Like many practices nowadays, we rely on Building Information Modelling (BIM) for all our design & documentation workflow.
One of the coolest things about BIM is its ability to generate extremely accurate visualisations of design concepts. If you put the effort into modelling the materials properly (right down to the correct profiles and textures), how it looks in reality can end up being extremely close to how it looks on the drawing board.
To demonstrate what I am talking about, here are a few before (renders or screenshots) and after (real life) views of two recently completed projects.
The street facade of ALTA had two distinctive material palettes, with a recessed core.
Without modelling the building in 3D we would not have had as clear an understanding the bulk and scale we were proposing. The visualisations helped us be certain that the 4th storey setback, was not imposing when viewed from the street. And the sun path modelling allowed to see how light and shadow affected the appearance of the north facing facade throughout the day.
The design for the rear facade involved assembling precast panels with expressed joints and shadowlines.
Modelling everything in 3D helped us be certain that the precast concrete shop drawings were dimensioned correctly and were consistent with the design intent.
In the interiors of ALTA, we used plywood on the ceilings to create a sense of length and continuity. The mechanical services had to disappear, and the ceiling heights maximised.
Because our building information model was the source of documentation, we drew everything in 3D. From the ceiling planes and material thicknesses, to the joint locations in the plywood soffits, to the appliances, light fittings, keypads, tapware and even the power sockets.
HEY House is our most recently completed project where we experimented with use raw structure as the finished material surface.
To be certain of our design and the communication of it on-site, we modelled the raw structure as accurately as possible, right down to placing each block and formwork panel!
On the second storey, the external blinds played an important role in providing sun and privacy control.
By modelling the blind assembly accurately, we were able to confirm not only the quantity and length of each blade, but the gain a greater understanding of the play of light and shade with various blade rotations on the exterior and interior surfaces.
Here is the view from inside looking through the blind out over the courtyard.
Finally, notice how we modelled the steel balustrading and wall cladding, right down to rib depth and railings.
In both projects, the effort put into to modelling the materials accurately was definitely worth it. The end result was clarity not only for us and the client, but the trades on-site, as the visualisations were included in the drawings issued to site and used to communicate the intent of our detailed designs.