image by Grimshaw Architects

Student Center and Dining | Grimshaw Architects | Duke University | 2014

This project scope was to design the new West Campus Union Square Building for Duke University. Program for this building called for Student Dining spaces as well as gathering and collaboration study areas. This design has a very unique location in the center of Duke’s Campus. It has a close proximity to the Quad, with its raised Plaza Level that connects it to the outdoors on multiple levels.  In response to those unique challenges and with respect to great tradition of the campus architecture, Grimshaw Architects have decided to take a minimalist approach to design. Our intention was to design a modern, well detailed, but formally “quiet” building that would mesh well with its surroundings. My role on the project was that of a BIM/Computational Specialist. My tasks ranged from BIM support, modeling, optimization (solar analysis), Navisworks Coordination, Computational support (automating some design studies) as well as training.

Computation Design Workflows:

As Computation Design Specialist and BIM Project Specialist providing support for this project, part of my job was to manage project Revit model, but also provide help during CD documentation phase. Given that I had to balance my work between producing detail drawings, modeling, doing code research, answering “Revit” questions and running Naviswork coordination meetings I had to come up with multiple improvements to Revit model management workflows in order to stay on top of it. I have written multiple scripts and created multiple workflows that would help me automate some of the most time consuming and mundane Revit tasks like: cleaning out warnings, tagging walls, room/door/window numbering, sheet management, occupancy load calculations, deleting imported CAD elements and many more. I have leveraged multiple computational tools such as Dynamo to streamline these tasks.

Detail Revit Modeling:

Part of my duties on this project was to train the staff in proper Revit modeling. Given a very detail oriented and custom design for a lot of curtain wall and bridge work, a considerable amount of my time was spent refining those highly detailed Revit models. Having a complete Revit model was also advantageous for the team when material was needed for presentations.


Project Documentation:

Detailing was a important part of this project. A lot of the brige, stair and curtain wall elements were to be custom made, so proper documentation was crucial. It all starts with highly detailed Revit models, but then actual details need to be developed and annotated. A library of Detail Components and Annotation Tags was established to ensure consistency of representation and language across the project.

Systems Coordination:

A big part of my role on this project involved organizing information exchange between all parties involved. I was also responsible for running coordination meetings and reports using Navisworks. Properly coordinating all of the work was critical on a project with such a compressed deadline and so many MEP systems involved. This was after all a Dining Hall with most of the floors dedicated to either preparing or serving food.

All visualizations are courtesy of Grimshaw Architects VU Team. All Design Detail drawings were developed in collaboration with Tiago Barros and Zach Fine.

Leave a Comment