject of some controversy. While initially a classic high portal spanning three storeys was preferred, conceptual as well as constructive factors argued for an entrance at the level of the elevated basement. Both versions had their creative and constructive advantages and disadvantages.
In the course of this discussion, both variants were visualized via a model and debated based on different perspectives and views. 360-degree stereo renderings derived from a pedestrian’s perspective led to the final decision. The renderings impressively showed that the one-storey entrance was perceived as much more representative and adequately proportioned from the perspective of a pedestrian.
360-degree renderings can also be deployed using mobile equipment during appointments with clients abroad; they form an integral part of the AS+P toolbox, which is successfully used both for the internal design process and externally for decision-making.
VR applications provide immediate impressions of buildings and spatial constellations for architects and clients at a very early stage of the project.
Additional tools within the AS+P BIM toolbox are virtual reality applications. The planning becomes virtual reality: traceable, detectable and tangible. The client can move through his future building, interact with it and orient himself. In this context, BIM can be augmented by emotions, such as familiar background noise and personal or typical company equipment. Interactive elements, such as accurate light direction or the future view from a window and much more can be included in the digital building model. Thus a high degree of immersion can be generated by very simple means, giving the client a comprehensive and intuitive image of his future building.
In the simplest case, AS+P makes use of a laptop and a gaming console. A higher degree of immersion is achieved by the use of a mobile high-performance computer and virtual reality glasses. This technology is employed by AS+P in sensitive company processes, for example, when assisting change management processes. Both decision-making bodies and employees are assisted on their way to their new office building and fully informed in advance – “What you see is what you get”. In 2015, AS+P converted the first design models into gaming engines to enable the user to interactively experience the building model.
In addition to a variety of marketing opportunities and the greatest possible transparency for the client, walk-in models offer significant insights from the perspective of future users and operators.
Against the backdrop of AS+P creating the original planning products by means of digital building models, a number of possible new applications emerges.
The client can move through his future building, interact with it and orient himself.
In the course of each project a multitude of questions arises, the answers to which offer a number of options. Working with digital models makes it possible for AS+P to simulate project-related approaches to the various problems at an early stage, thereby creating a solid basis for decisions. In this context, the focus is to prepare the relevant principles for decision makers in a transparent, comparable and understandable format on time and at short notice. Simulations of various design topics can be applied, such as sun exposure or internal distribution, structural design and MEP or the façade system. AS+P uses a variety of simulation tools, depending on the issue at hand.
Example: solar simulation
In light and sun exposure studies, solar analyses are employed to optimize the building cubature or façade planning. Particularly with the development of sustainable buildings, optimal use of daylight is very important. In some cases, however, this is opposed to the required density or the urban environment. However, in order to be able to offer optimal natural light in such situations, AS+P uses daylight analyses even during the concept phase in order to adapt the geometry of a building in an ideal way to the respective conditions.
This is made possible by an iterative design process in combination with the corresponding simulation tools. The planning passes through several iterations so that, in the end, the optimal solution is identified under consideration of all boundary conditions. The benefit of such simulations has proven itself time and again in the daily project routine as a valuable support for the various decision-making processes. Thus, decisions can be made at an earlier stage in the project process, thereby reducing the risk of time-consuming planning sessions.
Exploded axonometry reference project Luxembourg – model presentation of a modular façade
In addition to providing support for decision-making processes, AS+P performs simulations on the digital model in order to optimize the individual designs. The focus is on optimizing the projects and their individual components, such as façades, at an early stage in order to develop the best possible solution in each case.
Example: façade planning
In most projects, the façade represents a large proportion of the budget. However, costs can be reduced by using as many common parts as possible. The key target when optimizing façades, especially in highly modularized façades, is to use as many standard elements as possible and to reduce the number of special components. In this context, the use of digital building models makes it possible to quickly test each façade module and to identify and exploit its optimization potential.
In addition to providing support for decision-making processes, AS+P performs simulations on the digital model in order to optimize the individual designs.
On November 9, 2017 the first BIM Symposium “BIM BEGINNEN” was held in Frankfurt. It was organized by Bauindustrieverband Hessen-Thüringen e.V. and Architekten- und Stadtplanerkammer Hessen under the patronage of the Hessen Minister of Economics Tarek Al-Wazir. The symposium’s objective was to found BIM-Cluster Hessen e.V.. The purpose of the new association is to promote collaboration and networking between all those involved in the planning, construction, and operating value-added chain by establishing efficient methods of continuous information processing. Dirk Kahl, a member of the management and a partner at AS+P, spoke at the symposium on the topic of ‘BIM as applied by Architects’ and in the future too he and his team will enrich the association with AS+P’s expertise.