Put simply, architecture requires the ability to visualize the big picture while also understanding the many smaller, moving parts. We’re tasked with coordinating the various pieces and stakeholders involved and translating those needs into a successful, built project. Depending on the scope of a project, that coordination can become a very significant part of the architect’s work.
Devon Yard, one of our current projects, is a lifestyle center under construction in Devon, Pennsylvania. It consists of three independent buildings and several tenants: retailers Anthropologie and Terrain, restaurants Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria, as well as an event center, Gardens at Terrain. This development is the first of its kind for the parent company, Urban Outfitters, and has required substantial teamwork and years of planning to reach this point.
As construction is ongoing, we communicate daily with the construction team to provide additional information and troubleshoot issues in the field. And, due to the project’s size and complexity, always relying on a traditional set of two dimensional drawings can be slow and cumbersome. Fortunately, we model our projects in BIM (building information management) software.
In addition to producing a traditional set of construction documents, BIM provides a three-dimensional model of what we’ve drawn. We can then link our model to BIM models provided by other disciplines, such as structural and mechanical engineering, and create a comprehensive model of the building that allows us to visualize how all the components fit together in three-dimensional space. This allows us to see potential conflicts during the design process and adjust accordingly, but it also comes in handy when a construction team member calls for clarification on how a specific area or component should look. We can move through the model, cut sections, show or hide specific elements, and view aspects of the building that might be extremely difficult to communicate in two-dimensions.
We’re fortunate to work with a great team of professionals and lucky to have modern software tools that help us save time, solve problems, and meet the client’s needs.