Building Information Modelling

In talking about Parametric Design elsewhere on this site, I describe BIM as the plainer but more practical sister of Parametric Design, pace Jane Austen. In many ways that is what it is. Very few people are liable to have much contact with the sort of free-form flowing design that is the hallmark of the work of people like Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid other than when they visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. But BIM is rapidly appearing all around us.

BIM is hugely product-oriented, and I have in more cynical moments called it Design from Databases. In many ways, that is how it works: the architect can simply choose components from the huge range catalogued in their BIM software, and to a large extent the program will work out how to combine them in a structurally satisfactory and non-intersecting built structure in space.

I used to say that one could drive down the Edgeware Road and tell which software was used for which new building because so many had simply modified standard designs from the product tutorials! So whilst Parametric Design aims to indulge the whims and fancies of highly gifted architects with unlimited funds, BIM aims to get buildings up as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

This division could become regrettable, so when I set up the Roderick Lumsden Design Studio, it had these aims:

  • To bring Parametric Modelling into the forefront of design.
  • To research into improved ways to use computer graphics and 3D geometry throughout the AEC industry.
  • To work towards better standards for the interchange of information between different platforms using or not using IFC and ifcXML.
  • To develop standardized software libraries outside the proprietary CAD and BIM systems that will facilitate substantially more flexibility in AEC IT work. This project is already well advanced in both C# and Java versions.
  • To investigate new concepts in architectural projection.
  • To provide full consultancy services on all aspects of Building Information Modelling and training in BIM methodology, and last but not least . . .
  • To produce some damn good design work.

Clearly many of these objectives are mutually supportive and leading towards a common goal, a radical revision of design methodology.