Posts in category ‘BLAUGI’

2018.10.13

BILT EUR 2018, First Look

A BiLT event is very human-centric. As mentioned in Part One of this blog series, the number of attendees is limited to maintain an intimate community vibe. Official count from the organisers of BiLT Eur 2018 for the number of delegates, speakers and vendors is over 300 total, representing 32 countries from around the globe. The highest number of attendees from any one country were travelling from the UK, followed by the USA and Denmark. 

IMG_9561

The GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is just under 1 kilometre from the various hotels available for attendees, which I arrived at with several others under our own power, and buses are also provided. Coffee and tea breaks between sessions and a not too early start of 9 AM makes for a great environment for learning new ways to use design technologies. Kicking off the opening plenary session, Marcus Fich, BILT Europe Chairman described our purpose for coming together with the provocative, “We are here to break down the silos of our industry” to more collaboratively work together; a concept I wholeheartedly endorse. 

IMG_9557

On the walk over to the event, I noticed a curious collection of stone pillars in a park and discovered they are part of a project called Hologram of Europe. The concept, while a bit mystical in nature, has a great mission: to uniquely celebrate member states of the EU, and those in the region. From the website (requires Adobe Flash) “The Hologram of Europe is composed of 27 stone pillars for the 27 member states of European Union, 6 additional pillars for those countries or regions that function outside the Union yet belong to Europe and one lithopuncture stone for Ljubljana, the host of the project”. Essentially, as Marcus was inferring, we are a part of a larger community. Keeping that in mind, below are some observations.

We heard in the opening plenary that the day before to the event the first BILT Academy Summit was held in the city here at a local university building. The summit consisted of 80 people, providing students from around Europe and professionals who spend time in the lab to have some hands-on practical uses for the common enabling technologies of BIM, Computational Design, and reality capture to encourage expert-level thinking to ready the students to enter their respected professions in the AEC industry. 

Cropped-BILT_Academy_LinkedIN-2

“BIM is not Fake News” was the on point slogan for event promotional materials.

Taking the stage next Zach Kron, leading the Generative Design Group at Autodesk, provided some prompts for conversation, suggesting why we might need to have more focus on collaboration. “More is inevitable”, he said. More work, opportunity, constraints and more people, and with the majority of those people having the expectation of being in the middle class. We may have a reality alignment problem, however there is a belief that more complex, mega building projects as a trend is here to stay. As these people concentrate into our cities, this leads to more congestion.

 

Zach then continued saying, “Less is a reality”, he continued explaining that we have less natural resources, less time. With an over one trillion dollar infrastructure gap in the US, opportunities abound to do more with less. He suggested Generative Design can help balance the constraints and opportunities to work within this fast paces world, leading to more prefabrication, systems thinking and high-performance buildings.

 

 

Graphisoft presented three possible solutions to interoperability:

  • Compell every tool to speak each other’s language
  • Promote a single existing proprietary format (the PDF of BIM) - like Revit
  • Embracing an open platform neutral format - IFC

What if Revit became the way forward, like the English language becoming the defacto language of business. He suggested we could create a new language, and used Esperanto as one example, or we could have a better way to translate between languages, although as anyone who uses online translation tools, lots of errors are introduced and meaning can become lost. However he proposed that mathematics is the one universal language that we can all understand. It doesn’t do everything, however it does a lot well and reliably. Compatibility is not equal to Interoperability. Thinking in workflows is how we will realise the efficiencies BIM promises. Graphisoft is a promoter of using their investments in the OpenBIM approach.

The Main Keynote

Keynote speaker Dr. Beau Lotto, founder and CEO of Lab of Misfits, describes his consultancy as “the world’s first neuro-design studio”. In his talk entitled, “Seeing Differently: The best design begins with not knowing”, Dr. Lotto posits that innovation is outpacing vocational education with his observation, “the top ten jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004”. If we focus only on efficiency in a changing world, we will become stagnant and lose. Dr. Lotto’s proposed solution is to balance creativity with efficiency. Understanding perception is to understand what it is to be human, he made a promise saying, “You will know less at the end … upon leaving”. A true scientist. I was hoping he only meant his keynote.

IMG_9505

Information by itself is meaningless. He went on to describe how we can never see the world as it really is, because we are separate from it. We only interpret the information that comes in through our senses as we’re locked inside our own bodies. The hate, pain and love we feel are simply how we are programmed to respond to the world based on our own inherent biases and assumptions. Emotions don’t exist outside ourselves, yet design tries to always create an emotional connection with people. After showing us a series of hilarious lol cats and videos challenging our perceptions, he convinced many of us that creativity isn’t really a giant leap. Creativity, and therefore innovation, is simply when someone makes a small step to the next possibility and manages to change their biases and assumptions. From the outside, it appears someone is making a big leap, however they just have a different perception of possibilities than you.

Possibility of better solutions is to create an environment of diversity and stimulus, without overdoing stimulus. Here is where he describes how his design studio suggests to clients the pairing of efficient experts and creative novices working together. Dr. Lotto left us with the thought saying, “Experts don’t ask the right questions, but recognise when a good question is asked”.

My Class Highlights

There were so many classes to choose from. When I first signed up, admittedly I chose my sessions somewhat quick. Knowing that, I looked over the classes on display in the big board, as the app on my phone provided by the organisers in the Apple IOS App Store and Google Play. Then I broke the rules a bit. My first class was an advanced programming class for ArchiCAD, a tool I know nothing about, so I quietly made my escape and sat in the back of a Dynamo class led by Radu Gidei of Grimshaw that showed some really fantastic concepts about programming that enables cross-platform development for various tools. It opened up a great deal of possibilities for custom development. 

IMG_9460

IMG_9508

Computational Wizardry

A session discussing possibility in: “From NURBS to Meshes – Parametric design & BIM”, Ákos Karóczkai, of Graphisoft described how tools that previously were separate can become more integrated. The company worked closely in partnership with McNeel to embed a grasshopper workflow into ArchiCAD. Some very compelling imagery and videos were shown in a design platform one would not normally expect to see parametric design explorations. It does make one stop to think that, even an old BIM tool (ArchiCAD is a nearly 35 year old architectural modelling platform) can be taught new tricks. Initially, this seems like a good approach, however the function of moving data is handled by an API, rather than using existing open source tools. I came away with the feeling this workflow may have been more interesting to explore the possibilities of Grasshopper reading/writing IFC directly and having that translation sit in the middle. It might be that I’m a bit naive or that I see many people approaching the same problems over and over rather than making the leap to solve new bigger ones. To read up more on these tools and how they are integrated, visit this ArchiCad page.

Making the Invisible, Visible

The history of data on an object is not immediately available to us in the physical world. This may be why the idea of COBie spreadsheets has become so common. The spreadsheet is an initial attempt at passing some asset data to facilities managers to augment the pieces and parts of a building. Cesar Escalante and Alberto Tono of HOK showed in “Augmented Reality and Deep Learning in the Design Process” some ways we could bridge that gap between the digital and physical world. Head-mounted display (HMD) trends as predicted in a Credence Research report predict a doubling of the combined Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) headset market to 70 million units by the year 2022. That number could climb rapidly if the rumours of highly secretive companies, Apple and Amazon both separately working on their own devices to compete with the already large number of options out there, are true. Preparing models for AR/VR takes a lot of computational horsepower and many platforms. The group at HOK propose that Speckle, a web service beginning to fill the void left by the now shut Flux.io, may have some answers. 

Computer programming for designers doesn’t have to be complex or a barrier to experimentation. The presenters illustrated how facial recognition is accomplished with just three lines of code and  the $250 Amazon AWS DeepLens. Gasps of delight were heard throughout the room when they showed how a Microsoft lab in San Francisco was used to capture real time video from multiple angles that could potentially one day allow us to put real people as actors in our architectural visualisations.

With AR enabled mobile devices assisting in the activities of collaboration and model review, HOK developed bespoke tools to capture gazing time on various parts of the virtual model from different devices and display that data as a heat map. This type of information could be used as a way to inform better projects, based on what areas the participants focussed.

That was just day one… whew! Signing off for now, I’ve got more to share in my third and final segment, coming soon. Until then, keep thinking about the questions you ask of your work, and how our tools can help answer those questions.


About Sean David Burke

A member of AUGI since 1997, Sean has been at the forefront of BIM for most of his career. His focus on advancing the adoption of digital tools as a Senior Associate at NBBJ and previously with Autodesk has always been to inspire and instruct others around the world in order to make building better.

2018.10.10

BiLT EUR 2018, Part One of Three

The BiLT EUR by RTC event, is taking place from 11-13 October (starting tomorrow) in the Slovenia capital city of Ljubljana, at the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. I am fortunate to be a delegate this year, amongst the few hundred attendees. Many thanks to AUGI and the organisers for sponsoring me to attend and I am pleased to be your guide over these next few days.

EB480F0D-2A4D-419A-BB1D-E4715369F422

The weather greeting those travelling via air today was a comfortable 21C.

I’ve previously attended the North American version of this conference in years’ past and it’s one of my favourite events of its kind - truly, I'm saying that without prompt. Attribute that experience to the unique people, all experts in their field and any one of the delegates could easily be a speaker, there’s the “by users, for users” approach to learning, and the intimate nature of a purely building industry focus limited to a maximum capacity of around 500. Since a large number of people who attend these know each other there are a few traditions involving presenter outtakes, top ten lists, the swimming pool and funny coloured socks. But, enough of that. So, what’s in store?

In its eighth year, the European version of BiLT - formerly known as the Revit Technology Conference (RTC) - dates back to the early days of Revit, now the dominant building information modelling (BIM) tool in many parts of the world. The annual meeting of the minds was originally initiated by a few scrappy architects in Australia who wanted to share the unvarnished truth about how to work effectively in BIM. Today the annual event has taken a larger stage with a core cast of characters and many regional experts all coming together throughout the year on a travelling stage across four continents: Asia, North America, Europe, Australia and sometimes New Zealand.

Why the change in name for the event?

The American born idea of Revit is now of drinking age, having been idealised by its founders to transform the industry twenty one years ago this month as Charles River Software within the Route 128 technology belt around Boston. First shipping in the year 2000, the 18th birthday of the product was earlier this year. Now solidly part of the Autodesk portfolio, it’s clear the tools have reached a maturity and provide a solid platform for designing buildings around the world.

Since that is the case, the organisers acknowledged the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (AECO) disciplines of the built environment use more than just the one tool. And our digital tools are merely that, enablers to produce better outcomes by using more effective processes. Many of the conversations extend around the concepts of BIM-like or BIM-ish technologies like: Computational Design, Big Data, Simulation, and Mixed Reality (Augemented/Virtual Reality, and Reality Capture). 

What to Expect?

Cities where BiLT EUR has taken place include Dublin, Delft, Aarus and others. Some interesting venues are chosen by the committee to enhance the learning experience; one year had delegates filing into “The Church of BIM” as the decommissioned church booked for that week was affectionately nicknamed. There was even a pulpit for the speakers. Much of the content of the classes I’ve chosen this year are focussed around workflows and computational thinking.

7711C6C8-9D2B-49DF-81B3-45F3BB8D28A2 

View from Prešeren Square of Ljubljanski grad, one of many castles surrounding this historic city.

It will be interesting to see those other than Autodesk platforms discussed in the context of the bigger picture of interoperability, such as the popular McNeel Rhino/Grasshopper combination, and also Graphisoft ArchiCAD, which maintains a strong footing in Europe, and of course the lowest common denominator BIM and Computation tool: Microsoft Excel. After all, it’s all about being data-minded in how we exchange information about our projects. After I settle in, I’ll do some exploring around the city, eagerly awaiting the kickoff sessions and keynote speeches to set the theme for this year’s peek into the future of our digital industry. I’m most looking forward to the below sessions, and have signed up for a full three-day schedule:

  • Tapping the Source: Establishing Responses to External Data 
  • Augmented Reality and Deep Learning in the Design Process
  • Effective ‘LOD’ Implementation in Projects
  • Datadriven Facility Management - Value-based ICT and BIM for Clients and Building Owners 
  • Connecting parametric design and BIM through Grasshopper, Excel and Dynamo 

All in, there is a good deal of optimism in the building industry for a shift in what is next in a post-BIM world. I’ll be sharing a bit more as the event unfolds over the coming days here and on my Twitter account: @seandburke. Thanks for joining me on this ride. Let’s see together where it goes.

BA8CFB70-C263-402D-8194-9AE85FF10F79

The canals and rivers running through the city are a must see, especially with all this wonderful architecture and foliage lining the banks.

For more information about this conference and others by the RTC Events organisation around the world, visit: rtcevents.com.  If you are on social media, look for the hashtag #BILTeur or follow @BiLTEvent on Twitter.


About Sean David Burke

A member of AUGI since 1997, Sean has been at the forefront of BIM for most of his career. His focus on advancing the adoption of digital tools as a Senior Associate at NBBJ and previously with Autodesk has always been to inspire and instruct others around the world in order to make building better.

 

2016.10.13

Porto welcome BIM experts… join me at RTC EU 2016

My relationship as Autodesk software as a user started in 1994. Soon I realized that would profit greatly from the exchange of knowledge with others. Find a group of people who share the same concern and passion for what they do, and with an interest in learning how to do it better was a must. The social nature of human learning began to be my main concern in the pursuit of excellence. That’s why I joined AUGI.

As a trainer and university lecturer my concern to achieve the maximum possible knowledge in the minimum possible time always made me see the user encounter as something extremely valuable. The Internet has partly overcome logistical problems, but personal meetings continue to be where the full potential of knowledge exchange works in full.

That's why Revit Technology Conference (RTC) Europe 2016, taking place soon in my hometown, Porto, Portugal, is so important for me. It is as well a fantastic opportunity to meet top BIM experts from all over the world and, for you, to visit one of the most fantastic tourism destinations in Europe.

Let me now talk a bit about my Porto. It has a great tradition in architecture with two alumni of the Porto School of Architecture awarded with the Pritzker Architecture Prize:

  1. Álvaro Siza Vieira (1992);
  2. Eduardo Souto Moura (2011).

Porto is also famous for its Port Wine and the program of this RTC, on its Friday Evening Function, include a visit to one of the best Porto Wine Caves.

This video was kindly provided by the AUGI member Paulo Ferreira.

For more information about Porto have a look to the site of the Tourism Office and as well to the site of Region Tourism Office.

I expect a lot from the 71 speakers of the event and from the interaction with all the participants. With regard to the classes, I chose to attend:

  1. An Illusion of Knowledge | Re-Creating Learning and Teaching Techniques in AEC
  2. Developing Participatory Culture Through Digital Immersion with Revizto
  3. Interactive and Immersive Visualisation with V-Ray for Revit
  4. Revit Today and Tomorrow
  5. Glorious Gadgets
  6. Rendering History with Project Soane: Transforming Centuries-Old Drawings to BIM-Based Renderings and VR
  7. Get Ahead Of The Game: Environmental Analysis for Architects
  8. Global Attitudes Towards and Addressing the Barriers to BIM Collaboration - Perceived and Real
  9. Collaboration Tools and Methods Comparison

 
I also need to remember that certification is available during the event. As usual, a lot of Sponsors and Exhibitors, more than 40 will enrich the event with their offers and proposals.

On Saturday the day will close with the usual Gala Dinner in a wonderful place with wonderful people.

RTC is as you certainly know, a unique, independent conference covering all things BIM and the whole ecosystem that supports it. No other event brings so many opportunities and benefits together in a single location, and this year in Porto, Portugal. 

Do not hesitate join me at RTC EU 2016 Porto, Portugal. 

More information here

2016.07.19

RTC After-Thoughts

The Revit Technology Conference North America has wrapped up for another year. It's time to unpack, do laundry, re-adjust time zones and continue on with life. Looking back over the week, it's interesting to note the reasons people have for attending RTC. Most go to learn something new, obviously. Some go just to network with colleagues, some to meet with a vendor whose product is of particular interest to them. All go with expectations that this conference, or any conference, will ultimately meet those requirements.

RTC has a knack for balance between just enough sessions, time for networking and meeting with vendors. Each year, I'm impressed with the fluidity of the conference. Even when an industrial washing machine overpowers a session classroom, and said classroom moves to the lowest, farthest corner of the center, there is hardly a hiccup. (Yes, that happened!)

The overall purpose of the conference is to improve and inspire Revit users. People from all over the world come to this conference to expand their knowledge not just in Revit, but in anything that goes along with Revit...BIM, add-ins, processes, etc. There are those "a-ha!" moments, when you see something that really clicks, and you think "I just have to take this back to my office!" There were quite a few of those moments for me this year.

Next year's RTC is being held in Toronto, Canada, August 3rd-5th. Mark your calendars now, and maybe you, too, can have your own Revit "a-ha!" moment. Until then...REVIT ON!

2016.07.15

We're Halfway There - RTC NA Midweek

20160715_135712
Now that my east side internal clock has adjusted to the west side time difference, I can take a few minutes to think back over the last few days of RTC North America. Already equipped with several ideas to take back to my own office, it's been a productive time of learning sessions and networking. The keynote speaker, Ashraf Habibullah, wowed the RTC audience and challenged us to take a look beyond our technical selves and really think about the impacts of our work and our technology.

20160714_100937

The sessions have been varied and enticing...it has been hard to choose between sessions. A popular session was "Ask the BIM Stars", which included some top names in our industry, including Lynn Allen, Steve Stafford, Brian and Desiree Mackey (to name a few!), and hosted by Bill Debevc. There have been sessions on topics like FormIt and Enscape (another of my favorites!), Facilities Management, and of course, BIM. The uses for Global Parameters has been covered by a few sessions, and it's easy to see that these will become powerful tools within Revit.

Speaking of Enscape, Phil Read's booth in the expo hall has been a hit with those of us who remember when arcade games were the latest and greatest!

20160714_134001

A big part of RTC is the networking, and it's been exciting to meet people from all over the world who have the same interest in Revit and are looking for ways to help their own firms improve Revit workflows and production. One can sometimes learn just as much over a lunchtime conversation as sitting in a class session. And, those connections we make extend beyond these few days at RTC, even into developing business relations and future project collaborations.

Finally, it's important to recognize AUGI's presence here at RTC. As a Gold Sponsor, we're here to get the word out about AUGI, this great community of not only Revit users, but all Autodesk users. So, thank you, AUGI!

20160714_161410

Recent Posts

Categories

Archives