Architect Kas Oosterhuis and visual artist Ilona Lénárd are directors of the multidisciplinary design office ONL [Oosterhuis_Lénárd]. Founded in 1989, ONL’s small staff of architects, visual artists, web designers and programmers work from offices in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Budapest, Hungary. The firm’s portfolio includes a variety of projects in divergent fields of experience: housing projects, exhibition pavilions, corporate business buildings, city planning tools, online experiences, interactive installations, and works of art both for private collections and for the public domain. Notable projects include the WEB of North-Holland, the Saltwater Pavilion, the Acoustic Barrier and Cockpit Building for a Dutch Rolls Royce and Bentley dealer, and the F-side housing project in Amsterdam.
ONL is known for combining visionary design strategies with expert knowledge of innovative mass-customization production methods, enabling “non-standard” architecture—the economically viable construction of geometrically complex projects where none of the base elements are the same. The firm’s architecture and mass-customization processes rely on the use of the high-quality, coordinated design information afforded by BIM, which prompted ONL to adopt BIM with Revit® Architecture in 2004. Their BIM workflow also includes Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software, which is integrated with Revit® and utilized for conceptual design and visualization. ONL now uses this combined platform for most of its building projects, exhibitions, and design competitions.
MonArch Kft in Sopron, Hungary, and MacroCad B.V. in Diemen, the Netherlands.
CET, Budapest, Hungary
A glass roof will span the two existing parallel warehouse buildings forming a gallery that extends into the interior of the new volume, uniting the old and new structures. Scheduled for completion in early 2010, the CET will include a variety of businesses from small boutiques and bars to large shops and restaurants, as well as a 1500 square-meter event space on the second floor of the complex. The development will include two parking garage levels as well as public walkways, bicycle paths, and terraces along the Danube—connecting the complex to the neighboring public park.
Revit Architecture was also used to create models of the existing warehouse structures that were then used for the warehouse renovation. An accurate 3D model of the entire complex was vital for coordinating the new glass gallery with the existing buildings, as well as for live design visualization and feedback. As the design progressed, Revit Architecture was used to produce the requisite architectural drawing set, schedules, and so forth, as well as for quantity surveying. The project’s mechanical engineer used Revit MEP, enabling the fluid exchange of design models. Both ONL and the mechanical engineer linked each other’s model to their own design model for clash detection, design coordination, and building analysis for sustainable design.
Like all of ONL’s non-standard architecture projects, the size and shape of all the pieces of steel and glass used in the CET curtain system are unique. Yet this construction is economically viable due to the advanced computer-driven file-to-factory production process developed by ONL. All elements of the curtain system will be digitally fabricated by using a direct transfer of point data from the Autodesk 3ds Max surface model defining the curtain system to a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine, enabling mass-customization and greatly reducing the cost of fabrication.
Ekris Headlights, Utrecht, the Netherlands
The Ekris Headlights building is another example of ONL’s non-standard architecture and the design for the showroom is, in all styling aspects, a shaped volume much like a modern car body. And like the CET project, all elements in the glass and steel facade are different, so ONL’s innovative file-to-factory production processes were used to control the precision and cost of these parts.
During detailed design, the high-fidelity modeling environment of Revit Architecture was crucial for understanding and developing non-standard, complex geometry. For example, to visualize and coordinate the double-curved roofs of the structures, the designers needed to use an enormous amount of cut sections—an impossible task using standard CAD tools. But with Revit Architecture, section lines can be dynamically “dragged” through the model, which enabled the designers to literally inspect the design centimeter by centimeter. In addition, the parametric change management was particularly valuable for keeping the architectural drawings automatically coordinated with this intricate design model.
Once again, the elements of the curtain wall system were digitally fabricated by transferring point data from the Autodesk 3ds Max Design curtain system model to CNC machines. The file-to-fabrication technique not only provided a cost-effective construction approach for this unique design, the prefabrication of building components increased the sustainable design of the project by eliminating on-site material waste and the associated energy used for the shipping of non-integrated building materials and the removal of that wasted material. Other green features of the project included the use of the Revit model for lighting analysis—in an effort to eliminate the need for a secondary structural grid used just for the showroom lighting. By placing the lights directly on the steel connectors of the curtain system and then examining the lighting levels, the designers were able to ascertain that the lighting levels were sufficient and avoided the wasted material associated with an unnecessary structural grid.