Tag Archives: BIM

Back to Work ’17 with guest speaker Melanie Tristram from Jasmax


2017 is off to a roaring start at Productspec + Smartspec. The year ahead is brimming with exciting events and developments in the company. We wanted to get the ball rolling by bringing our clients together to introduce some new faces and to share our itinerary for the year. Continue reading

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How Virtual Reality will shape the Future of Architecture

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It’s 2016 and VR is finally upon us. Early first steps are already showing huge potential, but what does it mean for the architecture industry?  Started from the most conservative through to the more speculative, I’m going to run through some of my thoughts on the changes to architecture and the construction industry that we can expect to see in the coming years.

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State of the Art


Chris here with a brief roundup of some interesting projects that have been making waves in the industry recently. First up, the mysterious Flux (a BIM startup funded in part by Google) have come out of hiding and revealed a suite of tools for architectural collaboration. From the looks of it, these tools are designed to allow communication between Revit, Excel, Grasshopper and Dynamo, along with an online workspace for handling data and 3D modelling. Definitely worth signing up the beta and checking it out!

If you want some further information on how people are using Flux, Nathan Miller of the Proving Ground (previously of CASE) has partnered with them to produce a series of tutorials on how to get started with the toolset.

Both Flux and Google have  also involved in funding the recently revealed Quartz project, an open source library of building materials. This library aims to put up full profiles of common building materials, covering everything from molecular makeup to health and environmental impact. It’s really positive to see information like this freely available and hopefully it will serve as the benchmark for data sharing in the construction industry.

Speaking of open source data, the educational Dynamo Primer for Revit has gone open source, so you can expect regular updates to the website as more people get their heads around complex modelling techniques in the program. It’s a fantastic resource and if you or anyone you know wants to learn Dynamo (or any node-based 3D modelling tool), the primer is a fantastic place to start.

As a perfect example of the possibilities allowed by complex 3D modelling tools, theverymany, previously known for their beautiful and complex sculptures and installations, have produced their second permanent outdoor structure. It’s exciting to see the studio working with more permanent materials and challenging conditions, and I’m eager to see what they do next.

On the other end of the spectrum, a team of researchers from MIT have unveiled a towering stone aggregate sculpture held together entirely by string laid out by a CNC machine. I’d love to see this research pushed further, as carbon-free concrete seems like the natural end-point of this technology.

It’s an exciting time for architecture, and new projects seem to be coming online at an increasingly rapid pace. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry, follow us on twitter at @Productspec!


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The Tangible Benefits of the BIM Revolution


The digital revolution in architecture encompasses a number of different topics – advances in what can be digitally modelled, in what can be physically constructed, in how we think about documentation.  The term ‘Building Information Modelling’ (BIM) encompasses a number of these concepts, but it is often confusing as to what BIM specifically refers to, or how an company can successfully tailor their content to integrate into a BIM model.

A key component of the BIM philosophy is that a 3D model should not be simply static representation of an object in space. That object could have any number of additional fields associated with it, from cost, installation instructions, maintenance and material information, electrical requirements, or anything else deemed useful. All of this additional information allows those who are relying on the BIM model to make informed decisions about what is best for a specific project, and for the cost of changes to the plan to be easily quantified.

Additionally, BIM Objects may be parametric, allowing architects to intuitively work with products that may have a large number of different customisation options. Correctly constructed parametric objects, imbued with the right information, allow architects to quickly identify the possibilities and limitations of systems and products, facilitating high quality design.

The digital revolution is not just about creating robust BIM models. Engineers and Architects beginning to understand the benefit of computer programming in the workplace, and as a result an explosion of intuitive, specialised software tools are being produced, aimed squarely at the building industry.

Visual programming languages, notably Grasshopper (for Rhino 3D) and Dynamo (for Revit) are at the forefront of this movement. These plug-ins allow users to access and automate processes in an intuitive visual way, doing everything from complex 3D modelling to interfacing with Google Docs, CNC Routers, or Arduino microcontrollers.

Using these same tools, Architects and designers can automate documentation, or use a BIM itself as the basis of a digital fabrication process. The Wellington startup ‘Makers of Architecture’ are using Dynamo and Grasshopper to produce CNC router paths directly out of the Revit model that they are designing their buildings in. Using this process, the team can accurately and quickly scope the cost of the digital fabrication process, from the number of sheets that they are using all the way down to the total amount of tooling time required. These numbers can be dynamically updated at any time, allowing for a process of iteration and testing over the course of the design process.

These tools are being used to solve complex problems and optimise tasks that simplify the documentation and construction process, allowing Architects to design, document and build things that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Huge swaths of the work we currently busy ourselves with can be automated, transforming a laborious, bordering on impossible, task into a short checklist of programs to run on each model.

The creation of usable BIM content and the development of custom design tools  require specialised knowledge and a different approach to architecture, focused on information management and smart geometry, and we’re excited to see companies that are pushing the boundaries of the industry, and to be involved in that process ourselves.

Read: Beginner’s Guide to Python in Autodesk Revit

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