Bim for architecture
This category applies to creative and effective uses of information-based approaches in
the architectural design and documentation processes. Of particular interest are projects in
which the use of BIM solutions enabled exceptional design or other aspects of the project.
WINNER The Leadenhall Building rogers stirk harbour + partners Ltd
The Leadenhall Building is a 48-story tower that
rises 224.5 meters (802 feet) opposite Lloyd’s of
London. Its slender form creates its own distinctive
profile within an emerging cluster of tall buildings
in London. Construction challenges included the
close proximity of other occupied buildings, access
to the site, and underground transportation lines.
A 3D approach to its design was essential due to
the structural elements and node connections,
which were frequently revised.
The building’s steelwork is designed as an
integrated structural/architectural frame, similar
to those favored by Gustave Eiffel. Instead of
a traditional central core to provide structural
stability, a full perimeter-braced tube defines the
perimeter of the office floor plates and creates
stability under wind loads. The major nodes that
connected the members stood more than eight
meters tall, but had to weigh less than 30 tons in
order to be lifted into place.
The project team found that traditional construction
drawings did not define the nodes completely, so
the 3D model became the basis for all design
documentation, including drawings, details,
geometry statements, and fabrication data. The
team estimates this approach is 70 percent faster
than past methods, saving months of documentation
time (time that was redirected to optimizing the
building design). For example, the team uses a
VBA tool to extract geometric data and real-world
coordinate points into a fabrication-ready spread-sheet. In some cases, frame component data is
exported directly to rapid prototyping devices
that create small-scale physical mockups.
Bentley’s BIM solutions allowed these elements
to be manipulated quickly and easily, often during
discussions with the structural engineer. BIM also
allowed the project team to concentrate on the
design and constructability of the project rather
than on documentation. With the project only
partially completed, the software has already
paid for itself many times over.