Sunday, March 23, 2008

ENDS 170 Project 1

The following is my first major project for my ENDS 170 class at Texas A&M University. The assignment was to to create a 3D model in Autodesk Revit from a previous physical model created in another class. We worked on several tutorials for weeks to get a basic overview of Revit, and become more familiar with the tools and possibilities that Revit has to offer.
However, this project proved to be a great challenge for many of us. While the tutorials offered valuable help and exposed us to many aspects of the program, they did not prepare us for the challenge in this model. All of the tutorials were based on simple geometries which made them very easy and user friendly to create. Several of my classmates and I had the challenge of creating complex geometries with irregular shapes and angles in another program outside of Revit. A few of my classmates took the easy way out and simplified their models a lot. I like to be challenged so I kept my original design and created the complex geometries in Autodesk VIZ.

Even though the task was difficult and confusing, our professor did an amazing job in helping all of the students that decided to use the complex geometries. He did everything he could to explain the steps we needed to follow in order to reach the desired outcome of the model. I had a very hard time at first because I had never before used Revit or VIZ, but the more I worked on the project the more comfortable I felt. Any time I came to a point where I was completely lost and nothing seemed to work, I would ask my professor and he would usually know what to do or find out later exactly how to do it or an alternative way to do something.
I know that many of my classmates would agree with me when I say that this project was very difficult. We were exposed to something we were not too familiar with and had a hard time figuring it out. However, I am thankfull for the help the professor offered and the experience I got from this model. I learned a lot of new things that I had not learned in the tutorials.

My design, like I mentioned earlier is based on a model created in another class. We were given the assignment to create a museum with three art galleries, a rectption area, a break room, and public restrooms. However, we had to use irregular shapes that were transformed from squares and rectangles. In order to reach this goal in Revit, I had to use VIZ to create the geometries of the buildings. It took me several tries before I could get all the geometries to work the way I wanted them to but I finally got it. After creating the geometries, I had to Export the shapes as an (STL) file and import it back in to VIZ. Then I had to export it back out as a (DWG) file and import it into Revit to create a mass. After all this importing and exporting, I had the mass I neede to make my buildings, and I began adding walls, roofs, and curtain wall systems by face.
The floors were the hardest part of the design because I could not get them to attach to the bottom of the buildings and their walls. After many trial an errors and after restarting seven times, I finally had my buildings down. After that I just added componets into the floorplans and experimented with different things. I loaded many families into my file and modified many of the elements' properties. Finally I added a few extra finishing details like furniture railing on the landscape and trees. I wanted to create gardens on top of my buildings' roofs, but unfortunately I ran out of time and I did not know how to do it.
Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my project. The only issue (like with many projects) was that I did not completely get to finish and do everything I wanted to do. I ended up restarting this project seven times and it consumed a lot of my time. I finally got it to the stage I needed it to be, but because of the earlier failures, I ran out of time was not able to add as much detail as I would have liked. Now I know just how much time it takes to make a BIM out of scratch and I will prepare better for our next model. I am excited to see what awaits me. I have learned so much from this model that I know that with further interaction with the Revit and VIZ programs I will be able to come up with a little bit more complex models and will not feel as intimidated to start on them like I was with this one.
I just wanted to explain my pictures a little bit. From top to bottom:
(1) The first picture I have posted is from an ariel view of my entire complex and the landscape. The blue thing on top of building three is my 3D Composition created earlier in the semester for this class and is sitting on top of the roof as an expressive sculpture that is part of the art galleries.
(2) The Second picure is a camera view of the interior of building four (level 4) looking up at level 5 and the stairs leading to it.
(3) The third picture is of the interior of building two (level 2) looking up the stairs into the curtain system and the third level.
(4) The final picture is an ariel camera view showing the exterior of building four and five and looking towards building three and the sculpture.