Adaptive Architects – January 2019

Welcome to the future!
Wow, it's 2019 ... we’re fast approaching the second decade of the 21 st century, and technology is changing rapidly. With that in mind, we decided to feature some of the latest tech tools architects, engineers and contractors are using to design and build our projects and communities. 

Every industry adopts new technology on its own time frame. But for us, the tools featured below are in use at our office today, and these allow us to collect and process info quickly to make well informed decisions and update our design team in real time and with minimal delay.

To keep this newsletter brief, we’re only providing an overview this technology. But keep an eye out for future case studies where we’ll provide more detail on how Adaptive Architects use these tools to deliver more value to our clients.

Image: Faro Scanner
3D scanners process and document three-dimensional information about existing site geographical features and built elements. A laser scanner is used to collect critical spatial information by measuring and calculating distances relative to the beam of light that is emitted by the scanner and returned to the equipment. The Identified points for physical elements are recorded with X, Y and Z coordinate values and are saved digitally so that an accurate 3D model can be developed from the recorded data.
Image: The BIM Hub
 “Building Information Modeling”, or BIM, allows architects and engineers to develop 3D site and building design models in a cohesive team environment. Together with the general contractor, the design team can use the intelligent BIM model to make more informed choices about the project's design and construction. This process allows more frequent and thorough review and evaluation to occur, thereby reducing errors and construction issues. After construction, the BIM model may be utilized by the building owner for facility management purposes.
3D printers allow architects to build quick study models of their designs and to evaluate design options and details. A 3D BIM model is prepared and sent to the 3D printer, where (typically) plastic filament is melted and placed to create the physical form described by the BIM model – so, no more hand-built models made of cardboard or wood! Some teams are already experimenting with 3D printed construction materials and even life size buildings, so we are sure to see great advances in these applications soon.  
Image: Vares Contracting
Today, drones (small ‘aerial vehicles’ which are piloted remotely rather than on-board pilots) are fairly common. For A/E teams, drones assist early design by using video or scanning equipment to collect data for site evaluation, to document existing conditions, to develop site survey and contour maps, and to facilitate site planning and other technical designs by architects and civil engineers. This data can be used to create 2D plans or 3D models that integrate directly into BIM project workflow by the A/E/C team. During construction, drones may be used to monitor site progress, schedules and stored materials, plan construction activities, perform takeoffs and prepare inspection and safety reports.
Image: GetVR
Simply put, “Virtual Reality” (known as VR) can be described as a computer-generated 3D environment (a BIM model) in which a person or multiple people can be immersed into and can navigate through with via use of a pair of VR goggles and controllers with sensors that track one’s movements.  The value of this technology for architects is obvious, as it will more thoroughly communicate design ideas and allow owners and users to experience the feel of a space before finalizing a design, securing a permit and completing construction.
Putting it all together...
As you've probably concluded, the tools listed here work together to make VR technology possible. It's big news and big business, and the technology changes fast. Microsoft created the video below in 2015 to introduce their tech focus. And though the industry isn't yet fully aligned with the demonstration below, you'll get a pretty good overview on where we are heading, and why architects are so excited about the (near) future. Enjoy!
Video: Microsoft
We'll be back in February.
Have a great month!