Monday, February 8, 2010

Architects found that 3D can succeed where 2D fails

When it comes to conveying the vision of a building design, Selser Schaefer Architects found that 3D can succeed where 2D fails.


Bringing a building design to fruition requires investing long hours, planning countless details, and — most importantly — securing client approval. Before the stakeholders will give their okay, however, they must be convinced that the design meets their needs, both practical and aesthetic. This is the part of the process when architects must become fortune-tellers, conjuring a compelling vision of the building-to-be. But what happens when architect and client gaze into the same crystal ball and see two different images?

That's what occurred when representatives from Oklahoma's Selser Schaefer Architects presented their design for the Tulsa Community College Center for Creativity to an executive committee. The Selser Schaefer team relied on various 2D architectural drawings to convey the design: the site layout, floor plans, a typical building section, and four exterior elevations. The linework for these drawings was extracted from the schematic-level BIM (building information modeling) model the team had created in Bentley Architecture, with Adobe Photoshop used to add shadows, colors, textures, and annotations.

An exterior view of the Center for Creativity BIM model created in Bentley Architecture.

Unfortunately, the 2D presentation fell flat. "[The clients] understood that the solution we were presenting was meeting the needs they [had specified] but ... we could tell that they weren't quite getting the whole story of the design," said Shannon West, an architectural intern at Selser Schaefer.

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