Burt Hill is recognized as an innovative leader in designing integrated solutions to meet the business needs of a wide range of clients in the education, sciences, healthcare, residential, destination development, and corporate and commercial sectors. Operating from ten locations in the US and three abroad, and with more than 1,000 employees, Burt Hill offers architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, branding/visioning, and master planning, and applied research services—with a particular focus on sustainable design, technology integration and energy management.
Burt Hill uses Revit as their primary BIM platform, which they consider a critical enabler of their practice objectives for tighter AE integration and sustainable, performance-based building design. An early adopter of Revit Architecture in 2003, Burt Hill also began using both Revit MEP and Revit Structure in 2007. In addition the firm uses Autodesk NavisWorks for inter-discipline design collaboration and coordination with their project partners and is exploring use of AutoCAD Civil 3D to extend the benefits of BIM to their internal “site studio” of civil engineers, and planners, and landscape architects.
Reseller: Case Technologies, Inc. (Carnegie, PA)
Parkway 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Project: Scheduled to open in 2010, Parkway 22 is a $250-million residential development that will include 254 condos in a 37-story glass and steel tower, as well as 30 lofts in a 6-story loft building and 12 townhouses. Green roofs will cover the loft building as well as an underground parking garage. The development will also include a pool, restaurant, and retail space.
The site for this project is extremely prominent—located in downtown Philadelphia directly on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and diagonally opposite the Philadelphia Museum of Art and behind the Rodin Museum. In this strategic setting, the development has been subject to an extensive review and approval process. The client’s aggressive time-to-market goals forced an accelerated project schedule—resulting in a combined schematic and detailed design phase—and the firm’s sustainable design strategies drove intense performance-based analysis.
BIM Experience: Due to the inter-related structures in this development (the tower, lofts, townhouses, and garage) as well as the compressed project schedule, close collaboration and careful design coordination was critical. Burt Hill used the Revit building model as the basis for design integration with the structural and MEP engineers, as well as the construction manager (Tishman Construction)—even though those groups were working in a traditional process. Burt Hill's team integrated the structural engineer's model into their own Revit architectural design model and used Revit MEP to model some of the major MEP components. The team then used this integrated, multi-discipline building model for design coordination, clash detection, and to produce design visualizations—particularly important for design reviews with the owner, collaboration with the construction manager, and to support the zoning and permitting processes.
Intense building analysis in support of performance-based design was another major aspect of this project. Burt Hill used its Revit design model in combination with software from Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd (IES). Tight integration between the two software solutions enables the Revit model to be used directly by IES’s system of integrated building performance analysis tools and allowed Burt Hill to perform an extensive array of analyses—including energy, wind, solar shadow, sun reflectivity, and daylighting—to inform crucial design decisions such as building shape and material selection.
Springfield Literacy Center, Springfield, Pennsylvania
Project: When it opens in April of 2010, the Springfield Literacy Center will house kindergarten and first graders from the Springfield (Pennsylvania) School District. The building is designed to provide and foster a strong connection between the students and nature, merging the natural environment with the built environment. The facility is positioned on a wooded hillside, with two wings that wrap around a mature grove of oak trees. A single-story wing will house the kindergarten classrooms and art center, and a three-story wing will include classrooms for the first graders, as well as a library, offices, and spaces for special education and multipurpose activities.
As a public school building, the project had demanding budget and schedule constraints, as well as the requirement for achieving LEED “Certified” certification level. The project’s sustainable design goals will not only reduce the facility’s impact on the environment, but also help provide a basis on which to educate students on green practices. Elements of geothermal heating, daylighting, recycling, and green roof systems are all “on display” for the students to see in action, providing hands-on opportunities for learning and helping to nurture environmental stewardship.
BIM Experience: The tight integration between Revit and IES was also used to good advantage on this project, allowing Burt Hill to perform building analysis with IES tools directly from their Revit model—even during very early stages of schematic design—to better understand how to balance the goals of energy performance against daylighting and other requirements necessary for LEED certification. For example, the building model was used to analyze and iterate on the optimal size, orientation, location, and glazing of the windows to provide effective daylight levels for the young students, cut down on glare, produce comfortable temperatures in the classrooms—and still achieve the desired goals for energy efficiency.
While this project was notable for its high degree of building analysis, the Revit building model was also essential for design visualization, design coordination, and the efficient production of construction documentation. The Burt Hill designers participated in many informal design charrettes with community representatives and school officials, during which the Revit model was used to explore “on-the-fly” design alternatives and capture agreed-upon design directions and changes—which in turn resulted in the automatic update of any related building documentation. To coordinate the building and the sloping site necessitated the creation of numerous exterior elevations and sections, which were produced effortlessly with the Revit software. The structural engineers used Revit Structure, enabling the design teams to share their architectural and structural models—facilitating inter-discipline clash detection as well as the coordination and the production of construction documentation.