New Technology in Design by: Molly Macklin, Architect Intern

Computer-aided architectural design (CADD) software has undoubtedly become the main platform by which accurate and comprehensive records of design are represented by architects and engineers alike. Originating as a time-saving tool for designers by replacing manual drafting, CADD has certainly come a long way since its debut in the 1960s. Today’s new technologies in design software not only offer higher levels of efficiency and accuracy in the production of drawings, but also empower designers through 3-D tools and real-world simulations.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) allows us to go beyond traditional 2-D understanding. We now can envision, quantify and simulate our designs in real time. The following are several examples of the power of BIM as a design tool:

1) Because BIM is a 3-D representation of a project, a designer can provide clients with 3-D views of their project through the entire project timeline.

2) Instead of drawing lines that represent building components, the designer is inputting walls, floors, roofs, etc., embedded with information. This information can be utilized from conception through design and construction.

3) BIM provides clients with real-world simulations of their projects. Real-world walk-throughs help both the client and designer to envision space and realize potential problems during the design process.

4) Through the use of solar studies and running sun simulations at varying times of the year or a single day, designers are able to respond to accurate lighting effects and passive solar design opportunities.

5) BIM allows for constant collaboration. One of the most beneficial ways in which Schemmer uses this new design technology is by effectively linking all the disciplines on the design team into one cohesive building informational model that is constantly synchronized with one another. The design team runs interference checks on the model to see if there are any systems - whether it is architectural, structural, electrical or mechanical that overlap or interfere with another.

Ultimately, these advancements help the clients, designer and the overall project team to be more informed and better prepared. This results in successful projects and, ultimately, satisfied clients.