Friday, 13 December 2013

ArchiCAD In India

It’s been more than 8 years since i have started using ArchiCAD, the initiation though happened to due to my curiosity for a software that helps me design faster and better instead of forcing me to draft and re-draft.

The software scenario in India have always been like following what your seniors in colleges use or about which software you hear the most. However, i consider myself fortunate enough to have a question since my college days regarding what suites me better and what helps me more rather than following what a software sales person is trying to impose upon me. I was aware that being a user and architecture student it’s me who has to decide and not the fancy marketing tricks or super imposition.

This curiosity and choice have always helped me in a long run. Being an authorised trainer and reseller for ArchiCAD since 2008 in Gujarat, India last few years have been very tricky for us where we used to talk about ArchiCAD as BIM tool at various institutes and seminars in the absence of Official GRAPHISOFT India Distributor.

The darkness era finally ended and India too has a national GRAPHISOFT Distributor Officially appointed few months back, what is more exciting is we have signed a reseller agreement with the new distributor and have already upgraded our first customer and are in process of upgrading few more within this month. We hope to see the ArchiCAD 17 user community grow in 3 digits soon in India and also new users coming and adopting world's first BIM product which is in market since 1984.

Hoping to see more interaction happening on ArchiCAD India and dimension plus pages regarding ArchiCAD.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Architects & Technology. Part 1

Transforming Ideas - a phrase, which describes architecture profession the best, in my opinion.

Solution to client's needs

The mode here is, obviously, a brain-to-brain idea transformation. Starting with, understanding client requirements from, told and untold hidden aspirations and to explain the concept to the client and taking their consent. This goes on to explaining design and construction details to general contractors.

The catch here, for an architect, is the difference in languages various stakeholders understand. For example, the client would surely understand design better if explained using 3D View or a 3D Presentation, whereas, a general contractor would need construction-calibre detailed drawings, when he builds the building on site. And remember, we have just covered two stakeholders and their expectations from an architect. There are definitely more consultants and individuals involved, in a design and construction process of a building, who understand different communication languages.

Taking client’s consent for design concept is the first step of an architect, while working on any design project. Here comes the role of 3D Views, as clients might belong to various professions and have their own exposure, comfort zones and preferences. These may lead to resistance, for brain-to-brain idea transformation, if appropriate language is not adopted.

I still remember one of our senior faculties, in architecture college way back in 2002-2003, explaining the importance of creating hand drafted (using pencils and Rapidograph pens) perspective view before important client meets. He was well experienced in creating such 3D drafted views, for his clients, to explain idea of building scale, materials used, open vs. built spaces, as well as, site surroundings with sciography (to explain sun and shadow situations) for the designs. I was really impressed with the quality and clarity with which it was drafted. It was very clearly focused on “what needs to be shown”.

Revitalizing an abandon Architectural Heritage

Today, with the help of virtual technology and various tools, architects can create 3D views faster and better, provided the focus is not shifted from “what needs to be shown”. It has become really easy to get carried away with the virtually generated model, as getting infinite number of views from one design has become a child’s play. The views generated without focus can mislead.

We need to focus our 3D Renders to display the design and details that makes sense and appeals to the clients. Also, while client meets the possibility of design changes, improvements and additions are really high. Thus, while choosing our render technology, we need to consider a time saving one that can reduce our work of texturing or setting the scene for renders.

An appropriate technology that saves on time and gives “what we want” is enough; we don’t really need an overly done surreal glossy rendered images, do we? 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Top 9 Myths about BIM in India

Like all other things, the first step to learn BIM is Unlearn what is not BIM.
We have tried to list top 9 Myths of BIM in order to help our students "un-learn".

# 9 – BIM is a name of some software.
Truth – the term BIM is all about the thought process of the building industry professionals and the way they use computers to create their primary product (which is building - drawings are 'just' byproducts) the best. There are dozens of software available for BIM and there will be hundreds more, in coming years.

# 8 – BIM is a recent technology and underdeveloped.
Truth – BIM as a technology existed since 1984, the term used then was Virtual Building.

# 7 – BIM is difficult to learn.
Truth – If one knows a little about how buildings are built, BIM is going to be a childs play for them. It requires willingness to work and learn new things. If you love your comfort zone, BIM is not meant for you as learning, using and mastering BIM will challenge your comfort zones. The biggest effect of BIM is on the way we design and document buildings. Because of its Multi-Layered approach and data rich nature it doesn't allow a single error to go unnoticed. The best way to go about it is “Clear understanding leads to better output”.
Unlearning the drafting way is the most important first step here.

# 6 – BIM comes with a big price tag.
Truth – BIM as a technology is as reasonable as conventional way of using computers, yet one can extract more benefits from it. The byproducts (drawings) of construction process becomes byproduct here as well. BIM doesn't come in a BOX, if you learn to exploit it, it will give you Drawings, BOQs, Details, 3D Documents, Energy Consumption Data, MEP data, 3D Views and Walkthrough, Furniture details and what not and remember it doesn't come in a BOX but all these can come 'out of box'.

# 5 – BIM is useful only for large building.
Truth – Any built form requires 100s of workers on site and more than 10 different agencies to complete the work. If a building requires materials to get build and if those materials costs, yes you need BIM regardless of size, complexity and scale of the project. If the building process requires labour than you need BIM. If the building has got some life span (which obviously the case) you need BIM. While buying a vehicle we consider owning and operating costs isn't it ? why don't we need the same building ?

# 4 – BIM is just another way to draw.
Truth – Its actually easier for an Architect or Interior Designer or Plumbing consultant to visualize, discuss and try various design options in 3D when they are sure that their Plans, Elevation and Sections are taken care by the BIM – i sometimes feel i am gifted with a magic wand when i can design more without worrying about correspondence of various drawings and informations as BIM does that for me. BIM is the way we built our buildings and perceive them. We never see buildings in TOP, BOTTOM or ORTHOGraphic view, isn't it ? They are just ways of expression that help to document our buildings. Similarly drawings in BIM are just documents of the Virtually Built environment.

# 3 – BIM creates only 3D models.
Truth – BIM can be used to create smart and intelligent building models and not just boxes unlike the conventional way of computing. It also creates plans, elevations, sections, details and material quantities and can also update them with the smallest of change anywhere in the building. So, no tension of upgrading elevation or section after a design change in plan :)

# 2 - BIM would block creativity.
Truth – It is not that old technology to create 3D Models using limited tools and library, it is the way of Virtually building the building before you start building on site, this little move may help to rectify the problems that can happen on site. There is no compulsion to built the virtual building in conventional ways, in fact creativity and right attitude towards technology helps to expand your boundaries. There is also no compulsion to use the in-built libraries or objects, you can create your own. Its allowed and possible.

# 1 – Learning 2D Drafting is compulsory for learning BIM.
Truth – The concept of BIM is far above 3D box modeling, learning 2D was a compulsion to extrude shapes to create 3D box, BIM is not a 3D box. BIM is a building model comprising all the Information regarding built mass such as 2D drawings, 3D details, Visual Presentations, Material Listings and Schedules of components as well as system. Those who advocate learning 2D drawings before BIM have certainly not understood BIM or may be they just want to overlook the reality to earn more ?!

Its been observed always that our assumptions stops us from learning & exploring new boundaries.

We are trying here to break free few assumptions about BIM which might help us 
rise above together.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

3 responses to technology.

The days & nights, we used to spend creating drawings, using drafting tools and techniques, during early college days, are still fresh in my mind.

It was then that this question hit my mind hard, and it is still with me.

"Why do we use computers?"

Since my college days (i.e.2002-2003), there have been innumerable arguments regarding this, with senior faculty members, students, professionals and sometimes with CAD users. I have got varied responses but one thing in common was that we talk less about "why we use" and more about "what we use".

The world that we see today, is not what we got from the Mother Nature, it is our own transformation of 'what we got to what we made'.
Human species is special, because we can adapt to nature and reuse it for our own comfort. This is the reason behind the importance of Construction Industry.

In India, Building Construction is one of the fastest growing and highly active domains among many professions. We design, discuss, calculate and build, but do we really use the appropriate technology for all these steps? We consider Construction professionals to be important because they deal with the savings of a lifetime. BUT do they really accept the importance of 'technology' in their profession?

There are three prominent responses that we face when we talk about latest technology.

The 1st: why do we need to learn something new when we already know and work regularly?

We know them as comfort zone lovers?

The 2nd: if students start using such an easy tool/technology won't they stop thinking and being creative. 

We can understand their concerns for students and their creativity but by using outdated technology or not using technology at all, does it guarantee 'the students would be highly creative'?

The 3rd: my software is best because people talk about it the most.
We are often surprised by such arguments.

Does that mean Poonam Pandey is a better actor as compared to Irfan Khan?

So, why do we really use technology for construction jobs?