Going BIM!

In this post I would like to talk about our initial encounter with BIM (Building Information Modeling) and how we have managed to go through the transition from CAD to BIM.  I won’t talk about any technical BIM issue here.  This will be about our exciting experience of ‘going BIM'.


Since the beginning of our founding days in early 2013, we knew BIM was mandatory.  At first, thinking with BIM is a lot trickier than thinking with CAD for people like myself who grew up in the generation of Mayline and a drafting board.  Moving from traditional CAD to BIM was not a smooth transition.  It was difficult.  Well… really difficult.  The difficult part is not learning how to operate the software, that was easy.  A button for wall.  A button for floor. A button for ceiling.  Great!  That was fine.  The challenging part is to learn how to set up the project correctly so they work the way they are meant to work.  We have to learn the hard way.  These models are informative and merely not the representation of masses and forms, they contain crucial information about everything you would ever need to know about a building.  Well, now we all know what a BIM model is, but at the time it was quite a challenging tools for us.


BIM know-how challenge aside, another tough issue we encounter was how to convince our team to face the change and to foster this technology into their mindset.  This was hard since investing in this software was very expensive for a start-up firm like ours.  There were debates.  There were doubts about the compatibility of the software and many more issues not to mention.  What I had to do was to empower through them.  I literally forced them to use it.  I mean I did not allow them to use CAD in the project I was in charge of.  There was a lot of pressure on the learning curve timeframe while keeping the deadlines.  That was rough but it worked.


Now 4 years later, we are proud and confident to say that our office operates with BIM.  We now operate on both platform of ArchiCAD and Revit.  There are pros and cons of both applications, but we are learning to know them better.  There are a lot more interesting stories about BIM that I would like to share with you all and I will keep our stories posted.



Revit Environment




ArchiCAD Environment



That Paper Wall



At our office party in December 2013, we had an idea to create our very own backdrop for photo shoot.  I challenged our team to come up with a design that was possible to produce and assemble within a week period.  The wall was 8m. long by 2.4m. tall.  Material must be found easily within the office and most importantly, it must be cheap.

At last, out selected material was paper.  Yes, it was cheap and easily found in the office.  Our team came up with a paper module that can be done using A3 size paper and able to connect to other modules from all directions.  The process started in 3D modelling software before translating in to 2D print out for production.   The module was a simplify version of our house logo interlocking each other in opposite direction.

Once we had the module worked out and ready to be mass produced, I challenged them further to construct the entire wall without using any adhesive substance.  They had to come up with another simple structural system that would hold and stiffen the modules together.  Of course, this structure was also made of paper.  It took about 3 days to produce over thousand of paper module and another 3 days to assemble them together.  We figured that with this module the challenge wasn’t the length of the wall but the height.   The construction was easy until 1.5 m. tall, after that the lower module seemed to be carrying too much weight at that point we had to increased stiffener.

This project was one of the very first project we have done together as an office that wasn’t architecture and didn’t involve and clients.  It was our own and it was something we all really put our heart into to see it accomplished.  It was a great bonding experience.  Many times I think a good design doesn’t have to be complex and sophisticated, sometime having fun and trying something different is enough to bring a good design to the world as well.  I’m looking forward to more projects like this in a very near future.