Workflow 2010: Designing Industry


Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Scott Marble, instructor, with Julie Jira

Guest Speakers from Gehry Technologies

Please contribute your thoughts on the Gehry Technologies workflow and the projects they presented.


Filed under: BIM, Collaboration, Communication, Design, Diagrams, Fabrication, Firms, Guest Speaker, IDP, Industry, Software

8 Responses

  1. Julie Jira says:

    It was interesting to see the role software, materials and time played in the planning and execution of variously scaled projects Gehry Technologies had work on. The Erwin Hauer collaboration and Burj Lobby ceiling work dealt with complex geometries which then required a high degree of understanding of the materials being used. Software in these cases played a huge role in iterating and rationalizing how best to approach its material execution. In the Hauer project, the objective was to simulate the same type of carving qualities as the artist himself used to make his forms. For the Burj Lobby, the objective was to create a desired atmospheric quality the client had requested. In both cases, specific rules were considered while collaborating with either the artist or in the case of the Burj, with the wood crafts people. I found this aspect of the visit most interesting and inspiring because it allowed us to see the importance of forming close ties with those working on building the projects. I felt that in order to achieve a high level of quality, a high level of communication was needed to calibrate the tools and to generate the exact desired results.

    The 4D component of the LMCC project was impressive in its ability to manage and predict many complex relationships. The agility of the system was impressive because it was able to adapt to changes on a frequent basis. The fact that the progress of the construction was transparent to the public via the internet allowed us to see the possibilities of projects in progress having connections to society even before they are completed. It was also impressive to see that the construction of a built form could be visualized through incredible amounts of data sequencing.

    Overall, I think that Gehry Technologies was interesting because of its capability to solve complex problems through the exploitation of software and the insistence on close collaborations with members involved on a project. A high caliber of orchestration was delivered which resulted in high quality result across the spectrum.

  2. It was refreshing to see the work of Gehry Technologies in relation to the topics discussed in this course. Too often, I think, digital fabrication is thought of as being “product” driven as opposed to “process” driven. We clearly saw, in the presentation and discussions at GT, that this is not the case. I am very interested in the collaborate work they are doing with artist Erwin Hauer. This is a prime example of technology augmenting craft as opposed to replacing it. Without the artist, there would be no process. However, without the technology, there would exist no economy. It’s a very fascinating relationship that I find far more interesting than using these tools to directly fabricate components with no interface with a craftsman. In addition, using parametric software to visualize scheduling is also quite fascinating and even a bit unexpected. In my mind, this is totally scalable and would be infinitely helpful in understanding design and construction processes and contingencies when discussing projects with clients and contractors on scales as large as large as the WTC site but even as small as an apartment renovation. I could certainly see incorporating this into my future practice.

  3. Muchan Park says:

    Most interesting thing to me is 4D modeling for LMCC where we can see the whole process of decision making that is translated into future result. It is amazing to see that because we can iterate future events and then predict, make another level of plan of it, see the result of it and learn from it. Through this process, we start to think future as historical resources with which we can decide something in more integrated, tested evidence.
    This project also make me ask to myself about what they are to be. Prediction is power to change the world. Visualization is the most powerful propaganda. GT has Catia not as modeling tool any more.

  4. Adam Hanau says:

    In our visit to Gehry Technologies, we were exposed to a firm interested in shifting and evolving the industry, or at least a segment of it, away from its rigidity, towards a model more conducive to design innovation. This is essentially different from the alternative approach (labeled as the “unified approach” in class) which uses BIM to control manage. Although the latter approach is simpler to sell, it hinders much creativity that is crucial to design (although IPD stresses flexibility, in reality it may actually stifle it). Therefore, Gehry Technologies has taken upon itself the challenge of driving project improvement through better, technology, information sharing and collaboration [a slogan along these lines was included in their slideshow presentation].

    Inherent in the nature of their approach, Gehry Technologies has rejected the “unified theory” and has developed an approach of specialization, often leaving projects unique and unrepeatable. This approach also represents a microcosm of the entire architectural industry, demonstrating a shift from the traditional architectural aspirations of being the star architect. Gehry Technologies’ approach situates the architect in position in which he must be content with collective ownership. This trend seems to be the case throughout the industry, as well as in many other industries, indicating an ethos of contentment with mediocrity in American professionalism. The may be attributed to the spreading of education, leading to many skilled individuals flooding the talent pool of various industries, making it harder to stand out.

    It seems as is if the method promoted Gehry Technologies won’t become very popular (which may perfectly fine with them). This can be attributed to the fact that their projects are unrepeatable. The niche for such firms is extremely small, as few projects in need of specialized design are large enough and have sufficient funds to pay for such specialization. With this being said, the small niche that Gehry Technologies does fill, is very crucial to the architectural industry, and can exist alongside the more common “unified theory” firms.

  5. padams20 says:

    The most topic broached at GT NY was the topic of re-using BIM models. There is an incredible amount of intelligence embedded in GT’s files and procedures for each project. However, it looks like, besides accruing an internal SKILL within GT’s workforce, there is little that is recycled from project to project. Indeed, even though GT legally owns the models (and thus the intelligence embedded therein) they object strongly to re-using projects as products. I believe this has to do with their commitment / mandate from Frank Gehry that they exist to support design excellence, not as designers themselves. What would need to change for these models to shift from the realm of one-off projects to the realm of viable products.

  6. kmd2148 says:

    From the visit to Gehry technologies, I found it very exciting to see the use of their technology to solve problems on individual projects and utilize their technology to the maximum capability. The comprehensive level of the BIM modeling was very impressive. From the Gehry Technologies presentation it was also very inspiring to see the how the parametric technologies were being used at various scales, in terms of an artist installation and then the construction scheduling of a portion of New York City. In addition, in terms of genre, it was inspiring to see how the technology can be utilized at the artistic level and emphasize and showcase craft, while also can be utilized on the logistical level and emphasize practicality . The presentation was extremely exciting and interesting to see to the forefront of the technology and its applications.

  7. lucbwilson says:

    The presentation and discussion with Gehry Technologies illustrated one of the most powerful and underutilized functions of BIM and parametric software: the ability to visually represent complex information and relationships as they change over time. We often think about and use BIM and parametric software to automate, fabricate, generate form, and optimize but I believe that the ability to visualize is one the most powerful aspects. To be fair, BIM is already used to visualize and identify conflicts in the construction of a building. What I am arguing for is using BIM and Parametric design as a visualization tool to iterate, test and make far more informed decisions that previously possible. While one of architects’ primary skill is the ability to visualize complex relationships, those relationships are getting so complex that our ability to visualize them is breaking down. Additionally, other industries aren’t trained with that skill and may not have the tools to for visualization that we have. Visualizing relationships and information may seem like a simple use of BIM and Parametric software, but it it has the power to make evaluation faster and provide an interface between the industries that doesn’t rely on a specific software.

  8. adam gerber says:

    To echo what others have said, the dimension of time was a really fascinating part of what Ghery Tech does. Their models either incorporated time explicitly, or did so implicitly by capturing as much data about the model’s fabrication as possible. Ghery’s office started using CATIA to solve fabrication problems, and the modeling they do now is really closely tied to capturing data about exactly how to build things. I think it is somewhat surprising that time and process are the key variables to incorporating this data. It is not just retaining more information about the finish product, conceived as a finished building. Rather the strength in their BIM models is capturing how it gets to a constructed state (ie the process of construction, or the thing we all care about improving).

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