Saturday, September 23, 2017

OLD PROJECTS : NEW LOOK

It's always interesting to turn the clock back half a dozen years.  How crap were my Revit skills in 2008?  I was quite proud of myself of course, but it's revealing to open a file that's been lying dormant since then.  One such project is the William Morris's house in Bexley Heath ... the famous Red House designed by Phillip Web.



I didn't get very far with it really, just the bare outlines of the shell, and I haven't taken it much further this weekend.  The idea was to open a bunch of old files in Enscape and see how quickly I could generate some interesting images.  It's a continuation of what I started last weekend.  Part of the motivation is to try out some of the planting families I have been working up for my presentation in Arhus.  Put them through their paces.



So I just threw a whole bunch of trees on the site, made a couple of small tweaks to the roof and fired up Enscape3d.  This gives you a pretty decent render quality in a live window, with some useful settings sliders to help you find a suitable ambience for the image in question.  Then you can take screenshopts, or export panoramas if you like.  In practice I can generate useable images in less that a quarter of a time it would have taken using Revit's internal render engine.



In this case I'm not using RPC trees so Enscape is not substituting them with its own 3 dimenionsal versions.  Instead I have families that incorporate 3d CAD mesh geometry, picked up here and there on my travels.  These come out surprisingly well in Enscape and as a bonus I can export black and white images with sketchy outlines to merge with shaded views to create images that match the Enscape renders.  That wouldn't really work with RPC content.



These families have some other tricks up their sleeves with I will explain in my session and post here soon after.  Embedded plan symbols, instance scaling etc.  I was quite impressed by the shadows that some of them cast.  I'm not trying to do away with RPC trees.  I think they are great (That's why I took the time to make my own customised versions).  But it's also good to have other options up your sleeve.



Another project that's been lying dormant for many years is the Tunendhat house by Mies van der Rohe, featuring his famous "cross-section" columns.  I guess this is one of the very first houses to feature a wall of glass occupying the entire length of an open-plan living space.  Actually this one was motorised and retracted into the basement when the weather was suitable.  The house was built on a steep slope, so the view would have been quite spectacular.  Still is I imagine.  I really must find the time to push these two research projects further.  What an incredibly contrast in design approach.



In 2013 I attempted something rather ambitious for the RTC in Auckland.  I took 3 memorable 20th century office developments, modelled them in Revit and used those the models to present a comparative analysis, attempting to set each within its social and political context.  I had a mixed response, ranging from intense enthusiasm to total bewilderment.  It was an immensely rewarding project for my personally on so many levels.  One of the buildings was Lever House in New York.  This model was developed in some detail, but I haven't done much with it since 2013.  Comes out nicely in Enscape though.  I've done a bit of post-processing here, just for fun



I showed some images of Casa del Fascio, not long ago.  So I won't show that again here.  But the third office was the Gherkin, which I did develop further for a while, trying to turn it into a tutorial for architecture students who wanted to build the model for themselves.  That was also lots of fun, but after three lengthy posts I ran out of steam.  The model as it stands is a bit like a semi-peeled onion, revealing the underlying structure.  My intention, in all this work is educational: to use BIM as a tool for understanding our built history.  So it's not always necessary to create a complete replica of the original.  It's all about the thought processes that kick in while you are modelling.   Learning by doing.

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