Architecture is a visual language, codified within a graphic vocabulary that is often inaccessible to clients and others outside of the AEC community. In order to bridge this gap, Architects have traditionally relied on imagery and models to convey their design intent to Owners and Stakeholders. The tools available to the Architect in the Building Information Modeling (B.I.M.) age are updates to the traditional rendering and model options. Digital images and models allow increased accessibility to the design process for all team members with near instant feedback. Although there is much more to B.I.M. than just visual communication, this article will focus on the value that digital models have in the design and marketing process. Here at MGA, we have seen real benefits to the modeling side of our growing BIM development.
Shortened design phases often necessitate that project design be concurrent with the foundations of the future construction documentation. When a schematic model is being developed, the Architect is laying the digital groundwork for an evolving model that continues through design development and construction documentation. Design decisions regarding massing, site orientation, and design themes can be continuously revised and tweaked during Schematic and Design Development to zero-in on the final design concept as rapidly as possible.
CLIENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE DESIGN PROCESS
As Architects, we are trained to think in abstractions such as Plan, Section and Elevation, leaving our design intuition to create the whole building in our minds. Often, we overestimate this capacity for visualization by others outside of our field. In the past beautiful (but expensive) renderings of idealized building concepts were used to convey design intent to our clients. Due to the high cost in money and time, these images were few and far between. Digital rendering and image processing has made producing these images a much less costly investment, and more accessible to firms that choose to embrace the digital building model process.
Early in the design phase, concept models can easily be inserted into site photographs to show clients their future building in context.
Interim “progress” images are quick and affordable way to communicate designs with clients without the expense and time of “final” renderings that may not even resemble the final product after further design changes.
The newest addition to our graphical toolbox is BIMx, by Graphisoft. As a compliment to static images, MGA can now provide digital models to our clients that can be explored by intuitive touch-based navigation on tablet computers.
In addition to the static views in renderings, our recent clients have enjoyed the tactile interface with the digital models of their buildings and the comprehensive view they get of the design.
MARKETING AND PRESENTATION
Outside of the design process, our models can also be used to generate presentation renderings and even fly-through movies to aid in Marketing efforts for our clients and Presentations to committees and project stakeholders.
At Muhlenberg Greene Architects, our ultimate goal is to give our clients beautiful buildings that meet all their expectations and needs. Our ever-growing ability to communicate the entirety of our designs with our clients on a more regular basis is a valuable part of our practice and the exceptional service we provide.