Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vismasters Conference

I was invited to speak at the first semi-annual Vismasters Design Visualization Conference in Boston, MA on August 4, 2006. Vismasters is a new group formed by Randall Stevens, founder of Archvision and Jeff Mottle, founder of the CGArchitect community. The two apparently had lobbied the folks at SIGGRAPH to lend more of a focus on the architectural visualization community in addition to graphics hardware and the like. After a few years, the pair decided to create their own dedicated community and event which would occur on the coat-tails of the annual SIGGRAPH event in the same city. The event has since been re-labeled as the "Design Modeling & Visualization Conference" to more accurately reflect the diverse audience of visualizers, designers, architects and engineers.

This year's event was opened with an inspiring lecture from Ernest Burden III of Acme Digital. He spoke eloquently of the art of design visualization and used a Rolling Stones caricature to note that the cartoon is often more like the person than the person themself. I find an interesting analogy in the world of trying to implement 3D BIM in a firm so used to producing 2D drawing deliverables. In essence, the 2D drawing is like a caricature - it is more like the building than the actual building. What I mean is that we Architects have been trained to enhance important areas of the design intent, while skillfully minimizing those elements deemed potentially intrusive or offensive to the scheme. Today's BIM tools have yet to completely embrace that subtlety and is a constant source of frustration for those who don't grasp the bigger picture.

Next was a fantastic, although lengthy, presentation from Lon Grohs and Nils Norgren of Neoscape. They described the cinematic approach utilized to produce an architectural animation sequence. I'm a big fan of the cinema (even my thesis project was a residence/studio for Oliver Stone!) and this really drove it home. Following Lon and Nils was the Paul Doherty AIA, Vice President of Land Development and Home Production for K. Hovnanian Homes who spoke about "Sustainable Business Models in the 3D Industry." Their company is using BIM software out of Europe called Argos to quickly customize and deliver their prototypes to each client while ensuring maximum quality and efficiency. They are also even using 3D printing to give new clients a scale model of their future home to share with their families and friends - nice!

Finally, I participated in a panel session along with Martin Summers of Morphosis who spoke briefly about the amazing work his firm is doing with the CALTRANS headquarters among many other fantastic projects; Ron Reim of Oculus, Inc. who is leading Revit implementation at his mid-west architectural firm; and Jonathan Ward of NBBJ who shared his reflections on life, art and the state of the architectural industry after an 18 month sabbatical travelling the globe.

In summary, a fantastic new community worthy of signing up early for upcoming events. The next conference will be in Monaco...yes, MONACO!...in February 2007, followed by San Diego, CA in August 2007.

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