GB- Architectural 3-D Computer Modeling


Architectural renderings have come a long way from the blueprints sketched by industrious architects of days past. Today, from pen and paper, three-dimensional renderings allow architects to create projects in a realistic manner so architects and clients can be on the same page about their vision within the course of a few days instead of months down the line. This helps eliminate the surprises that inevitably come when a client sees a structure erected from a two-dimensional drawing that they weren’t really able to envision. During the framing process is not the time to have homeowners become aware of windows being too high or not capturing an important view. Then expensive revisions in the design would follow.

With today’s architectural 3-D computer modeling programs, the architect works simultaneously in plan, elevation and section. From day one decisions are made about volume and materials, where walls are going to be placed and what will be on those walls. Windows need to be configured as well as doors, heights of ceilings and thickness of walls. The design development process is accelerated so design development and schematic design become one phase of the project instead of two. From a two week wait for blueprints, now, within four to five days, clients can experience their house in three dimensions. This helps get the client and architect on the same page very quickly. Even clients adept at visualizing two-dimensional drawings are now able to have a deeper understanding of what the completed project will look like.

Through the process of 3-D modeling, bidding can happen with schematic model much earlier in the process. Key subcontractors are able to bid out the foundation, materials, quantities, roofing and more. There are multiple benefits to understanding a building sooner rather than later. Being able to assess costs at an early stage prevents backtracking months into the process, creating the need to re-engineer a project. Within days clients and contractors can assess space, size and budget.

Gerber Berend Design Build’s design program allows us to plot homes on the landscape it will exist upon. Views from windows and outdoor spaces are mapped into our program so our clients can ‘walk’ through their home and see what they will see when the building is erected. This helps determine if windows are tall enough or if the beam on the porch is high enough. Will the views include Storm Peak or the Flat Top Mountains from a particular room? Previously you wouldn’t have a conceptual understanding of views until framing of the home began. With multiple structures, clients can see the views from each structure to decide whether one should be moved a little in one direction or another.

Our program also has the ability to do sun studies. We can turn the sun on, tell it the time of day or the month and latitude to find out whether or not the overhangs are correct. Is the house taking in too much sun in the summer when you don’t want heat or is the design limiting the passive solar gain in the winter when you really want it? With sun studies we can orient windows and create shade coverings to protect from the harsh west sun. We can demonstrate to clients what the light will be like in their home on the worst solar day of the year, December 21st. This allows the architect to look at the energy performance of the home throughout the angles and passage of the sun during the year.

Our program allows us to send not only still shots to our clients, we can also send the model to our clients on their preferred viewing platform such as their laptop, phone or iPad so they can walk through on their own. They can share their virtual home with family and friends for further input. Our clients’ understanding of the structure is way beyond what it could ever have been in the past. With more understanding there are less surprises. Surprises generally equal revisions, which equals an increase in both budget and schedule.

Today, our clients are having more fun with the design process than ever before. Through 3-D computer modeling there is less stress and more predictability in character and cost.

Many firms still draft on paper or CADD draft on 2D design programs. 3-D modeling is a different way of thinking. There is a significant start up cost and training cost. Instead of the traditional process whereby the first step is a floor plan and elevation and any 3-D possibility is created through a separate program, which is intensive but also not adaptable. If someone wanted to see changes or view the space from 20 feet over, that would mean getting out the eraser and waiting a couple of weeks to re-draw the design. With our program, once a window is moved in the floor plan it is also moved in elevation and in sections. The program integrates the entire process including the printing sheets. To be able to design in 3-D means changing the way a person thinks. At Gerber Berend Design Build we’ve been using 3-D programs since 2001. Each new employee is trained with our program, which often takes six months to feel comfortable with and a year before the design process becomes intuitive. We like to compare the process of going from 2-D renderings to 3-D modeling to drafting your whole life with your hands and then being asked to draft with your feet.

Clients who have built houses in a more traditional way are blown away by what we can do. Once they understand how powerful our program is, they want us to incorporate every detail into our renderings from moving furniture to creating light fixtures. This works well for people who are very particular or detail oriented. If you have questions about our program or want to know more about how we can help you by designing your home, please contact us at your convenience.

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