“From massing studies to finished renderings, Enscape allows us to completely integrate the design process like never before.”
Kimberly Fuhrman | BIM Manager | LSC Design
Who Are Kimberly and Travis?
[Kimberly] I got my technology start using CAD in civil engineering and architecture “way back when” and made the move to Revit about 10 years ago. Today, I have 23 years of in industry experience across both disciplines. This combination is pretty unique and it provides an integrated approach to building design. My background is particularly helpful within LSC design because we’re a multidisciplinary firm. My day to day work allows me focus on researching and implementing new companies and software, which I really enjoy. I’ve been with LSC since 2014.
[Travis] I got my architectural start when I was in elementary school! I really love drawing and art. By the time I got to high school, my counselor ask me what I liked to do. I told him, “I really like art and buildings” and he suggested I take a drafting class. My formal education began at Harrisburg Area Community College, where I attended for two semesters. Then I moved to Drexel University in Philadelphia. After graduating I began working for a civil engineering firm in Harrisburg. Although I’m a project manager I don’t just float above the technology– I actually use it on projects – you have to use the technology you’re talking about. I’ve been with LSC since 2012.
We’re a 50+ person architectural, civil and structural engineering firm. Although two thirds of our business is architectural related, we don’t specialize in any particular building typology. We’ve done churches, museums, conservatories, institutions, etc. Even private educational and higher educational projects as well as manufacturing, retail and health care.
What’s critically important to us is, “What does the client want and how are we visualizing and communicating that information?” At no point we want to show the client something that doesn’t fit within their budget and vision.
As far as technologies, our architecture and structural departments are strictly Revit. While we use Civil 3-D for civil engineering design, we started using Revit in 2008 for all of our architectural projects. It wasn’t a slow transition. We jumped in the deep end with both feet. One day the decision was made that all new projects were to start in Revit – and we haven’t looked back.
LSC is also very focused on the “I” in BIM. It’s not just about the design today and the construction tomorrow. We’re thinking ahead to the decades of operation and facility management. LSC takes a very long look at how technology can be used many years in the future.
It’s also very important to LSC to have a highly integrated design and production process. For many years we had a design department and another production department. The design department would focus on early design intent and renderings for visualizing the intent. Once design work was completed we pass it off to the production department. But the increasing complexity of projects and fast paced deadlines created a disconnect between intent and resolution that was incredibly disruptive and counterproductive to success.
With Revit, we have integrated the design and production teams and processes. Everyone on a project team is accountable from the very beginning. When we integrated the design and production process, we began doing a lot of rendering in Revit. But ultimately we discovered the process took too long. We began sending our projects to an external rendering service. But we soon realized the process took too long and it was difficult to control quality. Ultimately the process was also incredibly inflexible. We couldn’t accommodate necessary last-minute changes. So we started using the cloud for rendering.
But using the cloud for rendering is also too slow and disruptive. There is always a disconnect between what we were working on in Revit and what we’re presented in a finished rendering. The process was faster – but wasn’t fast enough. We still didn’t have time to re-render everything when we needed it.
Why do we use Revit? Because we want instant feedback and coordination. But if you think about it, we still allow for a different set of expectations about rendering and experiencing the project. Why is that? Why have a separate team of visualization “specialists”. Why not experience design decisions while you work as soon as possible – just like Revit? Ultimately, we needed a process that worked side-by-side with Revit and we finally found it with Enscape.
When we’re early in the design process we don’t want to show the client something that appears too realistic or finished. Paper mode is great going into meetings with clients early in the process. We used to create sketches by hand to give the impression that the design wasn’t too finished. Papermode in Enscape replaces this time-consuming in manual process of showing concepts that don’t appear too finished.
Once the project settles down and we know about more about materials, fixtures and other features of the building we can create more realistic, finished renderings. In Enscape, we’re able to do this nearly instantly. We’ve stopped using cloud credits for creating finished renderings. We only occasionally use cloud credits for energy analysis. But if Enscape was able to visualize energy analysis and other data, we probably stop using cloud credits altogether.
The other advantage of using Enscape is that we’ve been able to keep all of this work in-house. This allows a much higher level of control and quality. Whether it’s creating interior or exterior renderings or even cut away sections of buildings – we’re doing it all in Enscape.
We have been waiting for a process that is fast, flexible and high quality – and one more thing – inexpensive. Enscape gives us all of these features and more. Navigation alone is far more fluid and intuitive then Revit. And we like how Enscape doesn’t feel like another application. Nobody has time to learn another complicated rendering application. Enscape is just another tab inside Revit.
You’re very welcome. We’re incredibly excited to be using Enscape I look forward to the broad adoption of Enscape in the AED industry. Let’s catch up in a few months and we’ll give you an update. Or better yet – let’s catch up at Autodesk University!