Nowadays, innovative architects use extra tools when presenting their designs to help persuade clients: virtual reality, real-time renderings, photorealistic images or interactive presentations can facilitate a decision in the design process. I have known this at least since working on my current project: I am currently designing a technology center near Nuremberg for a German mechanical engineering company called Arburg, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of injection molding machines for processing plastics. Fichtner Bauconsulting has been contracted as general planner to undertake service phases 1 to 8 under the HOAI (German scale of fees for services by architects and engineers) for this BIM project. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling.

Our project deals with the expansion and renovation of an existing building with office and training spaces as well as a 500 m² showroom with a gallery where the injection molding machines can be put on display. In recent weeks, I have been working on the design with my colleagues and preparing an interdisciplinary model. The building consists of a reinforced concrete skeleton structure with a structural glazing system, a glass façade in which the glass panels are held in the support system by bondings. One of the special things about our project is its innovative energy concept comprising solar PV system and geothermal energy system.

Presentation in New Dimension

Thanks to methods like BIM, clients can effectively experience their projects close up, directly observe changes in spatial planning and wander virtually around the projects themselves. BIM is therefore a digital design method that enables the physical and functional features of a facility to be portrayed digitally. Thanks to a pool of relevant data that can be used jointly, BIM provides a reliable basis for decision-making throughout the entire life cycle of the building. One major advantage is the joint access and data exchange.

Schnitt durch das Revit-3D-Modell

Cross-section of the Revit 3D model

2D drawings, visualizations, real-time renderings and videos are generated from the 3D model. This new type of presentation and the digital design are not only really enjoyable to me personally, they are also impressive to our clients. After all, a smart 3D model not only offers many possibilities for me as an architect, but it also has many advantages for the client: design concepts, color schemes or interior design are communicated more clearly and decisions can be reached more quickly.

Einsicht in den Showroom aus dem 3D-Modell

View inside the showroom from the 3D model

The “Client Cinema”

These methods turn every design presentation into something of an event for the client. At first, I present the latest design as usual and run through the design versions. But instead of just showing floor plans, elevations and wall layouts as 2D drawings in a PowerPoint presentation, I also show real-time renderings and videos for the Arburg Technology Center project. This puts the client in a kind of “client cinema”, so that I can walk, or even fly, virtually through his building with him in real time.

A highlight of the presentation is a photorealistic video of the showroom interior with the selected materials and surfaces. To my delight, I was asked to play it several times during my last presentation.

It will become even more exciting when the project is completed in mid-2021 because then the client will be able to compare video to reality and walk through the building live for the first time.

Video of showroom and customer area – generated from the 3D model in real time: