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Case Study: Early Strategic Insights Changed the Game for this Architect
Picture this. You found out that you have only last 2 to 3 days to participate in a super exciting design contest and to be eligible as well as to win, you need to submit concept design options complete with budget estimates! You understand that architectural design is a highly iterative process and planning in AutoCAD itself can take a couple of days. Also, presenting a rough concept sketch is not an option because you know it won’t make the cut in the world of 3D models. So, what do you do?
See how a senior freelance architect based out of India, Suhana Shah found a solution in a similar situation.
Project: 6-storey posh office building
Project location: Metro city in India
Project size: 86,000 sq. ft.
Concept submission timeline: 2 to 3 days
The scope of the project was to design 86,000 sq. ft. of office space within the regulatory compliance (FAR). The project was to be designed as part of a design competition that the client had launched in order to get best design ideas for his project, where only the last 2 to 3 days were left. The terms of the competition demanded submissions, complete with key detailing and cost estimates. The architect and her team first considered using their usual design software but could not as it would have typically taken:
- Plan creation in AutoCAD: 3 days
- Modelling in SketchUp: 3 days
- Area Calculations: 3 days
- Bill of Quantity (BoQ): 2 weeks
The architect and her team had heard great things about Snaptrude from their peers and they decided to give it a quick try. At the outset, the architect was able to work on the tool without any exhaustive training. It took just a bit of exploring to get started.
We break down their design approach and reflections on what was achieved.
1. Designing on an iPad
The design team quickly ideated a series of concept sketches. This would typically have been done on paper or on a non-AutoCAD compatible iPad app. Using Snaptrude on iPad, the design sketches could directly be translated into the Massing model, feeding directly into the next step of the design process. The architect tested 6 preliminary zoning and idea sketches to arrive at the design intent.
2. Parametric Designing
The 3 options shortlisted after discussions were modelled in 3D on Snaptrude to test spatial organisation. With pre-defined architectural elements, the architect enjoyed fast accessibility and easier implementation of designs.
3. Sketch to 3D
After comparing the 3 options for FAR compliance, functional distribution and cost implications, the selected option was detailed with complex 3D elements. Like staircases spanning across multiple storeys, and a feature amphitheatre. Bridges and hanging meeting rooms were tested, designed and detailed, that too with all the BIM information. An accurate BIM model was generated from mass models with one click.
4. BoQ and Scheduling - The game changer
What helped to match the architect’s vision with the client’s budget was automated generation of Bill of Quantities on Snaptrude. This allowed the team to project cost of construction and interiors during the first design meeting with the client (INR 526,000,000/INR 52 Cr). Once the design was finalised, the auto generated furniture schedule was also shared directly with vendors for finalising exact specifications, expediting the entire procurement and interior design workflow.
“We wanted to go with wood finishes for a more luxurious finish, and thanks to Snaptrude, we had an automated BoQ to get an instant cost estimate and convince the client that it will work.”
Senior Architect, India
Using auto layouts, the architect and her team were able to maximise the occupancy of the office floor plate. To be specific, 810 workstations, 20 conference rooms, 32 discussion pods and a 250 seater cafeteria were automatically laid out. Multiple auto generated layout options were evaluated and the best option was taken forward, as per the client’s requirements. This saved the architect multiple manual iterations and 4-5 days of time.
6. Design Analysis
86,000 sq. ft. of office space was designed by the team to be within FAR (regulatory compliance). Via an iterative process, the architects were able to bring design options and solutions that satisfied the client.
Compared to traditional design tools, the architect found Snaptrude BIM software to have an enormous edge. Because, her team not only found a solution to the problem but got more than what they were looking for.
From the three options they suggested, the client went ahead with option one – Atrium.
The atrium design with skylight brought about a severe reduction in external glazing without compromising daylighting of the office floorplates. This amounted to a huge gain in terms of costing, allowing for the choice of a more luxurious wooden finish throughout the project.
To ensure complete daylighting with the skylight design, the office bays were made narrower by 4m. With Snaptrude’s automated layout tool, they were able to immediately assess if the narrower floorplate would accommodate the number of workstations and meeting spaces required by the client.
Overall, the automation tools that Snaptrude offers allowed for faster decision making, and a much more efficient design. The intuitive interface enabled quick and easy modelling of complex 3D elements.
DO YOU KNOW? It took just around 5 hours to design the 6-storey office building with complex 3D design elements, from sketch to detailed model.
This presentation-ready model designed in time, allowed the architect and her team to seal the deal. The automated BoQ generation gave the architect a game-changing insight early on in the project, which played a key role in winning the client’s confidence and the project.
A single tool helped the team create data-driven design with a higher level of complexity in an accurate manner. This also underlined the fact that the complicated design process of using multiple tools during conceptualisation can be done away with, if a single powerful tool can do the job (and do it fabulously).
“My sincere thanks to Snaptrude for building an amazing tool that helped our team win this project. As we move towards the future, the importance of advanced BIM tools that generate data-driven design plus save us time cannot be stressed enough. ”
Senior Architect, India