H+C is Enhancing Design with Advanced Technology

H+C is Enhancing Design with Advanced Technology

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Advanced technology such as virtual reality (VR), 3D printing, and 3D laser scanning is revolutionizing the field of architecture.  These tools allow Hastings+Chivetta’s architects and designers to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the design process and streamline communication between our colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.  Innovative use of virtual tours, flythrough videos, high-quality renderings, and more help immerse our clients in the design process and create experiences that excite communities that will benefit from the project.  The following points describe just some of the new technologies that inspire our team and are used most often in our design process.

  • Drone flyover footage allows our team to gain an exceptional understanding of each project before design even begins.  In addition to in-person site visits, drone videos can aid in quickly identifying the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities unique to each renovation, addition, or new building.  Drone footage is particularly useful in assessing pre-existing conditions and identifying aspects of a site, building, and its surroundings that must be considered early on in the design process.  Having a more complete understanding of a project and its environment saves time and cost, allowing our architects and designers to concentrate more fully on perfecting the design of a building. 
  • 3D printed building and site models help our architects and designers explore various site options and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each possibility.  Often, potential challenges or solutions are best identified by examining a project from multiple perspectives.  3D printed models help our clients understand the possibilities and constraints of their project site and how the renovation, addition, or new construction may change a facility’s relationship with surrounding structures.  These models garner excitement for the project as clients and potential donors can see the tangible impact of a project in an intuitive manner.
  • 3D laser scanning is an invaluable tool we use to document the existing conditions of a building efficiently and accurately.  A 3D laser scan captures the fine details and unique shapes of a structure with millions to billions of data points.  This data is then used to construct a REVIT model that is impressively accurate to 1/16th of an inch.  3D laser scanning is extremely versatile as it can create digital models for buildings of any age, size, type, and condition.  3D laser scans are the starting point of many design processes but can also be used by a client for many purposes.  A facilities department can use laser scans to document the existing conditions of all campus buildings, making it easier to plan and begin an addition, renovation, or demolition going forward.  Capturing 3D laser scans during construction to document mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems behind walls is useful to facilities departments and building owners.  This forward-thinking step saves significant time and money by ensuring that future repairs, renovations, and additions are properly planned so as to complement existing systems and their placement.  3D laser scans are also a growing tool in historical preservation; digital models can be used to recreate an iconic campus feature if it were to be damaged or destroyed.
  • Virtual reality tours are excellent immersive experiences that allow our team to more fully explore a space and identify unresolved issues early in the design process.  Using this tool, we can test different design options at full-scale and efficiently review proposed concepts with clients.  Our clients benefit greatly from virtual reality tours, which allow stakeholders to identify design choices that seemed desirable in discussion but may not be necessary or practical in a completed facility.  Virtual reality walkthroughs are also important experiences that engage potential donors as they immerse themselves in a space that feels extremely real.  Check out a recent VR tour here.
  • Fundraising graphics are an important part of clearly communicating our design progress and generating excitement for a project.  Renderings help our architects and designers experiment with the visual aspects of a building and aid clients in selecting the best aesthetic and finishes.  As decisions are finalized, our team of graphics specialists collaborate with clients to create support materials that inspire an entire campus or community and generate buy-in for a project.  In addition to traditional color renderings and plans, our graphic support capabilities include printed brochures and posters, website graphics, exterior signage, promotional videos, and 3D animations that really bring a project to life.

Employing a variety of advanced design technologies allows our architects to develop dynamic designs more efficiently, connect with clients on a deeper level, and generate greater excitement and support for a project.  The enhanced design technologies available today indicate an inspiring future of collaboration between architects and clients to create truly transformational facilities.

To learn even more about how our team utilizes advanced technology in architectural design, contact Erik Kocher at ekocher@hcarchitects.com or (314) 529-4004.