SHoP Architects: Eine Unity Reflect-Fallstudie
Award-winning architecture firm SHoP Architects is on a mission to make the process for bringing buildings from vision to physical reality more efficient. Accelerating its progress, the firm is among the first in its industry to embrace Unity Reflect, the new architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) product from Unity.
Individuelle Echtzeit-BIM-Anwendungen für AR und VR unter Verwendung von Unity Reflect und des Unity-Editor
Reduzierung der Bauzeit und Kosten durch visuelleres, interaktiveres BIM, das auf der Baustelle besser genutzt werden kann
New York City, USA
Erstellung von Echtzeit-BIM-Erfahrungen mit Unity Reflect
Headquartered in New York City, SHoP’s 200-person team works on marquee projects in its backyard as well as around the world. With a diverse portfolio of clients, from Google to the U.S. Department of State, SHoP Architects embraces technology to drive better collaboration and create more meaningful, beautiful buildings.
With Unity Reflect, Adam Chernick and Christopher Morse of SHoP’s interactive visualization department intend to catch design flaws early, solve problems faster, and reduce the time it takes to build. Based on their experience in Unity Reflect’s beta program, they see the product playing a crucial role in their firm’s ability to drive better alignment between design and construction.
- Streamlined creation of real-time 3D experiences takes minutes instead of days to optimize large design models
- Democratized access to BIM readily puts information into the hands of users, on any device
- Better communication with key stakeholders paves the way to reduce change orders, construction time, and costs
Neue Formen der Kommunikation im Architektur-, Ingenieur- und Bauwesen
SHoP Architects ist im Architektur-, Ingenieur- und Bauwesen für seinen unkonventionellen Designansatz bekannt. Eines der Ziele des Unternehmens bei der Revolutionierung traditioneller Prozesse ist die Beseitigung von 2D-Arbeitsergebnissen.
SHoP ist der Ansicht, dass das Projekt in 3D geliefert werden sollte, da Design und Bau ebenfalls in 3D erfolgen.
Das Unternehmen ist vom Mehrwert dieses Ansatzes so stark überzeugt, dass es immer mehr seiner Projekte den Bauunternehmen in 3D bereitstellt – was in der Architekturwelt wirklich außergewöhnlich ist. SHoP nutzt auch Virtual Reality (VR) als Tool für die Zusammenarbeit im gesamten Unternehmen. Bei regelmäßigen digitalen Designüberprüfungen in VR können Kunden und Designleiter in den Raum eintauchen und besseres Feedback geben.
Um sein Engagement für Innovationen zu unterstreichen, bildete SHoP 2017 ein dediziertes Team, das sich auf die interaktive Visualisierung konzentriert. Diese Abteilung geht über Renderings und Diagramme hinaus und erstellt dynamische, interaktive Möglichkeiten für die Designkommunikation im Unternehmen sowie gegenüber Kunden, Beratern und dem breiteren Projektteam.
BIM zu Echtzeit-3D: von Tagen zu Minuten
SHoP’s interactive visualization team uses game engines and real-time technology to communicate with people at all stages of the design process.
The traditional workflow for bringing projects into Unity required decoupling the geometry from the BIM metadata, via FBX and Excel, and then forging them back together in Unity. When projects were in active development and undergoing design changes, Chernick and Morse estimate that 60% of their time was spent on this painful, time-consuming process.
“I enjoy building tools that can help our teams solve design challenges they are facing,” says Morse. “But the reality is that most of my time was spent taking their models and exporting, optimizing, and importing them into Unity.”
Even worse, this hard work was often in vain. By the time Chernick and Morse completed the import, development, and deployment of their tools to design teams, the designs were often already out of date due to the speed of iteration and constant changes.
Unity Reflect’s plugin with Autodesk Revit and other design applications offered a much-needed solution. With one click, SHoP’s design teams can bring one model together in real-time 3D from different systems (e.g., architectural, MEP, structural) – with both the geometry and BIM metadata intact. “With Unity Reflect, I don’t have to worry about data prep anymore,” says Morse. “I just build the tool.”
And because Unity Reflect maintains a live connection to the design application, reimporting new designs is no longer a constant part of Chernick and Morse’s jobs. “This is a very, very welcome technology for us,” states Chernick.
The flexibility to build the right tool for the job
With data transfer and optimization solved, Chernick and Morse have more time to innovate and build interactive, immersive experiences throughout the design process. Depending on the particular issue their design teams are working on, whether it is interior design, fire evacuation code, work space lighting, or traffic management, the best tool could be a desktop application, an immersive VR walkthrough, or a mobile augmented reality (AR) app that can connect to their models.
While Unity Reflect requires no coding skills, it is also an extensible product. Unity developers like Chernick and Morse have the flexibility to build on top of Unity Reflect – both by using its viewer-reference application source code and by bringing Unity Reflect prefabs into the Unity Editor to create custom real-time BIM applications across various platforms.
One such SHoP application is a VR simulation that visualizes acoustic wavefronts immersively in a controlled environment. The simulation happens in real-time and is interactive, allowing a designer to make changes (e.g., adjusting the angle of a ceiling) and immediately understand the corresponding impact on acoustics.
In addition to sending geometry through to the application, SHoP can also send data about the materials. Different materials have different acoustic properties – reflecting or absorbing more sound. This data was previously unavailable to Chernick and Morse, but with Unity Reflect they can make changes to either the geometry shape or the physical material properties in Revit and have those update live inside VR.
“Creating this iterative tool wouldn’t be possible without Unity Reflect’s ability to bring changes from Revit live into the experience and preserve BIM data. It unlocks a new way for our teams to evaluate the acoustic influence of their designs,” says Morse.
Unity Reflect opens the door for SHoP to better connect design and construction, and to improve communication on job sites. SHoP used Unity Reflect and Unity Pro to develop a unique real-time BIM application for one of its signature projects: 9 DeKalb, a 73-storey residential tower currently under construction that at 1,066 feet (325 meters) will be the tallest structure in Brooklyn. JDS Development Group is both the developer and general contractor on this landmark project.
The application makes it possible to view associated documents and information based on BIM data. Technicians on the ground can overlay SHoP’s designs in AR on top of the ongoing construction project. They can also surface construction documents from Revit that are tied to their exact position.
“The combination of spatial understanding as well as instant access to all necessary information makes the consumption of construction documents much more fluid and immersive,” says Chernick. “We’re ultimately trying to save time for our construction partners onsite by transforming hundreds of page turns of paper documents into a few taps on a tablet.”
Although this app is a proof of concept at this point, SHoP envisions eventually using custom-built tools like this onsite for all its projects. By offering a more intuitive, immersive way to conduct quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC), SHoP can help its general contractors decrease construction time. More accurate documentation and construction administration will translate to fewer mistakes and major savings.
On average, change orders account for 8 to 14 percent of capital construction projects. On projects of the scale SHoP frequently works on, mitigating even one change order with this technology can save millions of dollars and precious time.