Youngblood Architecture began a project with Audi USA in the spring of 2008 designing a new dealership facility. The building was inspired by the look of the Audi automobile line, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls to let in natural lighting and an exterior wrapped in metal paneling. Youngblood Architecture had to follow Audi of America’s standards that are established for uniformity at all of its dealerships across the nation.
That design, dubbed the “Terminal” would replace the previous standard of the “Hangar” – the change brought challenging form and highly detailed planning to the table. The Terminal Design takes on elements of a racetrack – an appropriate yet subtle tribute to Audi’s motor sports roots – the back wall of each showroom is meant to represent the banked, high-speed turns found on a racetrack. The banked turn slopes down to the floor and turns horizontally as well. The finished building is a 24,000 square foot, two-level structure including a showroom, offices, and service garage and part storage area. The project was recently profiled in the August issue of Metal Architecture. Even though the complexity of this type of design presented a challenge, firm president, Richard Youngblood, says the team was able to create the BIM model, document the walls and provide 2D and 3D drawings to the contractor with no change orders.
Youngblood told Metal Architecture that Building Information Modeling (BIM) software – specifically ArchiCAD – was very helpful, making it possible to model the complex shapes and double axis radius walls. The Terminal Style features a series of curved interior walls and an exterior clad with aluminum composite panels (ACM). The building has angled window jams. The angle is an extension of the curved walls inside the building.
“We had originally begun this project using AutoCAD,” explained Richard Youngblood. “We were about 30 percent of the way into the job when we realized that the software wouldn’t really be enough to do the job. There was no way to document the curved wall and see how it worked with the structure. That’s when we decided to look for alternative options and found ArchiCAD.”
The BIM model created in GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD software allowed his team to document the curved walls as well as the entire building. Once they switched to ArchiCAD, calculation errors in the original AutoCAD drawings became evident. The new BIM model in ArchiCAD revealed that the curved wall, because of its tie in to the second floor and the roof, would have had structural steel for the roof deck and floor deck penetrating the interior skin of the building.
“That discovery alone saved us a great deal of embarrassment and time in going about fixing a simple mistake. The standard method of documentation that we had been using in AutoCAD had overlooked the conflicts posed by the complex wall shapes and the structural frame. If not found in the BIM model, we would have had the steel plowing right through the wall.”
Youngblood says he feels switching to ArchiCAD was the right move even though it added an extra element of work to the job. The team employed the software to its full potential, providing the contractor with the standard drawings as well as a video rendering all from the BIM model. The firm has never used another type of BIM software since and since this article was published has begun using ArchiCAD 16.
Youngblood Architecture was able to work with Audi’s designers to fine tune initial details for future Audi Terminals. The 3D aspect of modeling the metal skin was easily shown and the views provided an opportunity for the Audi creative team to finalize the prototype design for all terminals and give them that Audi “look”.
The firm continues to work with Audi of America on their dealership projects. Youngblood Architecture is currently creating the model in ArchiCAD for a second terminal style showroom in Reno, NV.