BIM Design in Modern Architecture

Architectural design is the process of organizing various components and elements of the future building or structure. It drives forward the creation of a unified structure that operates as a single entity and not just a combination of disjointed elements. This particular field has been around for centuries, evolving multiple times as humanity itself developed.

Gothic architecture, Norman architecture, Egyptian pyramids, and the Baroque style are just a few of many examples of architectural design in a specific period of history. Architectural design has always relied on various methodologies and techniques in order to facilitate and improve building design as a whole. Many stock building plans prove the same.

Walt Disney Concert Hall modern architecture
image credit: CC0

It would be fair to say that the modern version of architectural design has been mostly the same for over a hundred years, prioritizing simple yet efficient structures. It is a stark contrast to highly detailed styles that were prevalent at some point in history, including Romanesque, Victorian, and Islamic design styles, to name a few. Modern-day structures often use a combination of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete in some way, shape, or form to create most of the mundane, standardized structures.

A technology such as BIM plays a significant role in modern-day architectural design. Building Information Modeling is a complicated methodology that offers a variety of advantages to its users, ranging from centralized access to all project data to significantly improving collaboration between stakeholders. However, the architecture design sees a lot more usefulness in a different BIM feature – the ability to create a digital simulation of a future building that is both geometrically accurate and provides extensive information about every single model element.

BIM can provide architects with a very detailed and interactive visualization of the project, making it much easier to perform tasks such as clash detection, structural analysis, etc. BIM is a very expansive topic; plenty of different software examples fall under this umbrella term. For example, we can take three BIM solutions with slightly different capabilities to explain this logic.

ArchiCAD is a BIM design solution that acts as a bridge between CAD capabilities and BIM capabilities, combining detailed project models with relevant and up-to-date information. Autodesk Construction Cloud is a multifunctional platform that offers centralized access to project data for every stakeholder and team member, boosting the speed of decision-making and reducing the number of potential reworks. Revit is an extensive feature-rich BIM platform that can add and track a plethora of information to a project model – and one of its most popular use cases is building design coordination between different teams.

It can be a bit confusing to distinguish CAD and BIM at first, but their biggest differences are very easy to explain. A CAD solution can be used to create highly detailed designs and project models, while a BIM solution attaches all kinds of information to appropriate parts of that model, making it more informative and convenient for all project participants.

BIM itself is still relatively young by this industry’s standards, and using BIM for design purposes is even less common of a use case. Fortunately, there is a lot of information about the different stages of implementation when it comes to BIM, making it somewhat less complicated to understand the extent of BIM implementation in a specific project or business.

BIM design

There are plenty of “dimensions” that BIM adoption can be segregated into, but some of the most important ones are between Level 0 and Level 3. The former is explained as a complete lack of BIM implementation, with all of the shortcomings and issues that were attributed to it. The latter is the complete BIM integration into the entire company infrastructure, making it possible to use BIM at any project realization phase from start to finish and beyond.

BIM as a methodology is mostly accepted and recognized in the construction and architecture field. However, there is still a lot of confusion in regard to proper BIM usage during construction. For example, using BIM for design tasks with no interactions and task appointments severely limits the extent of BIM advantages that the methodology can offer.

This particular example is what a lot of people refer to as “passive BIM”. It represents a fundamental level of BIM implementation that can only provide a number of minor benefits, such as improved project efficiency and reduced risk. The lack of communication in a methodology built around supporting communication is a very big issue for the end users that may not be aware of how many advantages BIM can offer to its users.

That’s not to say that all BIM solutions must be complex, extensive, and very difficult to work with. A solution such as Revizto works great when it comes to project coordination and seamless collaboration. It has a very convenient user interface, a wealth of capabilities in terms of project visualization and clash detection, while also providing seamless transitions between two and three dimensions for project models.