Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday and Seattle Commentary

Totally off-topic, but I usually listen to some music on my way home from work and found myself firing up my good ol' Zen Touch for the Friday night commute.  I'm fairly certain I've stumbled upon the BEST song to end your work week - "Amber" by 311.  Give it a try one Friday night and let me know what you think!

Last week I participated in the AIA BIM Implementers Roundtable which is a subset of the Large Firm Round Table (LFRT).  There were some great presentations about best practices, measuring the ROI on BIM and more.  My vote for most candid commentary goes to Phil Read (now with HNTB Architecture) on his new blog  Don't ask me - or Phil for that matter - how one pronounces "architechure," but the point is ARCH + TECH...

From That Thing You Do:

Mr. White: Next, this "Oneders", with the O-N-E, it doesn't work. It's confusing. From now on, you boys'll just be... simply The Wonders.
Lenny: As in, I *wonder* what happened to the O'Needers?

After the day-and-a-half meeting I had the opportunity to wander around Seattle.  First, I visited the Seattle Public Library designed by OMA and Rem Koolhaas.  I've always been a fan of Rem's work and the SPL doesn't disappoint.  Check out my slideshow for some glimpses of the interesting structure versus curtain wall conditions.  Vibrant colors are used for a variety of special spaces such as the all red meeting level and bright yellow vertical circulation - which is a huge help in finding your way around.  There is also a fantastic art display called "Making Visible the Invisible" by George Legrady in which several LCD monitors continuously stream graphic displays of metadata being culled from the library's checkout system.

Next up was the obligatory trip up to the Space Needle.  Having Starbucks in the cafe at 520' was worth the 16 bucks for the ticket.  The observation deck also features several interactive displays including one where you can cycle around a 360 degree panoramic view while adjusting the sun light by the hour or the minute.  Wonder if I can put that on my timecard for environmental analysis research?  Right next to the Needle is Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project or EMP - a museum of music history founded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.  Funds were running low at this point, so I decided to just check out the building, not the full museum tour; however, it was  highly recommended by our hotel concierge.  Making our way back to the Hotel Monaco via the waterfront, we had oysters and seafood at Elliott's (yummmm) and shopping at Pike Place Market.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review: Green BIM

I recently received a copy of a new book titled "Green BIM: Successful Sustainable Design with Building Information Modeling" by Eddy Krygiel, AIA and Brad Nies, AIA with foreword by Steve McDowell, FAIA - all LEED Accredited Professionals with BNIM Architects.  Mr. Nies is Director of Elements, the sustainable design consulting division of BNIM.

"Green BIM" provides an excellent - albeit somewhat basic - overview of building information modeling, sustainable design practices and integrated design teams.  If you have senior team members or management who are still trying to grasp the concept of BIM, this book is a worthy primer.

Krygiel and Nies share their real world experience at BNIM on 'green' projects such as the Lewis and Clark State Office Building. For the BIM cognoscenti, the Green BIM approach is more about process than tools which is why you will find the chapter on Integrated Design Teams both surprising and enlightening.

While the term "BIM" is used in the generic sense, the authors have been long-time users of Revit and the methods described in the book are illustrated with screenshots and tips for Revit Architecture. Sustainable design encompasses a body of information probably too vast to be addressed in one publication, but "Green BIM" highlights some entry level techniques one can harness today with readily available software.

The only downside to this publication is the lack of color in the many charts and graphs provided throughout "Green BIM." Using 7 or 8 different shades of gray does not make such illustrations very readable.  If cost was a factor in the production of the book, the authors might have been better off using varying line types instead.  By the way, the book is printed on recycled paper with soy inks - not quite the vision of "Cradle to Cradle" author William McDonough, but a step in the right direction.

Rating: 3 of 4 stars

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Design Blogs

I'm happy to include links in my sidebar to two new design-influenced blog sites, although I hesitate to use the term 'blog' as these sites provide so much more content.  First is a site produced by Ajmal Aqtash, a close colleague of mine at SOM.  His site is dubbed "CORE.FORM-ULA" and is focused on developing and monitoring the curricula of leading design schools utilizing the latest digital tools.  Currently, CORE is collecting data and collaborating with Pratt School of Architecture, the Product Architecture Lab at Stevens Institute and U Penn School of Design/School of Architecture.


Second is a newer addition produced by David Fano of SHoP Architects, a site dubbed "Design".  "Design ReForm is meant to be a source of information for the integration of design and technology. The ambition of Design Reform is to publish tutorials and explorations in parametric modeling with softwares such 3ds Max, Revit, Maya, and Rhino."

David has been regularly uploading brief, but descriptive and laid-back tutorials on Revit, Max and Rhino (including Explicit History!).  He is also teaching a class at Columbia University and sharing his students' work (primarily in Revit) within his site's Forum area.  Be sure to check out the class "ReThinking BIM."


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Upcoming BIMStorms

Funny search story...looking for "bim storms" turned up a weather report for Bim, West Virginia - I'm not kidding!  Check it out.

While I may have been initially skeptical about the value of the so-called "BIMStorms" - the brain child of Kimon Onuma - I have been hearing fantastic feedback about the recent 'Storms' in Los Angeles and Boston.  These which bring together teams of AECO industry professionals to virtually plan, design and analyze massive civic-scale developments.  While the organizers have also taken to calling these events the "Woodstock of BIM," the next one is crossing the pond to London.  June 24-26, 2008

Information on other BIMStorms can be found at the Onuma website (