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Efficiency at the Design Level: A Comparison Between Two Methods

Autor:   •  February 6, 2019  •  2,601 Words (11 Pages)  •  43 Views

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Whereas in the second project we worked more in the macro level by controlling variables of the design, with much advanced tools found in the Rhino and the Grasshopper environment, we were able to focusing more on the wider understanding of the site and the opportunities it presented us, and acted more freely in shaping the building within the borders without having to think too much about practical applications and solutions, This new way of designing, As Neuman described it, "… a new kind of architecture database is gradually developing, which- in contrast to classic database, such as those that focus on typologies- contains tools and methods of form creation that are based on a computer code. This data base exists and develops in the free world of the open code on the internet, and, as in other disciplines… makes possible free adaptation and downloading of architectural codes for local, particular, needs." (Grobman and Neuman, 2011, p. 13), made it possible for use to get to the complexity and form we were looking for using the knowledge shared with others over the internet, using simple codes and scripts, it enabled us to generate the type of architecture we could have only dreamed of using the classic methods like sketching or adding and subtracting masses. Which in turn gave us the upper hand when presenting and trying to convince the audience with alternatives and to negotiate all our way to the final proposal. No doubt that at some point, we had to make some local changes to the design, and this is where this method was lagging.

Advantages and disadvantages of each method:

In terms of performance:

One of the things that were very obvious when working with BIM type of workflow, was that the lake of expertise in the tools could actually slow down the design process, as found by Allen and King "Research indicates that the benefits of CAD technology are dependent on how effectively it is used; in other words, mismanagement of the CAD process can result in poor design performance "Collins and King, 1988; Robertson and Allen, 1993).

In this sense the tools that were used, especially in the case with the first project, although advanced beyond the normal, where actually dragging the project backward and making it advance very slowly.

The learning curve for each method was very different and had affected the workflow and the final result, using the Revit software you had to know each and every tool, where to find it, how to use it, what are its limits, the software being object oriented didn't give the user flexibility in deciding how to do the work, you had to know the only right way.

In contrast, the Rhino software with the help of the Grasshopper plugin, both were found to be very user friendly, you had to understand the logic of how things are done, and from there on, the sky is the limit. Even when using relatively complex solutions, like space syntax and generative design tools, the concept was pretty simple, and very collinear with the common software's logic. In this sense one could only think outside the box, come up with new methods, shapes and designs.

In terms of Efficiency:

Efficiency played a great role in deciding on which program to use for each project, there was a tremendous gape between the two methods discussed.

Using the Revit software has given us a boost in the later stages of the design, it allowed us to think through design solutions in a deeper and more dynamic way than possible with traditional methods, although it demanded some effort at the basic level, like building the right dynamic blocks from zero and going through long and exhausting site preparations and know the "how to do this and that" before the actual planning and designing begins ,and also in the concept level, the program didn't give much choice, we had to work it out the hard way, the workflow doesn't allow for smooth and flexible managing. On the other hand, the program did well in the long term especially in the final stages of design where we used its ability to manage building informations like schedules and construction plans.

Whereas the Rhino software has given us a good boost in the early stages, thanks to its ability to handle amorphic forms and height complexity projects, with little effort and flexible workflow.

However, when we got to a point were small and local changes had to be mad, we had to leave behind much of the tools that were used in the early stages, and focus on more practical solutions and tools to handle the challenges.

One of the limitations that we faced during the work with both methods was the idea of team communication, and the synchronization of work between the team. Both software didn't work well in team work. Both the platforms didn't give the option of splitting the work between different users. Although it wasn't a big obstacle, as we were able to handle things in the hard way in the end, but still workflow would have been more efficient if we had the option.

In terms of architectural work:

The struggle for us as architects was felt very well when dealing with Internal and external factors regarding the design and the performance of the architecture we're bringing. As Leatherbarrow described it "…The building is its effects, and is known primarily through them, through its action or performances. what is true for people is also true for building – character shows itself in what they do in the decisions, choices or actions they take." (Kolarevic and Malkawi, 2005, p. 10). In some cases it was the internal factors, the lack of expertise and the discomfort with the software's bureaucracy, which affected the final design in an unpredictable and fairly poor way. In other cases, it was the external factors, the misunderstanding of the architects deep desires to prefer some alluring solutions and designs upon others (economic and profitable ones), which left us the creators with utter disappointment, and led the project to rapidly escalate to standardized and normalized results.


Although the two projects discussed are not entirely identical but I believe are totally comparable, for the fact that almost the same effort was made in both the projects, using different methods and software, but in the end the results showed the superiority of one method over the other, and the opportunity it gave the architect to present better and to understand the project in a deeper manner.

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