Kohn Pedersen Fox: A New Way To Experience BIM
“Enscape not only cuts down on hours spent producing renderings, but is offering project teams the ability to instantly experience the spaces they are designing while they work.”
Ian Siegel and Paul Renner | BIM Practice Specialists | Kohn Pedersen Fox
Who’s Ian and Paul?
We’re BIM Practice Specialists at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Architects in New York (www.kpf.com). The most enjoyable part of our work is finding solutions for teams of designers and architects that improve their problem-solving, modeling, design, and documentation processes.
Our design technology team has always recognized that rendering is an inefficient process. A typical rendering workflow usually requires a project be exported from the model authoring software – usually Revit or Rhino – into another application for rendering, followed by several hours spent preparing the model (materials, lighting, camera setup) just to hit the render button. While the finished results of this process are spectacular, it takes too long, can be extremely tedious, and does not accommodate rapid and last minute design changes.
When we first took Enscape (enscape3d.com) for a test drive, we were immediately impressed with how little time and effort was required to walk through our fully-rendered model like we were playing a video game, and producing high-resolution renderings was just a matter of clicking a button. In many ways, we saw Enscape as a tool that would help us get more mileage out of our Revit projects and reap more of the benefits of our investment in BIM.
We’re still in the process of rolling out Enscape, but so far, interest has been positive and organic. Once in a while, Paul will invite an entire design team over to his desk to let them take turns viewing their project in Enscape through the Oculus VR headset. In fact, one project team enjoyed this immersive experience of their project for the first time a few days before a major milestone deadline – it was refreshing for them to take a break from their work on two-dimensional drawings to move throughout the space and be reminded how their project is so breathtaking.
Although there’s been a tremendous amount of buzz recently around Virtual Reality, there are still plenty of people who have never experienced the technology. About a week or two ago, we pulled a site model of New York City from another application into Revit and highlighted the buildings in the city designed by KPF. This week we’re going to display the model in our gallery and fire up Enscape with the Oculus VR headset plugged in for anybody in the office to take their first virtual walk around town. So far, it’s been a great way of demonstrating the potential for VR to the handful of people who have asked about it, but we’re looking forward to introducing this technology to people who have only heard of VR and never seen it in action.
We’ve discovered we’re using Enscape as a kind of “digital prototyping” tool. For example, we now rotate through multiple design options for wall systems and lobby interiors in Enscape, all within the live Revit model. Any changes we make to the model update automatically and immediately in Enscape. We don’t feel like we’re rendering – it’s more like we’re exploring.
Our BIM team expects Enscape to continue to catch on very quickly at KPF because it’s easy for a user to pick it up and start exploring. Enscape doesn’t feel like it’s an additional software to deal with, it feels more like another viewport in Revit that contains a live-rendered 3D view. We’ve recommended a few settings to help designers achieve the KPF rendering “look and feel”, but the user interface and navigation is intuitive enough that we don’t expect a need for training.
We’re pleased to see that Enscape has added to the ability to export projects in a stand-alone viewing environment. This should really help with project reviews and client presentations that don’t require Revit.
As much as we love the “M” in BIM – the Model – the real power is in the “I” – the Information. We think Enscape can help us do a great job of experiencing the model and visualizing the data simultaneously.
You’re very welcome! We hope we can touch base in a couple of weeks and give you an update on KPF’s global rollout and share some more images!