Building Information Modeling is among us for more than a decade and has proven itself to be a smarter and more efficient way to document and design buildings. So why is this collaborative workflow still not implemented in our education system? A quick search on the internet shows most architectural vacancies are for engineers/architects with Revit/BIM experience. Many of our graduates and interns learn how to design in a BIM environment on the job, but it would help if universities provides students with better understanding and training in how to use the latest design tools and methods to collaborate with others.
When I graduated and started working at a small office, I was annoyed by how slow and inefficient it was to work with traditional 2D CAD drawings. I soon started working with 3D models that had to be “flattened” for traditional 2D architectural deliverables, these flat drawings and images had to be laboriously updated several times to communicate with all design partners. When BIM/Revit became popular more AEC companies started to accept these models for collaboration, traditional 2D architectural deliverables became less important than a good Building Information Model and designers learned to collaborate in new ways. When I started at Mecanoo I had the chance to focus on the collaboration aspects of BIM, during my first years I set-up five collaborative projects and helped over 60 colleagues with training, content creation, coordination and model optimization. It was rewarding to see how BIM helped to streamline our digital design proces!
The BIM environment provides designers with new tools to study, collaborate and integrate design solutions in one virtual model, allowing you to track the overall quality of different building aspect. It is important to develop conceptual design skills as an architect. But next to the critical analytical thinking it is helpful to teach students about design technologies that are being used in the office nowadays and more importantly: how sharing your design intent and real time collaboration with others has changed the design proces of architects.
The architectural work not longer limits to making a nice render, maquette or floorpans. The design proces can now be supported by smart tools that make our building design accessible for all disciplines.
It is good for students to see how BIM can help communication and collaboration with a big team or multiple consultants. These graduates are needed in the work-field to make the full collaborative BIM transition of the industry. So lets start teaching our AEC students how to collaborate using BIM and smart database tools so we can avoid laboriously redrawing, annotating and calculating 2D information and spend more time on collaborating and making a better architecture!
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