Architectus is an international professional services company with more than 200 architects, urban designers, and planners throughout its offices in: Auckland, New Zealand; Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney Australia; as well as Shanghai and Dubai. An award-winning practice, Architectus places environmental and social sensitivity and sustainability at the core of its practice and professional responsibilities. The firm’s experience spans many project typologies including urban design and planning, public, commercial, residential, education, research, industrial, hospitality, transport, retail and interior architecture. Its portfolio includes such notable projects as the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; 1 Bligh Street, Sydney; Australian Synchrotron, Melbourne; Maanshan City Center in China; and the Waitakere Civic Center in New Zealand.
Architectus was one of the first architectural firms in Australia to implement building information modeling. The firm transitioned to Revit Architecture in 2003. To date, they have completed 34 projects through to construction documentation using the Revit platform, and are currently working on 14 other Revit-based projects. Architectus uses building information modeling with Revit as the basis for analyzing a building’s environmentally sustainable design performance, code compliance, construction sequencing, and logistics while sharing models with multi-disciplinary teams for structural analysis, design coordination and interference checking.
AEC Systems (Sydney, Australia)
Space at One Bligh, Sydney, Australia (Architectus + Ingenhoven Architekten, Architects in Association)
Project: With its target of a six-star Green Star rating (Australia’s national environmental rating system for buildings) for sustainable performance and its view of Sydney harbor, the “Space at One Bligh” is intended to be Sydney’s exemplar green building for the next decade and will set a new standard for high-rise office buildings. Space at One Bligh is a moderately sized skyscraper of 29 levels, costing AU$230 million. Key features are: its elliptical form, oriented to the harbor to maximize views; its atrium, which enhances connectivity and access to natural light; and a dual glass skin for superior indoor environmental quality and solar control.
A critical element in the building’s energy performance, this innovative double skin façade combines optimized shading, natural and mechanical ventilation options, and stack effect airflow (where warmer air rising through the atrium draws in cooler air at the base of the building) to dramatically reduce energy usage. Factors such as glare, daylighting, energy flows, airflows and many other measures of the internal environment were analyzed and adjusted as the design was developed.
BIM Experience: The use of Revit Architecture enabled the design team at Architectus to model the complex geometry of this project. Building information modeling with Revit was used at all stages of the process, supporting the team’s project needs from marketing and design visualization, to complex analyses and construction documentation. Throughout the development process, the design was tested and optimized to meet the project’s aggressive green design objectives. The computable Revit model was instrumental for that work, enabling many types of simulations to be performed by the project’s ESD (environmentally sustainable development) consultant—even highly specialized analyses such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate the air change effectiveness for example.
The major design disciplines on this project were all modeled using the Revit platform; the structural engineering firm used Revit Structure and mechanical engineering firm used Revit MEP. As a result, the discipline-specific models were shared between the firms—with each design team linking the models of the other disciplines into their own Revit model to facilitate their design coordination and clash detection. Protocols where established early in the project to govern the sharing and updating of model information. Changes made in one model were reflected in the others simply by updating the link to the shared model. In this fashion, design changes of “shared” elements (such as columns) could be monitored and dealt with accordingly (accepted, rejected or postponed, for example).
Novotel Hotel, Darling Harbor, Sydney
Project: The design of this AU$80 million addition to the existing Novotel Hotel, located on Darling Harbor in Sydney, is underway and the addition is scheduled to be opened in the summer of 2010. The expansion includes the addition of 232 rooms— 96 in a new wing to the south and 136 over the existing building. The top two floors will become executive floors with express glass elevators and an exclusive lounge. The public areas are to be extensively reconfigured, with reception moving to a large new lobby at the ground floor, and with the first floor reconfigured to provide an expanded restaurant, bar and meeting rooms. When complete, with more than 760 rooms, this will be the largest hotel in Australia.
This fast-track project will be done on a design-and-construct basis (a process known as “design/build” in the US) as the existing hotel must remain open during the renovation. Therefore it is imperative that the design technology help minimize the disruption to the operating hotel.
BIM Experience: Architectus is continuing to expand and build its BIM practice with this Novotel Hotel expansion project. The Revit building information modeling solution is helping the firm reduce the impact on the existing hotel through the use of the software’s phasing capability, which automates renovation projects by managing the different time phases assigned to components within the building model and enables phase-specific project documentation. Because there is so much coordination involved with the existing structure—and to enable the hotel to function during the additional construction—the design team is using building information modeling and this phasing capability to sequence the new construction and to minimize the interference with existing systems and areas, such as exhaust risers and fire escape stairs, that cannot be disturbed.
This project also features a close collaboration with project’s structural engineering team, who is using Revit Structure. Architectus is sharing their architectural model with the structural firm Hyder Consulting, who is using it as the starting point for its own structural design and analysis. Changes made by Architectus can be tracked using Revit’s Copy/Monitor and Coordination Review tools—facilitating design coordination and change management. Similarly, Architectus will link the engineer’s Revit Structure model into their architectural models to reap the same coordination benefits.