Architecture & 3D Technology

  • by Josh Higginbotham, Architect & Project Manager
  • Mar 10, 2017
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3D Technology Brings Realism to Your Vision

Gone are the days where clients make design decisions solely based on the architect’s tried and true methods of communicating ideas. Floor plans, sections and elevations have been used by architects to convey design intent for centuries. When creating drawings by hand, this was an obvious choice. Buildings were designed and described through a series of independent drawings, one sheet at a time.  Each of the drawings was intended to communicate a few key aspects of a project such as the structural system, room configuration, ceiling heights or window placement.  When changes were made, like moving a wall for example, that change would need to be made on several drawings. Making changes to one wall on multiple drawings is not only time consuming it creates an opportunity for mistakes.

Renderings vs. Actual Photos

Enter computer aided design software or CAD in the mid 1970’s. When first introduced, CAD software replicated the process of drawing by hand.  The same floor plans, sections and elevations were created just as before, but with a moderate increase in efficiency using computer software.

Today, it’s totally different. The software and computing power now available is fundamentally changing the way we design. Architects are creating detailed 3D models of entire buildings and highlighting different pieces and parts to communicate the same ideas that would have previously taken multiple independent drawings to convey. That means when moving the wall as described earlier, all of the relevant information about that wall is updated in one place instantly without referencing multiple drawings. This is a significant help to design professionals but is only one of many benefits.

The biggest benefit of using 3D models by far, lies in the ability to clearly communicate ideas. 3D models show the world the way we see it, in three dimensions. Clients no longer need to reference several drawings and try to imagine the final product. Architects can now show clients exactly how a space will look before they make the financial commitment to commission a project. This additional information, and the clarity with which it is presented, can also help clients distinguish good design from great design.

3D modeling and rendering has traditionally been provided as an additional service/cost because it created additional work, but this is changing. The design software used by many architects today reduces much of this additional work, and therefore decreases the additional cost. As designing in 3D becomes commonplace, clients expect to be communicated with in 3D. While traditional floor plans, sections and elevations may never go away, architects are finding better ways to augment the information they communicate to clients with 3D models as they continue their pursuit to positively shape the built environment.


 

Josh Higginbotham, Architect & Project Manager

574.485.1507 | joshh@cressy.com

Josh Higginbotham has been actively involved in the design community since graduating with his Master of Architecture degree from Ball State University.  He has 10 years of experience working on a wide variety of projects from office buildings to resorts.  His passion for architecture and design is manifested in his ability to help clients to develop their vision, bring it to life in digital models, and oversee construction as the vision becomes reality.  He is also an experienced project manager and has been actively involved in all phases of design and construction.

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