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How BIM connects with your client’s clients: a Tour of an Exhibition via BIMx.

Today on Facebook, I saw a link to a 3D tour of an Exhibition at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Carl Larsson – Friends & Enemies

(update: the above BIMx file is no longer available online, but here’s another by Joakim Werning)

Grab your iOS or Android device, or download the file to your Mac or PC and explore the BIMx file for a minute. It’s not big so it won’t take long. Though my guess is you’ll move slowly because there’s a lot to see.

What you’re exploring in that BIMx file is a fully modeled space, complete with skylights, motion detectors, guard rails, and most importantly artwork. Every piece of art—whether a statue or a painting—is in that file. Not placeholders, but quality images of each piece. In location. In context. The bits of text are not legible, but that’s okay.** Walking through that BIMx file you feel like you’re in the exhibit. It’s surreal. It’s awesome. It’s the future.

How’s that 2B lead working for you?

I’ve said this before. And I’ll say it again and again and again until there’s a paradigm shift in our profession. And then I’ll hopefully look beyond that shift and rally for whatever comes next. This BIMx file is a perfect example of how we architects can start adding value again. We must move beyond the mentality that the pencil sketch and what documentation we provided in the pre-computer days of the 20th century were the pinnacle of our creative endeavors.

BIM is about more than just construction savings and energy analysis. Think about where this BIMx file came from. The design team needed to understand the space. So they built a model of the existing gallery. The design team then needed to envision the exhibit. So they populated the model with the artwork, display stands, etc. The design team needed to share the design layout with the client. So they made a BIMx file of the ArchiCAD model. The design team needed to make construction documents for the exhibit. So they created traditional 2D documents from the model. Next the installers of the exhibit needed to know where things went. They received the 2D documents and this full color, explorable, 3D BIMx file. That’s pretty standard operating procedure for most of us these days. If not… seriously get with the program. Remember now in ArchiCAD 17, BIMx is an integrated part of the software. So ALL ArchiCAD 17 users can create BIMx files for EVERY project. No excuses.

But the design team and the client went beyond the above standards. They took the BIMx file (an extension of the BIM model) and gave it more life. They shared it with ALL of their audience. Want to know about the exhibit before you go? Download the BIMx file and explore beforehand. Want to show your friends your favorite part of the exhibit? Open the BIMx file on your phone and show them. Can’t make it to Stockholm but want to experience the exhibit? Download the BIMx file and explore it. How many of us now feel a bit like we were there? But that’s just the start. Maybe you went to the exhibit and two years from now you want to remember something about it. If you saved the BIMx file (or if it’s still online), you can open up the file and REVISIT the exhibit. You’re connecting your physical ‘real’ experience that happened in the past with the virtual experience of the now. Maybe it’s not the visitors three years from now opening the BIMx file. Maybe it’s the museum showing it to future donors or artists. People who have a future stake in the museum, but who weren’t in Stockholm in 2013. Sure they could be shown photos. But what’s better: a static photo of the real thing or a 3D interactive, immersive virtual facsimile? If the answer isn’t the latter in 2013, it will be in 2014 (or 2015).

If we don’t get in our own way, the future of Architectural Practice is going to be like living in a Science Fiction movie. And hopefully without all that distopian uncertainty and violence. I’m doing my part to help dream up that future, so follow Shoegnome on Facebook and Twitter. And while you’re at it, the RSS feed is a great way to never miss anything either.

**I think the text could easily be added to the BIMx file. And there’s plenty of further opportunities to include more information in the file. If you check the info on any of the elements, none of it is set up to be of use to the casual viewer. But how hard would it be to change the layers to be of value or the element IDs to be more useful? Or how about just dropping in some QR codes. My guess is that the final exhibit text will have those anyways.


  • July 16, 2013

    Patrick May

    I’ve read a lot about “the value of sketching”, “the importance of the pencil”, “you can’t design without hand drawing skills”… I think this is a great example of using tools available for primary representation and design. I think lacking the computer skills to use archicad or revit or sketchup or formz or bently or 3ds or chief architect (the list goes on), is a poor excuse to encourage people to stick with pencil and paper and save the modeling for late in the game.
    I DO draw by hand to solve small problems or as a quick thinking on paper tool, but nothing beats a 3d computer model to solve global design and coordination.

  • July 16, 2013

    Patrick May

    thats a really cool model by the way… I do wonder about the furniture (tables and chairs) and the hvac like boxes scattered around.

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