Category Archives: modeling

T-Shaped BIM


Every now and then a simple, seemingly obvious concept comes around that transforms an entire industry. This post will introduce such a concept: the T-shaped BIM teammate.

Here, we are of course not talking about forming a T-shaped connection of walls in Revit. If you came here wanting to learn how to intersect walls in BIM, you’re a fool. Go here.

The rest of you, stick around. You might learn something important.

And, as in past posts, it is not actually BIM that is T-shaped – it is you. Or Tu – French and familiar for you.

Some people are put-off by the word collaboration – and for that reason I am going to refrain from using it again in this post.

For them – the word – implies compromise, time-wasting, money-wasting, talent-wasting, and perhaps worst of all, people- and process-oriented as opposed to product- or building-oriented interactions.

To them, people are impediments to progress, not the lubricant that makes things flow. Perpetually in search of workarounds –they work around people whom they believe keep them from completing their work. You know the type.The social case for BIM and Integrated Design

Integrated Design came into being for one reason and one reason alone: to achieve greater results for the owner and other project stakeholders. Including you.

There’s a compelling business case for working in integrated design: it enables the efficient and effective use of tools such as BIM and related technologies.

There’s a compelling technology case for working in integrated design: it potentially makes more efficient shared use of the software and work processes.

And there’s a compelling people case for working in integrated design: by colla- – by working with others, working together, cooperating traitorously or treasonously, sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus  – you and your team both can attain greater results.

Admittedly, not every project lends itself to the advantages of working co- co- co- together. For example, due to project size, schedule or client demands.

There’s another way to look at – working jointly – that may appeal to you more and potentially change the way you work from here on out.


The “|” in DIY

I used to work with someone who did it all himself. If there was a new program a project had to be accomplished in he’d learn it himself and do the work himself – even when he had several talented and eager others at his disposal. That way he knew the work was going to get done right. In a previous post I labeled this type of colleague’s approach DIY. I wrote about this concept – DIY vs. SxS – a while back here and will be speaking about it in a couple weeks at Christopher Parsons’s KA Connect 2010 here and here.

When he worked with others he thought he was delegating by handing-off tasks he didn’t want to do, but what he was doing was abdicating his role.

He was an “I” and as we know, there is no “I” in BIM

And as has been noted, no “I” in IPD either.

The T in archiTecT is more important, noteworthy, prominent and if you will, architectural, than the “I” in archItect or arch|tect which is divisive, isolating and dissenting.

“I” is a barrier – a barrier to co- co- co- cooperation – and as with the compelling and popular blog title Arch | Tech can imply a barrier between design and technology – or even design and construction – instead of stitching them together.

But the “|” doesn’t have to be an obstruction or impediment.

“|” can also be a net – as when Robert Frost famously opined that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net.

Which is how I interpret the “|” in Arch | Tech, as a net between design and technology, lobbying the BIM back and forth.

As well, for that matter, as the “|” in BIM – volleying the model back and forth between design and construction, weaving a single unified model for use by all.

But | digress.


The ideal T-shaped BIM teammate

Right now you’re happy to find an engineer or consultant that works in BIM. Period. No matter their shape – or what shape their in.

But in time, as BIM becomes ubimquitous, you will start to add another level of criteria as you put teams together.

You will start to require that all your Team members be T-shaped and you will want to Team with other T-shaped professionals.

And because They will want to Team with T-shaped Teammates, you will Take it upon yourself to become T-shaped yourself.

The ideal candidate/colleague/teammate working in BIM and Integrated Design has both of these qualities

  • Deep skills
  • Broad reach

The vertical “I” or “|” represents what you do well – your depth.

The horizontal bar across the top is your reach – reaching out to assist others.

And as importantly being assisted by them.

Place the bar atop the “I” and you get the T-shaped BIM Teammate.

By becoming T-shaped you are putting on two performances:

  • 1. results in your own position (the “I” or vertical stanchion) and
  • 2. results by co- co- conjugating with others on your team (the horizontal bar resting atop the “T”)

T-shaped BIM Teammates do two things really well. They

  • reciprocate in that they are willing to share information and ask for information when needed
  • are rewarded for their own performance as well as for contributing to others on the team

Read more about this important concept here and here.

What causes a person with deep skills but little wingspan to suddenly reach out to share information with her teammates? Namely this: empathy

Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO, alludes to the role empathy plays in the T-shaped person

We look for people who are so inquisitive about the world that they’re willing to try to do what you do. We call them “T-shaped people.” They have a principal skill that describes the vertical leg of the T — they’re mechanical engineers or industrial designers. But they are so empathetic that they can branch out into other skills, such as anthropology, and do them as well. They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behavior that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point — patterns that yield ideas.

You can read more about what Tim has to say On Being T-shaped here and read an incisive interview with Tim where he discusses being Mr. T here

Still not convinced – or for that matter – entertained? Then take this and call me in the morning.

It should be apparent by now that the T-bone concept may be new to BIM – but not to the world of IT and computing. The first citation to T-shaped people goes back almost 20 years to David Guest, “The hunt is on for the Renaissance Man of computing,” The Independent (London), September 17, 1991. Read it here.

Soon, our Integrated Design teams will be made up exclusively with T-shaped individuals.

Made up, that is, of archiTecTs, conTracTors, consultanTs and clienTs with both deep skills and wide reach.

In time, our teams will begin to resemble something of a T-shaped chorus line

TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

which, perchance, resembles a bridge or aqueduct

TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

an apt image and timeless symbol for carrying the client’s goals toward exceptional results.

Simply sea-changing.

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Filed under BIM, collaboration, design professionals, Integrated Design, modeling, people, process, workflow

My So-Called Parametric Life

This life has been a test. If this had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do.                                                                                                         Angela in “My So-Called Life” 1994

Is it just me or has life gone totally parametric? Perhaps only a BIM evangelist, BIMhead or BIMaholic would propose BIM as a metaphor for life. (Guilty as charged.) So, what does it mean to live a parametric life?

It is not, of course, that you are a Revit model or are about to become one. While that is for some a distant possibility, your story – the one you are putting out there, not your life but your so-called life – has become a Revit model. Have you noticed?

Ask yourself this: At any time in your previous life (BB = Before BIM, AC = After CAD) did you ever dream in CAD? Those who used to work in CAD would recognize the scenario where you go home at the end of a long day at the monitor and dream in CAD – dreaming that you are living in a 2D drawing – in a CAD world.

Living a Parametric Life

I am not asking what it means to dream in BIM or what it means to have BIM dreams. To work so hard and for so long in BIM that we start dreaming in…3 dimensions? We already do that and have for millennia. Little more than wearing 3D glasses to bed.

But living in BIM? That’s something else altogether. Living in BIM is something that we’re only now getting around to doing. We find ourselves living in BIM

  • because in some ways we’re well ahead of the technology, processing information and anticipating next moves that leaves the software – however well-intentioned – in the dust.
  • because we recognize some of the amazing things the process accomplishes and we want to model the behavior in our own lives.
  • because we know in our bones that BIM is the future – we get it – and we want to be part and parcel of this future.

We’re told over and over that the software thinks just like us – architects, contractors, whoever. But most of us have discovered, some the hard way, that we have come, over time, to think like the software. Revit doesn’t think like us – we’re thinking like Revit. That’s living in BIM.

I offer these 14 Rules for Living In, Out and Around BIM not as failsafe rules we need to follow – but to bring to our attention things we’re already doing right, right now, and ought to build on as we move forward. In other words, behavior – not buildings – that we ought to be modeling.

14 Rules for Living In, Out and Around BIM

  • Be the interoperability you want to see. The old words don’t apply – learn the new vocabulary and make sure that everyone you speak with understands how you are using these terms. You want to be speaking the same language, make sure you are working on the same page. Until the time comes when models talk with each other, and software speaks fluidly with complete comprehension, take it upon yourself to make sure you are speaking the same language with those you work with, no matter their role on the team. How can we expect our software to be interoperable if we aren’t?
  • A change anywhere is a change everywhere. You get the concept: Work you do in one part impacts the others. Parametrics, of course, is a distinguishing quality of building information modeling (BIM.) As with bidirectional associativity, a change anywhere is a change everywhere. There’s no escaping it – a change made in one place – compartment, area, phase – of your life impacts all the other places of your life. So be careful about what you change – whether your work habits, the way you communicate or how you operate within the team. Whatever you change about yourself will have repercussions throughout. Being parametric implies you’re consistent, you stay on-story, and you’re building not just a model but a brand. No matter how they cut you, you’re the same through and through.
  • Your space-keeper and workaround is someone else’s obstruction. The choices and decisions we make must have integrity because they will be repeated everywhere. What’s worse, you will be judged by the integrity of your information. If you are awaiting information and need to plug something in just to keep the ball moving – notify the team – especially contractors who view missing data as roadblocks, no matter your good intentions or justification. And don’t make a habit of it. Your goal ought to be to see how long you can keep the plates spinning.
  • You can’t step into the same model twice. A model is more like a river than a thing. Your contribution to the building of the model has more to do with the communication of information than the rock-solid enclosure you consider your domain. We’re not designing objects or things (and never really were) – but flows, communicating information to others. The model you jump into and help out on today is not the same model you worked on yesterday – especially if you’re working on an integrated team. The more you can think in terms of systems and flows the better off you’ll be.
  • Run an internal clash detection of your team before starting on the project. Look for supportive personalities, learners, those who are passionate and excited to work, those who enjoy what they do and for whom working in BIM – and ideally on this particular project – was a choice. And weed out the devil’s advocates and other contrarians – unless the criticism is constructive, regularly leading to decisions and action, offering alternatives when one course is shot down.
  • Consistency is king. Aim for an inherent consistency to everything you do. Take LOD. Make sure your team knows what level of detail (LOD) you are modeling to. That each part of the model has the same level of detail. Think of detail in terms of levels – as in levels of detail – that are built upon. A conceptual model ought to have conceptual level of detail throughout the model. Same with a model used for energy analysis, for quantity take-offs and estimating, for fabrication. And so on. Like roughing out a sketch – you start with the basic shapes, then you fill in detail, until the image is fleshed out. So too with the consistency of the information you impart. If you are job hunting – don’t, under your “Reading on Amazon” widget – have the 4-Hour Work Week as your recommended book. It undermines your message. Use LinkedIn’s book section to reinforce your message or let others know what you’re reading – but stay on-message. That goes for your work both in the model and on your team. Don’t say one thing and do another. That’s so CAD.
  • What you see is what you get. Your model is only as good as the information that you put in it. Garbage in, garbage out. There’s no hiding anymore. So be real. There’s no faking it either– who we are and what we do are expected to be real, so be real. Hemingway had what he called a built-in bullshit detector. All the best writers have this. You need to develop or acquire this talent for yourself. And be aware that those working but upstream and downstream from you have their turned up on high.
  • Decisions are consequences. We’re no longer designing objects or things, but courses of action. Our decisions impact others – we need to be aware of the consequences for our courses of action on every facet of  the team and process. Look at every decision you make in terms of whom it impacts both upstream and downstream.
  • While you model the building, model your behavior. Think of each team and project you are on as an opportunity to put in an exemplary performance. You are serving as a role model for others whether you are aware of it or not. And as with raising kids, your behavior – the way you act and perform – is worth 10X the impact of your words.
  • Perform an expectation audit. How you see the model/what you do might be different from how others see it – ask them how they plan on using the model – then try as best you can to accommodate them. Ask the contractor early on how they plan on using the model, what level of detail they would like to see in the model, then try to accommodate them. If money is an issue, discuss being compensated or remunerated with the owner.
  • Play well with others even if your software doesn’t. Another way of saying get in the habit of behaving as though the software does what you want it to do – because the time will come, soon – when it will. You want to be ready for when the day arrives. Better the technology plays catch-up, not you.
  • Your model doesn’t limit itself to 3D. Why should you? Don’t limit yourself to 3 dimensions. What about a 4D you and a 5D you? If you are doing your job and even doing it well you might be selling yourself sort – by a dimension or two. Look for ways you can be contributing beyond your title and role. Because when you work on an integrated team, you are more – much more – than these labels. Yes, you need to perform and do the work that has been assigned to you, your teammates are relying on you for this. Your model isn’t limited to 3D – nor are you. What would the 4D version of yourself look like? But the true value of working collaboratively is the way you keep others – and their focus – in your peripheral vision – just of your own cone of focus. Look for ways to cut time – and save money – for others, and be prepared to make these suggestions before the subjects come up. Always keep an eye on the horizon – and the topic of the next team meeting.
  • Ask yourself: If I was the model what else would I do? What else can I provide that others may need? Your original intention for your model may have been to use the model for one thing – but what if you also used it for a rendering? For an animation? As a database to run energy applications? Similarly – ask yourself: what else can you do or provide that others may need? How else can you push the envelope on yourself in terms of what you can add in the way of value at this time, for these team members, on this project?
  • Are you leveraging the technology of your team? Look around you – at those seated at the table. Do they have certain skillsets, experience or resources that you could leverage to help you to meet and even surpass your goals? You leverage the deep capability of the software and virtual model – why not leverage these same attributes and qualities in those you count on every day to come through for you?

Your turn: Can you think of Rules for Living In, Out and Around BIM that are missing here, that you might add or rules you see that clash with this model?

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Filed under BIM, BIM expert, collaboration, modeling, process, workflow

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tips and Tricks?

There are two approaches you can take to BIM at mid-career.

1. You can play the role of experienced architect and – in the classic architect/apprentice fashion – sit beside the agile BIM operator reciprocally feeding your building technology input in exchange for their BIM magic.

2. Master BIM yourself and become the real deal, all-in-one, all-of-a-piece, master virtual builder. BIM operator not included. Some rules apply.

The Side-by-Side Approach

The first approach has the advantage of using your current skill sets and experience to help move projects along while advancing emerging professionals in their understanding of how buildings come together. At the same time, the emerging architect – working in BIM – has the opportunity to

  • inform you of what they discover in the model,
  • what works and doesn’t work,
  • where there are gaps in the information and
  • where coordination may be needed.

The relationship is reciprocal and there’s a clear symbiosis to it. As one mentors “up,” the other mentors “down,” and there is an evening-out – a flattening – of any perceived or actual hierarchy. Working in BIM, privy to important information before anyone else, the emerging architect feels empowered. Working alongside the BIM operator, the senior professional is

  • assured that the building is coming together effectively,
  • grateful not to have to pass along redlines wondering if they were understood and addressed correctly, and
  • intrinsically rewarded knowing that she has passed along some hard-won lessons and experience to the next generation.

Advantages of the mid-career architect’s mind

Mid-career architects may have an advantage that gives them a leg-up on learning BIM – both the technology and collaborative work process. So it is no longer only experience, wisdom and hard-earned professional judgment that distinguish the experienced architect.

A well-known and well-regarded architect and educator I interviewed for my book recently described the difference between young designers and older designers saying that older designers have the ability to manage an increasingly larger set of variables. He went on:

When I was working for x, one of the amazing things about him – he could keep so many things in his head and he could balance them and weigh one against the other and he could edit out what he called the systematic generation of useless alternatives. He would prevent us from going down that avenue. A lot of the sorts of things that are transactional – does the building work from a fire code perspective, do we have the right orientation for the sun – a lot of that stuff is going to be supported by analytical algorithms, which I do believe for good designers will change the nature of the design process.

As Tara Parker-Pope recently discovered, “Recently, researchers have found…the brain, as it traverses middle age, gets better at recognizing the central idea, the big picture.”

Architects are trained to see both the big picture – and the minutest detail – at one and the same time. One could assume that the mid-career architect would then have an advantage on seeing the big picture, perhaps pointing to mid- and later- career opportunities for architects working in BIM and Integrated Design

The presence and example of mid-career and experienced architects in the workplace is absolutely critical to the success of projects and the firms in which they are designed, modeled and documented.

The DIY Approach

The second approach involves

  • learning the software – and the collaborative work process
  • unlearning habits you picked up along the way – including thinking in CAD
  • attaining an open and flexible mindset and attitude toward change
  • being easy on yourself when problems occur or trouble appears

Change, a timely subject, with Oscar contender Crazy Heart ‘s Jeff Bridges living the “it’s never too late” theme. For it is never too late for mid-careerists to learn a few new tips and tricks.

Several studies indicate that it takes 21 days to break a habit, while others say it takes longer. “It takes between 30 and 60 days of doing the same thing over and over again on a daily basis to create a new habit or break an old one,” says Larry Tobin, co-creator of Habitchanger.com. “We all walk around on a daily basis with habits that are detrimental to our productivity.”

But are we really calling CAD a habit in need of change, replacing it with a new habit called BIM – a two-step process whereby you call out the bad habit (CAD) and identify its well-documented and acknowledged negative consequences and create an alternative action in its place (BIM.)

Or are we talking here not about habit change but about learning a whole new technology, mindset and work process – the whole shebang?

Two questions

Can mid-career architects learn BIM? And should mid-career architects be learning BIM?

The first is a question of the middle-aged brain and its capacities. The short answer is Yes.

The second is a business and professional question: one having to do with roles, identity, profitability, ROI, personal growth and development. This second question is more situational – while it is a business question, and a career one, it is also frankly, a personal decision.

The money factor does come up. At their hourly rates, especially as firms aim to work leaner and more efficiently and effectively – does it make sense to see a 48 year old working in Revit vs. sitting alongside a younger BIM operator, one hand on computer technology, the other on building technology.

Will mid-careerists be able to not only change but keep up? Absolutely. It all comes first and foremost down to attitude and mindset. It involves giving up past ways of working that are at once familiar and comfortable – but detrimental to your work, progress and ultimately your indispensability.

To do so mid-career architects will need to reinvent themselves. The world, industry and profession is not the same world we inhabited just a few years ago. So we will need to change, adjust and adapt. When things return – we won’t be returning to the way things used to be. The old formulas simply don’t apply anymore.

For most, learning the technology is a no-brainer, a non-question: KFA offers a half-day quick start training course in BIM that will get you off and running, and resellers offer some powerful 3-day workshops, not to mention tutorials, online and old school. Several of the IT experts I interviewed for my book scoff at the idea that learning to master BIM is even difficult. They don’t even question whether 50 year olds can learn it. It all really comes down to what you want, where you want to see yourself 5-10 years down the road.

Three Career Phases

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Dante Alighieri, age 35, was halfway through his biblically allotted seventy years when he wrote these magisterial words. One typically defines a mid-career professional as someone who is 35-50 years old, has worked in their field for at least 10 years, and is at least 10 years from retirement. By this definition, Dante was a mid-career professional.

Forgetting roles – project manager, project architect and project designer – and titles – associate, etc – for a moment, an architect’s career has roughly three phases:

  • post-college “emerging architect”
  • mid-careerist “re-emerging architect” and
  • experienced architect

It is best for the mid-career design professional to think of themselves today as re-emerging. Given the economic conditions we are currently subjected to, we are all – or soon will be – re-emerging professionals. The world has undergone some massive changes in the past several years and along with it the industry and profession. When work returns we will all be re-emerging with the economy, with building owners, with each other.

Architects who are working at capacity (the minority,) at under-capacity or not at all (the remainder) – are re-emerging mid-career into a bright new world brought about by three forces: sustainability, technology and business – or roughly speaking LEED, BIM and IPD. For more on this theme, see Scott Simpson’s brilliant designintelligence blog post on the same.

So, how to train a re-emerging architect? There are 4 steps the mid-career architect needs to assume before taking a first step into this bright new world.

1. First, assure yourself that all is not for naught

2. Next, obliterate the myths you may have mistakenly come to believe as gospel

3. Resolve to learn – and master – a new trade or skill

4. Once underway, keep a daily log off your progress – and rate your progress every day

NYC author and blogger Gretchen Rubin has as one of her resolutions in her excellent new book, The Happiness Project, to Master a New Technology. She writes,

“Once I got through the painful learning curve, it was fun. The novelty and challenge of mastering the technology – though I was maddened with frustration at times – did give me enormous satisfaction, and it gave me a new way to pursue my passion…”

If you haven’t done so already, learn BIM – the technology and the process. If unemployed, invest in yourself and join the Autodesk Assistance Program, where even mid-career architects are considered students. The program has been extended through March 2010 so you can take advantage of it.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
Susan Jeffries

Think of it as training. Why training? Because in 2010 we will need to reinvent ourselves to adapt to a changing world, industry and profession – and to do so there is no better way than to train. Why would you continue to do the same things over and over when you already know what the outcome is going to be IF you are looking for a different outcome? Or, as Albert Einstein put it, The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Training the Mid-Career Brain

The New York Times recently ran a popular story on How to Train the Aging Brain by health blogger Tara Parker-Pope.

In the story – and the informative comments that follow the article, many long-held views, including the one that 40 percent of brain cells are lost, are overturned. We learn that brains continue to develop, neurons continue to multiply, synapses continue to connect (even if neural connections progressively weaken with disuse and age,) through and past middle age.

As Pope and Barbara Strauch in the New York Times explains, “What is stuffed into your head may not have vanished but has simply been squirreled away in the folds of your neurons.” Much the way that information can be buried inside a BIM model. For those fortysomethings that can regularly access deeply folded information in their own minds may hold the key for where to place information in the model so that it is readily accessible by all.

With a brain already full of well-connected pathways, adult learners should “jiggle their synapses a bit” by confronting thoughts that are contrary to their own, says Dr. Taylor, Kathleen Taylor, a professor at St. Mary’s College of California, who is 66.

She asks: Is there a way to train the middle-aged brain to do better?

To learn more, read the full story, “How to Train the Aging Brain,” and read the discussion.

Myths dispelled

Over the years we’ve been led to believe many myths concerning the brain that just aren’t true:

The 10% myth (that you only use 10 percent of your brain)

The brain doesn’t grow new cells myth  (certain areas in the brain—including the hippocampus where new memories are created and the olfactory bulb the scent-processing center—regularly generate new brain cells)

The memory loss is inevitable myth (no, memory loss isn’t inevitable as we grow older)

The videogames are bad for you myth

The you can’t change your brain myth (Your brain changes constantly in response to your experiences retaining its basic “plasticity” well past midcareer)

The people lose brain cells every day and eventually just run out myth (you grow new brain cells creating new connections, or prevent the ones you have from withering, when you exercise your brain)

And one myth especially pertinent to mid-career architects,

The memory decline is inevitable as we age myth

The Oldest Profession

Architects not only need to consider working longer due to increased life spans, but also due to the economy stalling their retirement – if they ever intended to retire. Historically, architects tend to retire late as it is and some it seems never retire. Oscar Neimeyer recently returned back to work after surgery. He is 101. Which supports the truism that architects never retire.

Witold Rybczynski recently asked why architects don’t ever retire. For many that have seen their retirement accounts dwindle, this may seem like an insensitive and moot question. Architects may quip that they want to spend whatever time they have left working, but given that they have more time to learn – how is it best to use that time? Retrain for a new career? Learn new technology to enhance or reinforce a current position? Will learning BIM – the technology and collaborative work process – help to make mid-career design professionals indispensible?

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Filed under BIM, BIM employment, collaboration, design professionals, education, IPD, modeling, people, process

The Sweet Necessity of a BIM-IPD Group Meeting


David Ivey’s Chicago BIM-IPD Group meets every last Thursday of the month at HOK’s beautiful offices in Chicago’s Loop. Other cities have BIM-IPD groups: NYC, Seattle, San Francisco among a dozen others. But there’s something happening here on the 14th floor in the main conference room on these nights that can only be described as necessary and magical.

That’s not to say one city’s group is better than another. In the spirit of Integrated Design there is in fact a great deal of sharing of knowledge and information between the groups. Sometimes a member from one city’s group will show up at another and present what their group is up to. Case in point: Chicago’s group recently hosted special guest, Christopher Parsons, founder of Knowledge Architecture (www.knowledge-architecture.com) and the San Francisco BIM Users Group.

The typical meeting has presentations, surveys, discussions, Q and A sessions in the light and expansive conference room pictured here – it’s hard not to be inspired. And the 90 minutes fly by fast. Best of all, for an hour and a half each month, you are made to feel quintessentially relevant and in-the-know.

Headed-up by HOK’s David Ivey – an Associate and CAD and BIM Manager at HOK since 2005, a regular speaker at McGraw-Hill’s BIM and IPD panels and a leader in the ACE Mentor Program of America – Dave does a magnificent job of organizing and running these meetings. Dave’s a true firm leader-in-the-making and an inspiration to all who attend. He is completely onboard when it comes to sharing non-proprietary information with the group – much in keeping with HOK’s reputation for sharing, collaboration and transparency. It is almost impossible to attend one of his meetings and not walk away feeling smarter, more self-assured and excited to be part of a happening movement. As importantly, given that the Midwest – in comparison with the coasts – is somewhat of a latecomer to BIM and IPD, these meetings help assure that Chicago has in time caught up with his big city brethren.

Chicago BIM-IPD Group is a diverse gathering – Crate and Barrel’s John Moebes and University clients have attended, Kristine Fallon and Michael Bordenaro are regulars – made up of contractors, engineers, architects, IT specialists, firm owners, authors, trainers, educators, software resellers and consultants.

Last night, Mark Anderson, the enterprising, energetic and entertaining VP of IT for Environmental Systems Design – one of Chicago’s largest and consistently most innovative MEP consultants – spoke about ESD’s inroads into BIM. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • As it is best to start off with a pilot project, their first real Revit job happened to be the 3 million SF Masdar City, the world’s first carbon-neutral zero waste city, with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.
  • Finding that creating custom content takes a great deal of effort and time, they purchased an entire library of content – 3000 Revit fully parametric families in all to go along with their custom models
  • Mark was quoted as saying: “We’re making content like crazy,” with 2-3 people devoted to it at all times.
  • One key take-away from Mark’s talk is this: some design professionals complain that MEP consultants have dragged their feet when it comes to adopting and implementing BIM and the collaborative work processes enabled by it. Not the case at all, according to ESD. The software has lagged for engineers – behind architecture, structural and civil – and only of late has caught up. Not that that stopped them from taking-on the challenge and doing the hard work of change involved – though only recently has it allowed them to excel at it.
  • Of 220 current employees, 60 are trained in Revit and of those perhaps 20 could be put on a project today with the full assurance that they could run with it from go. And that number is growing.
  • Mark played a 3D animation of a BIM model ESD had created for Chicago’s Dirksen Building. Set to music, upon completion the movie set off a round of applause.
  • An IIT student who works in the firm discovered that Navisworks has many of the same visualization features as 3D Studio Max – and so suggested that they use Navisworks not only for coordination but for visualization and animation.
  • Not quite yet direct to fabrication, it became apparent, with one eye on future opportunity, growth and positioning,  that ESD has several in-house special task forces dedicated to taking the technology – and work processes – to the next level.
  • Mark played an informative commercial film, featuring Mark and his team, created by HP to play-up ESD’s use of their equipment.

The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A, one earnest inquiry after the other, each attendee hanging on every last word, trying to work out for herself this still mysterious process. How are we going to make it work? How are we going to make money at this? How do we best position ourselves for the future? What determines when a job is going to be a Revit job?

Perhaps it was just the thought of freezing wind and freshly falling snow that kept everyone in their seats well past 7PM on this cold winter night as Mark fielded question after question. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was instead because everyone sensed something quite magical and new was happening in this seminal and well-lit conference room above Chicago’s Loop. That, perhaps, we were really onto something here.

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BIM as though People Mattered

If you want to foster creativity and excellence, you have to introduce some boundaries. Teams need some privacy from one another to develop unique approaches to any kind of competition. Scientists need some time in private before publication to get their results in order. Making everything open all the time creates what I call a global mush. Jaron Lanier You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

 

This post will introduce you to a book that will change society and alter the future.

But first, some back story.

The other night I was parked outside a bike shop near my home whose storefront window read: Body Machine Integration (BMI)

Being at one with their vehicle clearly appealed to the somnambulist bicyclists inside.

Sometimes Building Information Modeling (BIM) has us feeling like Bodily Integrated Machines (BIM).

After a long day modeling it is easy to feel like we have to call someone over to our workstation to pry us away from our machines.

We now work and live in environments where the line between you and your screen is becoming thinner and thinner.

Promotional materials for BIM products suggests that they “think like an architect” but all too often you discover that you have to think like your software.

This is old stuff for those that have worked in CAD – who, after a long day at work, would fall asleep at night only to dream that they were inserted in a CAD drawing.

Thinking in abbreviated commands and talking in macros.

MIT’s William J. Mitchell has long warned – or promised, depending on your outlook –  about our evolving into cyborgs.

But that’s not the book, nor the author, that will make a sign post of 2010.

Voodoo Architecture

So I naturally googled Body Machine Integration for architects and came up with…Archibots? Archibots are the latest thing in the emerging area of “Architectural Robotics” – intelligent and adaptable physical environments at all scales.

It is somewhat comforting to know that this is about robotic technologies embedded in the built environment – not people. 

Soon you’ll have the opportunity to hire one of these to do your drafting – or better yet, input information into your BIM.

Archibots: a workshop on intelligent and adaptable built environments was held last Fall by students at Clemson U.

The second fragment of this stop-motion video from the event – from a collection of stop-motion vision videos created by participants in the Archibots workshop – indicates the possibility of modifying an as-built BIM model has the parallel effect on the actual built building the model represents. Almost like a voodoo doll.

Voodoo architecture where you modify the model and the building changes.

My office is missing! Who left the model unlocked again?!

Imagine where you drag-and-drop materials and textures off of your laptop screen onto adjacent surfaces.

And they become those surfaces.

Where the line between you and your screen disappears, the two become indistinguishable.

It gets you thinking about where things are going (holograms, artificial intelligence, singularity, according to designintelligence.)

One day, everyday robotics embedded in our built environment will increasingly support and augment work, school, entertainment, leisure activities – as well as the construction industry – in an increasingly digital society.

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Which brings us to Jaron Lanier, the 1980s Silicon Valley dreadlocked visionary who coined the term virtual reality and was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the internet would bring to the worlds commerce and culture, and has now written a long-awaited book: You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, an editor’s selection Best Book of the Month.

You Are Not a Gadget is being called “a useful, respectful dialogue about how we can shape technology to fit culture’s needs, rather than the way technology currently shapes us.”

It is also being called a “most thought-provoking, human, and inspiring critique of the computerized world of information that has yet been written.”

In the book, Lanier discusses the technical and cultural problems that can grow out of poorly considered digital design, and cautions against the current Web 2.0 fad which elevates the wisdom of the hive mind over the intelligence and judgment of individuals.

In You Are Not a Gadget, Lanier argues that the idea of collective is smarter than the individual is wrong. Why is this?

Here’s Jaron Lanier on Collaboration: There are some cases where a group of people can do a better job of solving certain kinds of problems than individuals. One example is setting a price in a marketplace. Another example is an election process to choose a politician. All such examples involve what can be called optimization, where the concerns of many individuals are reconciled. There are other cases that involve creativity and imagination. A crowd process generally fails in these cases. The phrase “Design by Committee” is treated as derogatory for good reason. That is why a collective of programmers can copy UNIX but cannot invent the iPhone.

Biological cells have walls, academics employ temporary secrecy before they publish, and real authors with real voices might want to polish a text before releasing it. In all these cases, encapsulation is what allows for the possibility of testing and feedback that enables a quest for excellence. To be constantly diffused in a global mush is to embrace mundanity.

Here’s Jaron Lanier on Intellectual Content: On one level, the Internet has become anti-intellectual because Web 2.0 collectivism has killed the individual voice. It is increasingly disheartening to write about any topic in depth these days, because people will only read what the first link from a search engine directs them to…Or, if the issue is contentious, people will congregate into partisan online bubbles in which their views are reinforced. I don’t think a collective voice can be effective for many topics, such as history–and neither can a partisan mob. Collectives have a power to distort history in a way that damages minority viewpoints and calcifies the art of interpretation. Only the quirkiness of considered individual expression can cut through the nonsense of mob–and that is the reason intellectual activity is important.

A must read.

BIM as though people mattered

Here are 10 things you can do to keep the body-machine integration at bay – and help you to remain you human and keep your feelings alive – while building information models:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Sit in front of a favorite painting at the museum over lunch
  • Read a poem
  • Keep your passion for architecture alive by revisiting the work you love & admire
  • Or get a daily dose of architecture here
  • Know yourself, your preferences, by cutting out things that appeal to you at a visceral level (no thinking required) and by keeping a file of these images
  • Keep a list of the things you know for certain that you like, love, enamor and return to it often for sustenance
  • Read The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
  • Keep your passion for work alive by remaining awake at work
  • Listen to your favorite music every day (you know where to find it)
  • Watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, A Single Man or another film directed by a visual artist

What are some of the things you recommend doing to keep it real and stay human in the face of the technological forces at work?

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BIM and Integrated Design’s 17 Most Pressing Issues for the Decade

“The most fruitful and natural exercise of our mind, in my opinion, is discussion. I find it sweeter than any other action of our life.”

— Montaigne

Before we can all work cooperatively and compatibly, sharing information and models, working together for common goals, several pressing questions must first be addressed.

These are the most critical BIM, IPD and LEED issues I am currently wrestling with. Your insights here would not only be appreciated – they’re necessary – to keep the ball on track and moving forward. Are these the most important questions to address as we start 2010? Are there more urgent inquiries requiring our attention first?

BIM User Interface and Learning Curve – this may seem preposterous for those who have been working in a BIM environment since the stone age but newcomers and those still wrestling with stair design and object creation are left to ask: who designed this software (engineers, marketing teams?) why is it designed this way (to mesh with our product line, not human users like you,) and what are they going to do about it? For these reasons BIM has been more readily adopted by emerging professionals than by those in mid-career.

BIM and Gender – at the risk of coming across as sexist – it is a widely known observation that males have an easier time visualizing 3D models and spaces. “A male advantage in the ability to generate and mentally manipulate spatial representations of geometric and other figures has been well established in studies conducted in North America and in a host of European nations.” Results from these studies support male superiority in 3D spatial cognition independent from culture.  Anyone that has been privileged to spend even 5 minutes at Laura Handler’s blog will think this to be ludicrous, but does BIM, unlike CAD, put female design and construction professionals at a disadvantage, requiring additional effort on their part to achieve the same – or better – results?

Designing in BIM – currently BIM software is overly answer-dependent, requiring too much exacting data at a time when designers need to be loose, flexible and open-ended with their questions to be most effective. Conceptual and Schematic Design will continue to be worked-out in Rhino and Sketch-Up until BIM learns to truly think like an architect – as it purports to – and less like a contractor. If the architect’s core competency continues to be comfort with ambiguity, BIM will need to make room for uncertainty, mystery and other vagaries of creation.

Learning BIM and Integrated Design – the topic of my last two posts: Where BIM, IPD and LEED ought to be learned? In school, in the workforce, or on our own? With school curricula already overburdened and slow to change, is BIM and IPD work processes, mindsets and attitudes something best left to each student and emerging professional to pick up on their own?

Will Integrated Design Succeed only by Coercion? Or instead, altruism? For IPD to work must we resort to force? Will it only be utilized as a delivery method and BIM-enabled process when the Owner demands it? Must Integrated Design wait for attorneys and insurers to work out the details? When will participants willingly, proactively – w/o coercion – work with others in a cooperative manner? What does the ultimate pay-off need to be to see this succeed?

IPD Contractual Issues need ironing-out before industry-wide adoption – or require a delivery method rethought from scratch? If the owner, contractor and architect are to share information, risk and reward – the stakes need to be more evenhanded. Currently, the architect has the most to lose when considering that they are taking-on more of the responsibility, means and methods (normally contractually prohibited to the design team) and financial risk – territories outside their jurisdiction and expertise not to mention comfort zone. Next the contractor and lastly, the owner.

The Role of Midcareer Professionals Working in the BIM Environment – will they find their place sitting alongside BIM operators, applying their experience, willing to mentor-up and mentor-down? An especially critical question for those that have hoped to make it to retirement without having to take-on a whole new technology and way of practice. Will these more experienced professionals – with the unique ability to see the big picture and minutest detail all at once – be willing and able to adopt and adapt to this new environment?

The Impact of the Recession on LEED, BIM and Integrated Design Adoption and Implementation. Those recently laid-off – or underemployed – will they be able to seek and receive adequate training in BIM and IPD processes? Will this effort translate to jobs? If not immediately put into practice, as so often happens to the newly trained, will these individuals lose all they have gained and in doing so, lose hope as well? Will these candidates opt to find work, if and where available, in non-traditional practices or even outside the profession and/or industry?

Will Architects be able to Adapt to the Changes – of BIM technology and work processes – so effectively adopted by contractors in the last year? Will this decade see the architecture profession dissipate, morph into something else, or grow in resolve despite – or even because of – these changes? Will contractors take the lead – creating some kind of hybrid practitioner? Will architects rise to the occasion – taking on a leadership role in the process, returning to some version of the Master Builder, or instead be willing and able to participate in a new formation of the Master Virtual Builder team?

Who Will Lead the BIM and Integrated Design process? Architects, Contractors or Owners – or some new combination of these entities? Repeat clients get the benefits of working with the Integrated Design process, while newcomers and first-time Owners don’t. Who will master the communication skills necessary to describe, explain and justify a process that potentially can benefit all involved?

What Will the Next New Technologies and Work Processes Be? And will architects become disciplined and proficient enough with the current technologies and work processes to be able to identify, adopt and implement the next big thing – such as design-by-computation, drawing-free design – on the horizon, in  an effort to bring greater results for the owner and public-at-large?

BIM and LEED – Will harnessing the power of BIM and the integrated work process enabled by it ultimately result in a positive impact of the built environment?

Who Owns the Rights to the BIM Model? Who is responsible for the information contained in the model? When does the hand-off occur between the architect and contractor who often need to refine the model for use in construction as well as for use in clash-detection and coordination? Does a hand-off even need to occur? How can architects ask this question without resorting to protection of ownership and territory – helping the team move forward and reach its goals together? How can architects be encouraged to share their models with all involved? Who will make the first move?

The Question of Insurance – Still in a “wait and see” mode, insurers are supposedly awaiting the results and outcomes of the first IPD contracted projects and how they hold up under real life conditions. How long will this take and will someone introduce a workable workaround to bypass this impediment to progress?

One Model ideal vs. Many Models – For a truly integrated project – the one comprehensive model project, shared by all parties, would seem to be ideal. File size can be dealt with quite readily – and interoperability is on its way. That said, must we resolve to live in a multiple model world?

Existing Buildings, BIM and LEED – What impact, if any, will the widespread reuse and restoration of our existing structures – and infrastructure – have on improving energy use and the environment? And what role will BIM and Integrated Design play in this purview? Will design professionals be the keepers of the data and metrics serving as evidence of BIM, IPD and LEED’s impact on owner’s next projects?

How and When Will Architects Get Along? With everyone, not least of which, each other. Architects need to relearn how to play well with others and together. Whether that means going back to what Louis Kahn called “Volume Zero” or kindergarten, relearning to share, communicate orally and verbally, accept some risk, trust and collaborate ought to be front and center concern and focus for every architect willing to enter this bright new world before us.

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The Future of Practice

I had the opportunity over the weekend to attend end-of-semester case study presentations by 6 teams of IIT graduate students taking part in the College of Architecture’s inaugural Master of Integrated Building Delivery degree program. Headed by Assistant Professor John Durbrow, the course was taught by Aaron Greven, owner of AG Design Works with one foot in architecture and the other in construction, where he masterfully mediates and positively influences the two.  IIT’s program is one of 60 or so BIM and/or IPD programs currently offered at universities worldwide. For a few hours in the lower level of Crown Hall on a sunny Saturday I witnessed what will no doubt be the future of practice.

The course in general utilized lectures, presentations by practicing professionals and off-site field trips to investigate new and emerging technologies and develop a detailed understanding of IPD. The students who presented had been studying integrated practices and the technology that facilitates collaboration across a broad range of building projects and participants. They developed case studies and collected unique stories of 6 projects’ successes and challenges working with BIM in integrated and collaborative processes, including the Tucson Convention Center Addition and Hotel; Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago; Crate & Barrel, Toronto; Optima Camelview Village Scottsdale, AZ; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and the University of Chicago – New Hospital Pavilion.

All-in-all the presentations were informative, describing research gathered on a wide range of topics related to the practice of architecture and the construction of significant buildings at all scales.

Here are some of my take-aways and observations from the presentations – with an eye on the big picture:

  • Content Representation I. If the AEC industry is experiencing a fundamental change in how services are delivered, and BIM and IPD represent paradigms in how these services are communicated and delivered, one might question the wisdom of delivering all the presentations in PowerPoint, perhaps the most conventional of means.
  • Content Representation II. If the medium is the message (Marshall McLuhan) and the message is the new work processes require collaboration – then IPD presentations ought to reflect this collaborative work effort. Team members ought to at least be aware of the material fellow classmates are presenting so as not to repeat – or at least to build-on – their content. In lieu of standard linear presentations where each student speaks at the lectern for 6 minutes and 40 seconds and then hands-off to the next student (the inapt image of silos comes to mind) a more imaginative – and consistent – (re)presentation might mirror the give-and-take of collaborative teamwork. Listing of project facts could be placed in a comparison matrix, approximating the parametric wonder of the technology that enables the IPD process. At the very least the presentations ought to appear integrated: fonts, style, etc.
  • Content Integration. If Integrated Project Delivery (IPD,) or here referred to as Integrated Design, is a project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices – then the content of the presentations ought to be integrated into a working whole.
  • Production Efficiencies. If IPD is to be a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction – then presentations on the subject ought to be exemplary examples to this effect. If fundamental changes in the process of delivering buildings are about to revolutionize the structure and practice of architectural design, when given 15-20 minutes to present – a talk on IPD that continues on 50-100% over the time limit can’t possibly serve as a proponent of the process. If anything, it makes a mockery of it. A presentation that runs over in terms of schedule can justifiably be seen as wasteful the instructor’s, classmates and visiting critic’s time. If the habits, attitudes, mindsets and practices required of IPD cannot be mastered in school – how should we expect them to be practiced in the real world?
  • Role and Identity. To its credit, the program recognizes that the role of the architect at the realization of current industry changes is not yet clearly defined, but it is recognized that it will be significantly altered from that of today. This critical, and admittedly quite scary, topic was discussed – obliquely by the presenters, more directly between the presentations – and perhaps ought to have been addressed directly as one of the observations made of each project presented by the presenting team. IIT has introduced the new curriculum to ensure that graduates are prepared for a rewarding and significant role in the emergent state of the profession – whatever that role may be.

Architecture school curricula are already overburdened with course requirements. How on earth are they to fit in courses involving the learning of BIM, let alone a thorough working understanding of IPD, where students are currently required to complete their degrees with demonstrated ability in Speaking and Writing Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, Graphics Skills, Research Skills, Use of Precedents, Human Behavior, Accessibility, Sustainable Design, Program Preparation, Site Conditions, Building Materials and Assemblies, Construction Cost Control, Architectural Practice, Leadership, Legal Responsibilities, Ethics and Professional Judgment, Life Safety, Building Envelope Systems, Structural Systems, Environmental Systems and Fundamental Design Skills amongst others?

Here’s how. By placing the BIM model at the center – and learn the various areas of concentration working from the model. What better way to garner a deep and meaningful understanding of structures, environmental systems, sustainability and so on than from the building model that you have virtually conceived and built?

As for IPD, since Building Information Modeling is already the primary communication basis of IPD, course content such as collaborative work practices, leadership, legal and ethical responsibilities, can be covered much as construction-related topics are: from the model. Additionally, students currently learn several of the hallmarks of Integrated Design, including Learning Collaborative Skills (the ability to recognize the varied talent found in interdisciplinary design project teams in professional practice and work in collaboration with other students as members of a design team,) already an NAAB requirement for graduation, as well as Building Systems Integration (the ability to assess, select, and conceptually integrate structural systems, building envelope systems, environmental systems, life-safety systems, and building service systems into building design.)

Degree programs, such as IIT’s still nascent but growing one, builds upon what is already a requirement of every graduating student and provides a promising glimpse at what will come to be in the years ahead.

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BIM and the Human Condition

Craft is the pride one takes in making – making things – with one’s hands, mind and imagination. Two books that address craft – one recent and one published 50 years ago – help make clear the predicament architects find themselves in today as they face an uncertain future.

In The­_Craftsman, author and sociologist Prof. Richard Sennett asks what the process of making concrete things reveals to us about ourselves – what people can learn about themselves from the things they make. Craftsmanship here is defined as an enduring, basic human impulse, the skill of making things well. The pride one takes in work – whether making a wood model or a computer model – requires focusing on the intimate connection between head and hand, establishing effective, sustainable habits and a rhythm between problem finding and problem solving. It is an internal dialogue every craftsman – and architect – conducts in practice.

Craftsmanship, by combining skill, commitment and judgment, establishes a close relationship between head and hand, man and machine that Sennett asserts is vital to physical, mental and societal well-being. Combining a “material consciousness” with a willingness to put in years of practice (a common estimate of the time required to master a craft is 10,000 hours) and an acceptance of ambiguity, rather than an obsessive perfectionism, should be familiar to readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Dean Simonton’s Greatness and readers of this blog. Sennett asks whether our commitment to work – our craftsmanship – is merely about money, or about something deeper and more human. His answer implies that commitment – the skill, care, late nights, problem solving and pride that goes into our work – is about something greater.

Sennett does not think that craftsmanship has vanished from our world. On the contrary, as another critic noted, it has merely migrated to other regions of human enterprise, “so that the delicate form of skilled cooperation that once produced a cathedral now produces the Linux software system” – or, in the case of architects who take part in integrated practice, their work in BIM. The subject of craft has been all but excluded to date from discussions about building information modeling (BIM) and this poses a liability and potential hazard for architects – for therein resides our dedication, passion and resolve.

Hannah Arendt’s book, The_Human_Condition, published 50 years ago, distinguishes between labor, work, and action, explores the implications of these distinctions and affirms the value of human beings speaking openly and candidly to each other. In the book Arendt (1906-1975) famously distinguishes between Animal laborans and Homo faber, between labor and work. Labor is, according to Arendt, those human activities whose main aim is to allow men to survive, belong to the private sphere, and while the human being strives painstakingly to perform them, is not free. As Sennett – Arendt’s student in the 60’s – points out Animal laborans is akin to the beast of burden, “a drudge condemned to routine.” Here the derogatory term “CAD-jockey” comes to mind, one who envisions spending their working lives in front of a monitor churning out construction documents. Animal laborans: they’re the ones who, working alone, take the work as an end in itself.

With Homo faber, on the other hand, one imagines men and women doing work together and in doing so making a life in common. This is the public sphere, where men, after having provided for themselves and their families what was needed to continue, can at last be free. The name according to Sennett implies a higher way of life, one in which we stop producing and start discussing and judging together. It is in this word – together – that we find the seeds for collaboration and for integrated practice.

BIM is More Artifact than Fact, More Art than Artifact

Look around your office – it is easy to spot those who see themselves as Animal laborans and conversely those who see their role as Homo faber. You can sense it in their attitudes toward their work, their mindset in the way they tackle the challenge of learning –or familiarizing themselves with – new technologies and workflows. If you observe carefully, you can even detect it in their posture, in the way they approach their work and each other. As Sennett argues, as with Gladwell and Geoff_Colvin, motivation matters more than talent. The architect must imagine herself engaged with the model, the input of information no less an act of the imagination than the shaping of clay into new worlds for others to engage in and be inspired by. The architect has to find her inner, intelligent craftsman. If it can be reduced to a formula, as Arendt would have it,

bim = Animal laborans

BIM = Homo faber

where BIM enables integrated practice. The combination of speech and action the book calls for is the perfect prescription for integrated practice or IPD: architects working together with others, collaborating toward a common goal.

Sennett sees it differently and challenges his teacher’s definition of Labor as being too limited, slighting the practical man and woman at work, and offers a more balanced view – where thinking and feeling are contained within the process of making. Such is the student’s prerogative. Some architects complain that BIM – in being so fact-based and answer-hungry – makes them less creative, describing their work as “feeding the beast.” Here again we find Arendt’s Animal laborans, for whom the mind engages once the labor is done, and Sennett is right to push further.

When Sennett writes “leaving the public to ‘sort out the problem’ after the work is done means confronting people with usually irreversible facts,” and “engagement must start earlier, requires a fuller, better understanding of the process by which people go about producing things,” he could have been describing BIM, and IPD, the process it enables. IPD fulfills the promise and dictates of BIM just as Homo faber provides something for Animal laborans to aspire to.  

One of Arendt’s great themes is her sense of the decline of the public realm, the realm where action takes place. With the growing use of BIM, and through it integrated practice, architects once again have an opportunity to find themselves working in – and positively influencing if not creating – the public realm.

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