One of the guys I worked with moved on from the practise a few years ago and went to work for a smaller design practise which focuses on residential design. We continued to keep in contact with one another and around 18months ago he asked me if I’d be interested in doing some design visualisation for him on a project in central Southampton, UK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southampton
As you can imagine I jumped at the opportunity. The site is on the line of the old city walls, so it was extremely sensitive with the planners. The site had remained vacant for over 20 years because of the challenges and restrictions that the planning as well as heritage authorities had applied to the site.
The idea was to build a Revit model shell based on AutoCAD drawings and use this model for design review as well as rendering the final model in 3dMax for street scene and impact studies.
During the 18 month period the design had to be changed over 4 times in Revit to meet with various restrictions and refusals. Finally, before Christmas 2007 the scheme received planning permission. Fundamental to the application was the photomontages and the 3d design studies which helped the planning team understand the impact of the proposed building.
The scheme design consisted of a lot of custom balconies and features which where all modelled up as families, although they required few or little parametrics within the families themselves.
The model actually didn’t take that long to build, around 4 days in total including the families. The model was then exported to DWG and we used the DWG link within 3dsMax to file link the model into Max for Rendering. The final rendered output where saved as high res TIFF files. These where opened in Photoshop where the views where composed with existing site photographs from a 8mega pixel digital camera.
What this exercise shows too many is that Revit can be used at all stages of the design process. I speak to a lot of architects about Revit as a design tool and sadly some get it, others don’t. I’ve worked with architects who just don’t believe Revit will replace the traditional CAD process. My view is 2d CAD will not disappear any time soon, but the process of Revit and BIM is starting to take a real hold on the architectural as well as the construction industry. I am definitely seeing that here in the UK. You only need to see the numbers that pitched up for some of the Revit classes at AU2007. Remember when 2d CAD first appeared? nobody believed it would replace the drawing board. You’d be hard pushed to find a drawing board in some architectural practices these days and if they do exist, they are piled up with drawings and print outs!!!
These are electrifying times, Revit may still not have hit the big time for some, but those that have seen the “light”, swear by it. I certainly believe that 2008 will be an exciting year for the further adoption and growth of the Revit platform.