Architecture Building Sustainably

Revit is Changing the way Architects Draw


-Image from Seattle Daily Journal


Hello, I am an architect, and I have been using Revit for two months.

I am committing something here.

I’m learning Revit.

What a smart program.

The tool takes between three to six months to implement for full advantage. The profession of architecture, engineering, and building is at the cusp of changing how we get from A to B; how we get from dreaming to a standing building.  Revit holds the capability for architects to follow in a futuristic call-out from Le Corbusier. We are again making machines for living.  This time though with the computer’s aid to see in three dimension; the building components put together in a virtual space.

My previous poem is both a venting mechanism as well as it is trying to be smart. Collapsing ribbons, palates, and bounding edges are the terms one must become familiar with to enable smart building. The program is only as smart as the user and in these instances you have to get them right. The architect must first know how to building a building! Then, we must learn the capability of the program.

Thankfully, I received my first instruction by an architect, Mike Pappas, working for MESA out of Crafton, Pa. When he is not heading up the architectural department for CDM Smith in Pittsburgh, Mike is working on BIMworks, a developing company that will train and assist Revit users.

Mike’s mantra led eight students for four days. ‘Let’s build it the way it will be built.’ ‘Make it the way you make it.’ In Revit, ‘Put it in, then get it right.’

His enthusiasm over architecture and everything we offer to this world in terms of intelligent building was contagious. While teaching with quick-wit and straightforward answers he was demonstrating the role of the architect as we all dreamed of the times in ancient Rome when architects were held as high as the profession of medicine.

This tool, when used correctly, has the ability to allow owners to see the spaces during the design process. The program can produce exact quantities for cost estimates, and orchestrate refined materials and systems that couldn’t be accomplished comfortably with two-dimension drafting. Energy studies are sophisticated, as one can place the building on any earth location. By providing solutions during the design phase, the architect is offering a more precise building that will look and act as desired once constructed. As consultants begin linking all of their models to one central model, unforeseen conflicts can be worked out before they are revealed in the field. This translates into savings, avoiding costly change-orders and smarter systems that are guaranteed to work together. Building consultants from Landscape Architects to Roofing contractors can all work together to build a model that is much less expensive than building full-scale models that may not work exactly as planned. When hiring an architect this service is priceless.

Starting a Model:

Building a model takes time. The way architects have prepared proposals for prospective clients have changed as well. While the most time has historically been spent during the construction document phase, to build a better model, more time is spent during the initial phase of a project.

The transition from architect to builder has been truncated in the past, passing from one hand to another as soon as a cost has been assigned. Mike Pappas was sharing his thoughts on collective ownership of the model (the documents for construction), and the building itself between all three parties –the owner, the architect, and the contractor. We all have to work as a team. Mike called us the army of architects. We are the virtual building coordinators who should be offering integrated project delivery.

Back to the Blocks:

The time to build a smart computer model can be time-consuming. The architect must decide what to ‘build’ and what not to ‘build.’ Knowing what contractors need to erect a building requires familiarity with issued drawing sets and specifications. Architects act like editors in this respect. With the future comes a new way of grabbing on to old traditions. The hope is that we are smart enough to take the time to use technology as an end to making our profession and our way of life better, entirely.

Project managers are now technology organizers too; making sure items are locked and kept precise. All of this may sound like Greek, but all we’re doing is learning a new language, learning a new language, and learning a new language. With more exposure, the unfamiliar will become common.

As something different and new is introduced, one has the tendency to reflect on the situation holistically. Architects are reaching forward to something our ancestors knew very well; how to build a building. They depended on architects to actualize cities concurrent with the dreams of moving forward, and they valued people who really knew what it meant to think smartly.


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