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Day 35 - Research keeps goin'

Scritto da Silicon_Simon.
Giovedì 05 Aprile 2012, 9:43 pm.


A lot of work to do kept me away from the net last days. After four weeks in Berkeley, it’s time to take stock of the situation and summing up what I have done so far.

Berkeley from Lawrence Hall of Science

UC Berkeley Campus and San Francisco in the background from the Lawrence Hall of Science.


Just like in most of northern European countries, U.S.A. and Canada raised a significant awareness of Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery, making the most of them all over the entire building process. Considering literature on digital models in architecture, many American firms have changed their working practices, methods, and behaviors to better support their clients. I found several case studies books on these topics in Berkeley's libraries.

UCB Campus in Spring Break

UC Berkeley officially declared springtime!

Quoting Finith Jernigan for example (author of Big BIM, Little BIM), “BIM includes processes by which the right information is made available to the right person at the right time”, through a visual framework “to represent physical and functional characteristics of an asset digitally in a reliable archive of asset information, from conception onward”.

Me and a 2600Hz whistle

Me whistling a 2600Hz tone in a public phone (this is for connoisseurs :) ).


I found extremely interesting this point and a cross reference implication which the author points out between Buckminster Fuller’s work and BIM: Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, written in 1969, can be actually considered a precursor of the whole BIM-based philosophy.

Fuller was responsible for many of today’s concepts in sustainability and in this book he examines how can man survive on Earth taking advantage of “Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science”, able to “do more with less”, overlapping different specialties and disciplines through technology (hey guys, this is BIM!). 

Me and the Magnet

Me and a gigantic magnet used by Lawrence to build the first cyclotron up.

This way, technology becomes not only a software application but a holistic information based system as well, which builds long-term value and advances innovation, improving architecture and design, together with environment preservation and how people live. 

2016 update herethis amazing page is full of works, pictures and info about Bucky Fuller. It's worth to pay a visit.

During last weeks I wrote a couple of scientific papers on this, and I’m planning to write a couple more before coming back to Italy. Here in the U.S., Building Information Modeling is tightly bound to sustainability, as I experimented and discussed with my fiancée and colleague Luisa Bravo. 

Luisa and Nobel Prize Parking

Standing on the shoulders of giants: Luisa and a parking destined to Nobel Laureate.


And here comes the point. 

In my University I heard many “so-called professors” (I mean, unimpressive professionals completely avulsed from the academic tenure track, but enrolled for tuition in some university courses with temporary contracts) often talking about ‘sustainability’ to our students, ignoring the actual meaning of the word and confusing them with the-same-old-blah-blah about thermal performances, green certification and other similar trivialities, as if these elements were the one and only frontier of sustainability.
Eddy Krygiel and Bradley Nies (authors of Green BIM - Successful sustainable design with Building Information Modeling) mention the World Commission on the Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland Commission) as a promoter of the best definition of sustainability: “Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This 1987 report to UN, published as "Our Common Future", deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving that change. Once again, we can find here a lot of the elements today related to BIM: lifecycle, coordination policy, resources optimization, better quality in building design process and so forth. BIM is sustainable by definition.

slide 01

A slide from my weekly briefing at EECS: third generation data exchange formats specs in AEC.

Now, this out of a book story has been a good preamble to my work at UC Berkeley.

What I am trying to do is preparing a pipeline where geometric morphologies acquired by active and passive survey devices can be directly streamlined to analysis software (i.e. EnergyPlus). It’s the pathway to sustainability through a BIM approach, based on existing buildings explored by means of digital models.

Process BIM > Analysis

Another slide from my weekly briefing at EECS: my proposition to streamline data from pointclouds to thermal analysis.

As I already discussed, it’s a matter of abstraction and communication rules. That’s why I decided to abandon IFC format to delve much more into gbXML; I found this interchange language versatile and mature. Like IFC it belongs to the third generation of building descriptive formats and it’s modular, so only needed parameters can be included (this is important for existing buildings). The next move: gbXML translation into .idf for EnergyPlus streamline.

Intersection of contents

gbXML can be the language to express knowledge as the intersection of different information.
Embedding data properly 
into geometry is  the fundamental of BIM.


As far as I can publish here, I'm now working on gbXML to isolate parameters in this modular way, searching for an optimization for data transfer towards the widest panoramas of BIM-related software.


Un commento


Thanks for the whistle! Much appreciated :D

Guido (E-mail ) (URL) - 15-04-’12 12:06

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Dal 2004 questo piccolo angolo di rete raccoglie gli interessi di ricerca e i lavori di sperimentazione digitale di Simone Garagnani in materia di cultura geek, ma soprattutto di Building Information Modeling, rilievi digitali ad alta risoluzione e computer graphics legata al mondo dell'architettura, dell'ingegneria e delle costruzioni. TC Project, è presente anche sul social network Facebook.


Welcome to these pages that host since 2004 Simone Garagnani's personal blog, a collection of nerd notes and geek experiences focused sometimes on Building Information Modeling, terrestrial laser scanning, digital photogrammetry and computer graphics applied to the AEC world. The TC Project is also available on Facebook.

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