Context is critical. But when architects open up Revit to begin drafting, they’re generally working in a blank white box. All of that could be about to change with the Esri + Autodesk alliance.
Esri’s ArcGIS is the gold standard for GIS data—and it will show you everything from traffic, zoning, and demographic information to the exact location of every fire hydrant in the city. Architects, Contractors, and Engineers spend weeks gathering and synthesizing this data on each and every project they undertake. Having this information readily available and integrated into existing workflows will save time and money.
A hugely important and time consuming part of architectural design is site analysis. Logan Smith: “I had a project that spanned multiple parcels where there was wetlands, utility lines, protected forest, easements, and a semi conductor factory nearby that had special rules regarding runoff, along with everything else that any project would deal with like zoning, traffic, curb cuts, and topography.” Translating this information from the civil engineer’s PDF into a workable site model took weeks and was prone to human error. Instead of running through dozens of dead-end feasibility studies, an Esri + Autodesk alliance could automate that so you can spend more time designing for human experience.
When Simon Manning recalls his days at the ZGF model shop he says that getting models into their context was “without a doubt the most time consuming part of the job. The notion that all of that can be layered into a Revit model will save people a ton of time and energy and get way more relevant information faster.”
The importance and difficulty of context can’t be overstated. And communicating and comprehending that context is one of the ways VR is the best tool for the job. In VR we can layer contextual GIS data, map data, and building models. This means we can do everything from verifying the view from your 40 story apartment to exploring your city for lots that fit your zoning and demographic criteria all while analyzing their topography at various scales. VR does that now, albeit with some development cost. If the Esri + Autodesk alliance streamlines this process it will be huge.
We don’t yet know exactly how the alliance will work, but we are hoping that it’s a seamless integration with the Autodesk products we are already using.