It's been a big week, but we made it to Friday! Let's take a look back at what's been going on in the world of building information modeling (BIM) and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.
We focus on tech in construction, so naturally innovation is always on our radar. It turns out, innovation isn't just changing how we build, but what we build. The University of Pennsylvania is the latest to unveil a building aimed at nurturing innovative thinking. The Pennovation Center, in fact, lies at the heart of an entire area of the campus dedicated to fostering innovation. The center offers more than inspiring design; its spaces are meant to encourage collaboration: "Serendipitous encounters – which sounds like a back-of-the paper personals section – are a pillar of innovation... Interpreted architecturally, it means designing spaces that not only welcome these interactions, but actually catalyze more of them." Get innovative thinkers working together and increase their chances of discovering the next big thing.
Stairs in the Pennovation Center – half walkway, half meeting place. (Source:Fast Company Design)
It looks like one of those "big things" could be invisible solar panels. Perhaps not quite invisible, but indistinguishable from building materials. An Italian company has created solar technology that can look like tiles, shingles, and even wood. Although they are not as efficient as traditional rooftop panels – they only collect about 25% as much energy – they also don't have the same limitations as traditional panels, "like excellent resistance to compression and impact, which allows the flat stone-shaped panels to be used as flooring or even in driveways. They also don't have to be laid flat, which means they can even be used in walls." Although originally developed as a means for including solar in historic buildings, as the technology develops, these hybrid solar panels/building materials could become the building blocks of the future.
These "shape-shifting" panels – from driftwood to terracotta – are truly hot. (Source: Fast Company Design)
Those of us who work with BIM find ourselves doing a lot of explaining. Outside of the construction sector, building information modeling is not something a lot of folks know about. Even within the industry, myths about BIM and what it is are prevalent. Thankfully, the folks at NBS have devised a list of the Top 10 BIM Myths and successfully debunked them. They underscore that BIM is more than 3D modeling and that although the initial investment may seem prohibitive, the long-term benefits, especially cost savings, recoup the starting expenditure.
In order to make people see that BIM is a commonsense option, we must first dispel the myths that surround it. (Source: We Are Harris)
Has anyone noticed the dire lack of computational BIM practices in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems? We have, and that's something we'd like to change. We discussed this lack of computational design for what is often a large percentage of the overall building cost. We propose a change to this system and embrace new tools that streamline the design process, saving time and reducing costs. Check out our recent webinar to learn more.
The webinar is available on-demand on our site. Check it out! (Source:BuildingSP)
Finally, we know architecture and design get all the press and most of the accolades, but without the actual construction we'd have nothing to celebrate. A new short film at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale pays homage to the machines, the materials, and the people that bring an architect's vision to life. Check it out here and have a great weekend!
As you may have noticed, we've been doing a lot of writing about the impact of computational BIM, generative design, and the future of how we work. One thing we haven't done is turn some of this thinking into more rigorous analysis. But now we're ready to do that!
If you work for a general contractor, subcontractor, or design firm and want to collaborate on whitepapers that quantify how computational methods of working will change our industry, reach out to us and let's talk about what we can do. We're open to collaborations worldwide and have lots of ways of measuring performance indicators to gain insight into change in our industry. Contact Brett Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main image source: Julie Mehretu, Art 05 Empirical Construction Istanbul