The Iron Chef of BIM

The AIA Orlando recently put together an event designed to generate interest in BIM – in the design community, including architects, students and contractors – and acquaint them with the advantages BIM brings to a project. Dubbed the BIM BAM BOOM technology competition & party – the inaugural event was an exciting time to see BIM in action and put it to the demands of a countdown clock.

large BIM Bam Boom Panorama (1280x286)

BIM experts from GRAPHISOFT as well as Autodesk Revit and Nemetschek Vectorworks competed in the real-time interactive charrette-based design competition. The “ingredient” that all teams were provided was a 3,000 square foot Usonian house, located about 200 yards from the beach on Clear Lake, Virginia Beach, Virginia – the Cooke House by Frank Lloyd Wright.  An interesting addition to this event was that a man who had stayed in the house and who’s  relative had contracted with Wright to design the house was present to give his experiences there. IMG_2303

In order to test the efficacy and efficiency of each software being used during the competition, event organizers purposefully chose this home. According to Bob Travelstead AIA, Architect, “The home provided an extremely good test. It was not a big building and it was reasonable to expect the team to get a good amount of work accomplished in the two hour time limit.”

The participants were allowed to do a contemporary interpretation of the structure and site, but the time constraint heightened the urgency and made each team focus on handling a somewhat complex problem. It was clear that the members of the audience, numbering about 100 students and professionals, could see the difficulties and how they were surmounted by each team, thus allowing a good side-by-side comparison of the different software being used.

How We Cooked

GRAPHISOFT employed the BIM Server on a separate laptop and wired LAN to allow all team members to collaborate in real time right from the start. Audience members were able to view the way in which the model “came together” as all 3 members were working on different parts of the model.

After the time spent designing in the “fish bowl” atmosphere expired, the team took advantage of the opportunity for to demonstrate the presentation capabilities of BIMx Docs. Team members connected the iPad to the GRAPHISOFT projector to demonstrate the 3D model. The teams were each given 10 minutes at the end of the event to display what they had accomplished and describe how their BIM software had aided the development of the project with final renderings, plans, sections, details and building systems data. For the GRAPHISOFT team, during this portion the new BIMx Docs added a “WOW” factor to the information presented.

for blogAccording to Travelstead, BIMx Docs gave the GRAPHISOFT team an advantage during the presentation. “In my estimation the ArchiCAD team presented a design that was more true to the actual house. On top of that, BIMx Docs provided a tremendous highlight to their work. Everyone went away spell-bound from the presentation. The team used the app to show off the house to a significant advantage. And the audience saw views of the building that were more difficult for the others to show without such an application.”

By accessing the hyper-model links within the BIMx, the audience was then shown the floor plans in 3D as well as the rest of the documentation set. The moderator then activated the 3D cutting plane while viewing a section and began to move the cutting plane – eliciting an enthusiastic attendee to shout out “Do it Again!”

Travelstead says organizers hope to see this event held annually, encouraging this type of shootout for other AIA chapters around the country to promote the use of BIM in their professional communities.


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