Despite liability issues, A/E/C
teams are benefiting from sharing their 3D models
following learning objectives to focus your study while
reading this months ARCHITECTURAL RECORD / AIA
Continuing Education article.
After reading this article, you will be able to:
what computer modeling can offer to the architectural
changes in business procedures that will result from
sharing computer models.
Describe how structural-steel systems will benefit from
Architectural computer modeling is not
just for Frank Gehry, FAIA, any longer, and he will be the
first to tell you. Gehry Technologies has been established
in Santa Monica, California, to offer digital products and
services in support of the building industry [record, December
2002, page 167]. Gehry Partners has long provided formal training
for its building team partners when they needed to incorporate
advanced technology applications into their businesses in
order to participate in Gehrys projects. Now Gehry Technologies
will make this type of education and related technology products
available to all building-industry members.
There are other architects, who, like
Gehry, have designed their own processes for in-house use.
Still others are developing products to assist in creating
parametric (intelligent) models, which expand or contract
with a click and a drag, while maintaining predetermined proportions
and producing new material takeoffs. Finally, many key manufacturers
are already equipped to produce building materials based on
While the use of 3D computer modeling
is still in its infancy, the signs of impending change are
clearest in the steel industry, where numerous detailers and
fabricators use computer models to manufacture structural
members. Many fabricators have highly skilled 3D computer
modelers and computer numeric controlled (CNC) machinery [Record,
November 2002, page 187].
Approaches to modeling structural steel
Kimon Onuma, AIA, invented Webscape to
help architects build intelligent object models. With offices
in South Pasadena, California, and Tokyo, Webscape and Onuma
Architects have worked together creating parametric computer
models of building types such as aircraft hangars and gymnasiums
for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at various undisclosed
An intelligent structural-steel
model of a hangar is viewed through an inventory
of members needed to construct it. Created by Webscape,
this parametric modelís database is preloaded so
quick changes generate immediate graphics, design
data, and cost analysis.
Using a Geometric Description Language
(GDL) developed by Graphisoft, Onuma is able to create building
models that can be instantly stretched and lengthened on a
computer through simple mouse clicks and drags. The models
are contained in a 50k to 100k file containing building material
databases and complex if-then formulas that help
determine parameters such as length of trusses, size of members,
the number of bolts required, and the amount of paint needed
to cover the surface area of the members.
Working with structural engineers
and using structural tables to set up the parametric model,
we were able to design a variety of hangars in a meeting with
the client and have the structural engineering 90 to 95 percent
complete at the end of the meeting, says Onuma. The
hanger model also includes information regarding cladding,
doors, windows, and other building systems and materials.