Monday, 30 April 2018

How 3D technology is shaping architectural design

How 3D technology is shaping architectural design

The continual advancement of 3D technology has opened up new avenues for architects, and has quickly become critical to the development process.

Making buildings

Based in London - with offices in Hong Kong and Sydney - Make is an architecture and design practice that has been embracing the latest advancements in 3D visualisation to help create some of the most innovative buildings in the world.

Founded in 2004, Make has racked up award wins for their work across the commercial, residential, hospitality, and leisure sectors. Renowned for their cutting-edge designs, Make’s influence can be seen around the world in buildings such as the UBS headquarters at 5 Broadgate, One Sydney Park, and the Liangping Sports Centre. Landmark buildings such as these don’t just need architectural expertise, but top-of-the-range 3D technology to achieve the high level creativity and innovation that goes with it.

hiscox inside

A focus on 3D

With innovation at the forefront of every project, Make has seen the benefits that 3D technology brings to their work. So much so that they have started to use 3D right from the beginning, starting with their initial pitch to the client. 

“We’re using 3D from day one,” comments Katy Ghahremani, Partner and architect at Make. “Using 3D from the beginning of a project right through to the end means that we are really maximising our efficiency and communicating our ideas with clients in the best way possible.”

Katy and the team at Make have discovered that 3D technology opens up a new realm of possibilities, beginning at the feasibility stage. Models in CAD and BIM can be used to test fundamentals like massings and solar shading, while Maya and similar packages are used to ensure a concept works right through to delivery. 

“3D technology has grown enormously over the past twenty or so years,” notes Matthew Seabrook, part of the visualisation team at Make. “The technology is so advanced now that we can send our models straight to the 3D printers, saving time and resources when building the physical models for our concepts.” And 3D doesn’t stop at model making. Virtual reality is starting to play a big part in the pitching process, and in an idea’s continued development.

Building in VR

As virtual reality becomes increasingly popular as a storytelling medium, Make has been reaping the benefits of VR in client pitches. 

“We have really been pushing the capabilities of VR,” Ghahremani continues. “When we pitch a project to a client they are now able to see our concept through VR, enabling them to experience our buildings first hand which they could never do before by simply looking at a sketch or a physical model.”

For example, in hotel projects the client will typically need a model of a room very early on. Traditionally it would be designed and then a physical reproduction would be created. Make is now pitching the idea of using VR in the initial stages so that clients are able to see the room design more quickly and cost effectively. “Using 3D and VR in this way means that we are really maximising our efficiency,” adds Ghahremani. “VR not only helps us communicate properly with our clients, but it also turns pitches from many streams into a single, smooth-flowing process.” 

hiscox 3d

Focussing on the image

With Make’s focus on VR and 3D visualisation, the practice need a workflow that is able to produce high-quality 3D imagery quickly. Escape Technology were there to give advice on the hardware and software they needed, and implement the ideal solutions for their workflow and pipeline. 

We provided workstations and rendering for Make. The practice use both GPU and CPU to render their 3D visualisation. We provided them with a GP8, featuring dual Intel Xeon processors and128GB RAM for CPU rendering, and eight NVIDIA GTX 1080Tis with 11GB of RAM each, ideal for GPU rendering. This gives the practice the ideal rendering solution for generating high-quality visuals quickly, allowing for more iterations. “Having this amount of rendering power is incredible,” comments David Sanchez, IT analyst at Make. “Harnessing the power of 25,000 CUDA cores from eight NVIDIA cards means we’re able use GPUs to render 3D models seamlessly and very quickly.”

Escape Technology started working with Make in 2017 and since then we have improved the practice's rendering workflow. By deploying Deadline we enabled the visualisation team at Make to work more efficiently with their renderfarm “Once Escape had introduced new hardware and software into our rendering workflow we could instantly see a great improvement.” David continues. “Having a partner like Escape is really important to us. They have the expertise to make our workflow as efficient as possible.”

With a prime focus on innovation, Make is at the cutting-edge of architecture. They continue to design some of the most compelling buildings around the world, and harness the power of 3D technology to not only communicate their ideas but push the boundaries of the built environment and launch it into a new age.