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Chicago best home professionals

Chicago best home professionals gather to share their experiences and insights on design, build, and market trends. A unique assembly of home design and build professionals joined one another at this year’s Powerhouse SMART 2018 Luxury Conference. The annual event was held at the Merchandise Mart last week and featured local and national insights on market trends and growth. Check out Powerhouse SMART’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/powerhousesmart)

vr & bim education session

VR & BIM Education Session

I was honored to lead an educational session and discuss advanced architectural design techniques and technologies. Entitled ‘Getting the Value Picture – How Virtual Reality and Building Information Modeling are Affecting our Industry’ (trailer), this session was a dynamic illustration of how technology engages the services and talents of various designers throughout the design and construction of a home. Beginning with a quick definition of virtual reality and building information modeling (BIM), the session then changed gears. It transitioned into an interactive demonstration and case study, illustrating best design practices through BIM. In this session, we stress the importance of building an emotional connection to the design for our clients. Doing so enables them to envision living in their home very early. Unlike an automotive test drive, when one envisions living in their home, they begin to take virtual ownership of their home.

Chicago Best Home Professionals

The first segment showed an overview of the architectural process. Beginning with a three-dimensional site model based on information the land surveyor provided, we overlaid 3D trees according to the tree survey. Using this site model for context, we move into a traditional sketch exercise to flesh out the design. Once the design has a good direction, it is time to move into BIM. Scanning the design sketch and using it as a background ensures that the desired proportions and scale are maintained. Using ‘digital trace,’ we can compare the sketched design with the developing BIM model. We use stories to coordinate all of the floor plans vertically. These views maintain a similarity to a traditional 2D development method. Our remodeling-focused attendees found our unique remodeling tools and additions quite enlightening. The real advantages are found as we explore the design through the 3D model. While some clients do understand architectural floor plans, many do not. Exploring the model is far more relatable and enhances a client’s engagement in the design like never before possible.

The rest of the session illustrated unique working techniques between Chicago best home professionals. Interior designers show scenes highlighting materials, colors, furniture, and fixtures in a realistic context. The world of products is ever expanding through access to resources like 3D Warehouse, BIMObject, and other BIM content platforms. Kitchen designers have long used 3D design software to communicate their designs better. By integrating these designs within the architectural model, there is remarkable awareness of the surrounding context. Landscape design is another area where 3D is used extensively. Landscape architects who design in 3D often also model the architecture for context. Architects often do the same with the landscape.

Our structural engineering and mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering segment featured a live video conference with our extraordinary partner, Patrick Bird of Riverstone Structural Concepts, in Boise, ID. In this dynamic demonstration, we showed the collaborative prowess of ArchiCAD. Identifying a headroom clearance issue in the structural design, we showed the effortless and contextual communication made possible with the teamwork technology built into ArchiCAD. We closed out the segment for Chicago best home professionals with a collision detection exercise, illustrating conflicts between the MEP and structural elements in the design.

We then moved on to the construction segment, discussing the advantages of budget and schedule control made possible through BIM. Power Construction shared their use of advanced visualization technologies during the construction of projects. One unique tool they use is the Matterport camera system, which captures a series of panoramic images and stitches them together into a 3D photo model. This can create a virtual photographic model to explore and share embedded contextual data. This also makes a great tool to document construction before drywall for a record of utilities that may need to be accessed or referenced after the drywall is complete.

Finally, we shared a demonstration of BIMx, a tool to share the BIM model with clients and other stakeholders via their smartphones or tablets. BIMx is published from the ArchiCAD environment and places the 3D model and architectural drawings directly into the hands of those who need them. Before BIMx, the enormous value of BIM was limited to the exposure for those visiting their architect’s office. Now, the model experience is available anytime and anywhere. Using a Google Cardboard device, the experience can be transformed into one of virtual reality. Attendees were then presented the opportunity to download (www.MEBArchitect.com/BIMxTour)the BIMx app (iOS & Android) and our case study model.

Session attendees showed great interest in the subject and expressed interest in future workshops to explore topics in greater detail. As I prioritize educating my clients, peers, and associates in these technologies, I am looking forward to these opportunities.

Next year’s Powerhouse SMART Luxury Conference is already on the books, February 6th – 2019, and is expanding its coverage from a Midwest focus to a broader audience. It looks like Chicago best home professionals will be joined by an ever-expanding universe of talent. Planning for programming and educational topics is underway. Hope to see you at the next one.