Jay Bhatt set the scene and, like the General Main-stage, the emphasis was on sustainable, green and ethical design. He introduced Phil Bernstein who, with a team of application specialists, walked through a demo of real world multi-discipline design collaboration today, a possible future and then handed over to keynote speaker William McDonough to outline how we must approach that future.
The art of the possible - Digital Collaboration and BIM Today:
This demo was based on a project in Brazil also seen in main-stage and visualisation presentations. It stepped through a number of platforms showing how shared data, from the best application for each task, could combine to complete an all-digital process. The intent was to show how applications available today interact and perform and, unintentionally, it did. The flow went something like this:
- Revit Architecture was used for the Architectural building model. This included a conceptual window louvre system system for daylight control.
- Inventor: The Revit louvre was used as a basis to design a mechanical assembly complete with linkages and animated functional check of the mechanism. This was later extended to detailed component stress analysis and validation.
- Civil 3D: An imported Revit building outline was used with a model of site, services (piping) and roads. AutoTurn was used to validate road design which required a change to the road width. Hydraflow* was used to validate and size pipe systems. While data from Civil 3D was transferred into Hydralfow for sizing it seemed the changes had to be manually updated in the Civil 3d model. From the demo it appeared there was no bi-directional element changes as you see with other BIM external analysis tools (e.g.; Revit Structure + Robobat).
- Revit Structure: This demonstrated a Structural model used for sizing and takeoff. Design loads and elements were tested with, recent acquisition, Robobat with the results updating the Revit Structure model. To show the versatility of the link, perhaps to validate using different calculation methods, they also showed links to ETABS and RISA 3D.
- Revit MEP; Armundo Darling, Technical Marketing Manager for MEP Engineering, unintentionally showed how “real world” this demo was when he attempted to show Revit MEP and IES doing daylight and heat load analysis. I’m sure it worked a thousand times in rehearsal but the curse of live demos struck as Revit MEP “white screened” with the management and a huge audience to witness it. Anyone who has done a live demo knows how painful this is but Armundo handled it with style and remarkable lack of, apparent, stress. In my, limited, experience if you wait long enough Revit MEP will sometimes recover from this but it wasn’t an option with a tight schedule and thousands watching...
- Navisworks: This combined the various models for cross platform interference check. They also showed use of Timeliner for construction time line management/visibility.
- Quantity Take-Off: This time Armundo got an application that behaved! It’s a new application which leveraged models, in DWF format from memory, for costing and takeoff. It was hard to tell but seemed to have basic workbook functionality to generate rate based costing based on the model quantities. I didn’t see any other information about this at Autodesk University and as yet there is nothing on the Autodesk site.
- Inventor: This time Inventor showed machining of the window louvre components with CNC machinery tool paths. This represented an all digital production process from design to the finished product.
- Revit Structure: The final section showed the Revit Structure model exported to ARCAD for detailing. As with Civil 3D it appeared this was not a bi-directional link.
It was impressive so much was packed into a short demo. Perhaps most interesting was the use of, recent acquisition, Navisworks to combine and analyse multiple discipline specific models in one project. What ever happened to the ideal of the “one model BIM” ideal? I don’t think that was ever viable but coordinated parametric models will do just fine.
“The Cool Wall* - Digital Collaboration and BIM Tomorrow:
A vision of the future was shown in the “Project Chicago” Video. It showed BIM with wonderful integrated design tools running on a multi-touch surface wall display. This technology has a proper name but I think “The Cool Wall”, from BBC Top Gear, is more appropriate . It’s easier to see it in action than explain and the video is available on the Autodesk Green Research site – http://www.autodesk.com/greenresearch. Check it out along with Roopinder’s post which has some background on the amazing technology seen at AU in the Autodesk Labs exhibition.
Sustainable is not good enough – William McDonough:
The session concluded with an inspiring presentation from William McDonough. I’m not a climate change skeptic but do get frustrated by those whose solution is to deny “the rest of the world” the privileged lifestyle we enjoy. You can argue our technology is the cause but I also think it’s our only hope for a solution. Perhaps that’s why his presentation was so inspiring. He challenged conventional thinking, shared thought provoking concepts, possible solutions and had real world examples of his approach making a difference. A few lines that struck me (not in quotes as from memory/notes scrawled in the dark):
Being less bad is not being good
Spaceship Earth: There is no “away” to throw things to
Recycle only what is safe to recycle, don't recycle cancer
I must I haven’t read his book “Cradle to Cradle” but it’s now on my to-do list. I also recommend checking out his presentation earlier this year at TED. It’s available on-line or as a download via his TED pages:
It was a great session which reminded me of the AU2005 Orlando Presentation in it’s “whole project” approach. Thats not a bad thing as it was one of the best but it’s amazing how far the industry and technology has moved in just two years. I can’t wait to see Autodesk University 2008!