I’ve selected a new project to focus on Life of an Architect – I think it’s going to be a good all-around project to feature. It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to focus on a project … since I left my last firm, the Cottonwood Modern project continues on without me (which is killing me) and I’ve only been in my new position over here at Michael Malone Architects for about 7 weeks. The project I’ve selected to focus on is one that we’ve begun in earnest since I started and I have been on the ground floor since the initial design process started. This design and construction document process will be different for me than the ones I’ve done in the past for a few notable reasons:
We will be using Revit (3D Building Information Modeling)
My office is 100% on Revit and this project is going to go through the process of design development and construction documentation in this particular software platform. We still practice things a bit old school over here so the project was “designed” using sketches and building study models. You might remember the following sketch from the post I wrote a few months ago titled “Architectural Sketching” … where almost all the sketches in that post are actually from the project I will be focusing on in this post – and I will tag all the posts featuring this project as the KHouse Modern.
This post talked about the value of sketching and how I believe how it shapes the problem solving process. I featured some of the sketches from my partner Michael Malone in that post, and all of his study sketches shown there were from this new modern residential project I am taking on. The initial concepts are worked through using sketches, some hand drafting and some physical study models.
L.E.E.D. for Homes Certification
We are also looking to pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for this project. LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high performance green homes. Despite the fact that I’ve been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2006, this might end up being the first house that I’ve ever done using this certification process. I say “might” because I’ve designed loads of houses where the owner wanted to pursue certification only to abandon the paperwork portion of the certification once the pricing comes through. The design and green performance goals in these homes didn’t change, the owners just didn’t process the paperwork to actually receive the certification. I am looking forward to the experience, I think it will be interesting to see how the process flows – most of the contractors I’ve spoken with have never gone through this process before – looks like we’ll all be in it together!
3D Model versus 3D Modeling
One of the major differences in my new office is that we build a lot of physical models and don’t rely as heavily on 3D computer modeling. Since we are 100% Revit (a Building Information Modeling software) the 3D computer modeling comes as we develop the project but the typical process for us is to build a physical model very early on.
This house will have several green design features to it, one that might be most interesting to me is the vegetative roof that covers the entire living space – everything except the building’s overhangs.
I have to admit that despite my fondness for 3D computer modeling programs like SketchUp, there is a certain atmosphere that is created when there are architectural models being built and laying around the office. We really like to try and create a design culture in the office and since we literally have models all over the place, they seem to reinforce the idea that design is something that has a prominent position of importance in the office.
Last, but not least, is the process in which we will go about creating the documents for this project. Since we are 100% Revit in our office – and I don’t know Revit – I will not be the one entering it into the computer. Eventually I will learn enough to work in the program but the truth of the matter is that regardless of how skilled I may or may not be, my time (and billing rate) isn’t best utilized sitting in front of the computer. They way we work through the process is reflected by the sketch above. Last week I sat down with one of the associates in the office and we spent several hours working through the logic of the construction methods, dimensional controls, and graphic standards for the project. In two hours time, I generated about 20 of these sorts of sketches and now we can make some serious headway into developing the project in Revit. Soon, as a result of developing the project in Revit, I’ll be able to show all sorts of the 3Dimensional images – I think that will be something to look forward to seeing.
I really enjoy the process of walking people through the creative process as well as the construction process on the projects I take on – I don’t think this one will be any different … I hope you will enjoy it as much as I will.