Conectar las etapas de diseño y construcción con Unity Reflect

La manera en que SHoP Architects acelera la comunicación en la oficina y el sitio de trabajo con experiencias BIM en tiempo real en AR y VR

SHoP Architects: un caso de estudio de Unity Reflect

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.

  • El proyecto

    Aplicaciones BIM personalizadas en tiempo real para AR y VR con Unity Reflect y Unity Editor

  • El objetivo

    Reducir el tiempo y el costo de la construcción al hacer que el contenido BIM sea más visual, más interactivo y esté disponible en el sitio de trabajo

  • Plataformas

    HTC Vive for virtual reality (VR); iPad for augmented reality (AR) (using Apple’s ARKit)

  • Miembros del equipo


  • Ubicación

    Ciudad de Nueva York, Estados Unidos

SHoP Architects talk skyscrapers, real-time data and digital twins.

Creación de experiencias BIM en tiempo real con 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. 

The results:

  • 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

Fomentar nuevas formas de comunicación en AEC

SHoP Architects es una famosa en el sector de AEC por su enfoque de diseño poco convencional. Uno de los objetivos de la empresa para revolucionar los procesos tradicionales es eliminar los archivos entregables 2D. 

SHoP opina que, si el diseño y la creación se realizan en 3D, el proyecto también debería entregarse en 3D.

Este enfoque es tan importante para SHoP, que ellos entregan varios de sus proyectos directamente al fabricante en 3D, lo que es muy poco común en el mundo de la arquitectura. SHoP también utiliza la realidad virtual (VR) como una herramienta de colaboración en toda la empresa. Las revisiones frecuentes de diseño digital en VR ayudan a los clientes y a los líderes de diseño a sumergirse en el espacio y ofrecer mejores comentarios. 

Para subrayar su compromiso con la innovación, SHoP formó un equipo especial enfocado en la visualización interactiva en 2017. Este departamento va más allá de los renderizados y los diagramas para crear maneras dinámicas e interactivas de comunicar los diseños dentro de la empresa y compartirlos con los clientes, los consultores y el resto del equipo de cada proyecto. 

De BIM a 3D en tiempo real: un proceso de varios días ahora dura pocos minutos

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.

Hacer que la construcción sea más eficiente

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.

Adam Chernick, R&D Lead for AR/VR, SHoP Architects

"La creación de experiencias en tiempo real a partir de un modelo BIM suele ser un proceso lento. Con Unity Reflect, un arquitecto o un diseñador pueden trasladar fácilmente un modelo y datos BIM hacia Unity. Esto marca una enorme diferencia en nuestro sector".

Adam Chernick, R&D Lead for AR/VR, SHoP Architects
Christopher Morse, Associate | Interactive Visualization, SHoP Architects

"Los dibujos 2D pueden crear mucha confusión y falta de precisión, lo que genera errores costosos y retrasos en los proyectos. Si mejoramos nuestra capacidad para comunicar los diseños a las personas responsables de construirlos, obtendremos mejores comentarios y resultados. Unity Reflect nos puede ayudar a mejorar esa comunicación y ahorrar tiempo y dinero en nuestros proyectos".

Christopher Morse, Associate | Interactive Visualization, SHoP Architects

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