Harnessing cloud-based collaboration at SHoP

Using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction have been able to design and fabricate more efficiently, leading to maximised savings

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 14 July 2015
Harnessing cloud-based collaboration at SHoP

This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows

SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction (SHoP), based in the US, have always embraced the idea of a new challenge. So when approached to design and fabricate a ­four-storey modular residence for Red Hook, an area in Brooklyn hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, the firm was quick to rise to the occasion.

“We take on challenges that most firms would not, and look at each one as a unique opportunity to express an architectural design and deliver it for the community,” says Jonathan Mallie, a principal of SHoP.

The project also gave SHoP a perfect opportun­ity to test out its new implementation of Dassault Systèmes’ (3DS) 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud. A long-time customer of 3DS, SHoP has previously used CATIA to develop high­-profile projects such as the iconic Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home to the ­Brooklyn Nets. With ­CATIA, SHoP designed and engineered the Barclays Center’s façade, then ­developed data for off-site fabrication and on-site construction coordination of the façade’s 12,000 uniquely sized steel panels.

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the ­United States’ Northeast coast flooding streets, tunnels, and subway lines and cutting off power to 8.5 million people. After the hurricane, the long rebuilding process began. As a local business, SHoP took on the challenge to create, ­develop, and build a unique, prototypical housing solution in Brooklyn’s Red Hook area.

The Red Hook project could hardly be more different from Barclays Center. It is tiny by comparison: a 3100 square-foot, two-family residence. The modular design includes a three bedroom primary unit on three upper floors, and a smaller one-bedroom unit on the first floor. The design calls for four modules to be fabricated off-site, then stacked and mated on site in just 48 hours. The modules sit on a foundation of concrete ­micro piles, raising all living spaces, mechanical and electrical equipment above flood elevation.

Mallie chose to develop the Red Hook project using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its cloud-based collaborative environment. “With the Barclays project, we were using CATIA V5 in order to manage the geometry and work with the factory floor,” Mallie explains. “We didn’t have a fully online collaborative Cloud environment to post the models. We developed our own. However, on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the modelling is on the cloud and available to the factory floor immediately. The benefit of cloud-based collaboration is speed and efficiency. You’re increasing productivity. You’re getting to the end of the project quicker.”

He said the aspirations of the cloud-based ­3DEXPERIENCE platform align with SHoP’s goals to focus on sustainable planning and architectural design, integrated with efficient fabrication and delivery. “A widespread challenge in the industry is for architects to come up with a design that the client will love and the builder can deliver on budget. We use the 3DEXPERIENCE virtual environment to maximise every dollar for design,” Mallie says.

To help manage projects based on associated product development deliverables, SHoP uses ENOVIA’s deliverables based Program Management. “We are using ENOVIA to manage project durations and milestones, as well as assign tasks and CATIA-based deliverables to team members across both the design and fabrication disciplines,” Cerone says. “Soon we’ll be using the folder system to release fabrication information to the factory. These deliverables begin with the design, modelling, and fabrication information of primary structural steel framing systems, as well as the design of the rigging-system for logistics coordination.”

The review and validation application embedded in ENOVIA is also a big benefit. It enables a user to review geometry and leave notes connected directly to a model that will be accessed by others. “You’re not editing a PDF. You’re not marking up a flat representation of a 3D model and emailing that to someone,” Cerone explains. “You’re leaving your feedback in an active production model and alerting someone to review it.”

The benefit of such collaborative review of actual models, he said: real-time feedback that facilitates seamless coordination between multiple parties.

The real-world test of that function came when SHoP began working with Island Exterior Fabricators, based in Calverton, NY, to translate its design into the first actual construction modules. “Without the 3D model created in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the design would have been delivered through drawing sets – ­detail views, assembly drawings and annotations – hundreds and hundreds of pages of documentation,” Cerone explains.

Avoiding the creation of drawings, which opens up the design to interpretation rather than strict adherence to the 3D model, is one of SHoP’s continuing goals. “We’d love to never make another drawing again,” Cerone says.

The cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform supports that dream. It makes the model not only a single source of design truth, but also a readily accessible source for all stakeholders. It guarantees that everyone will work from the same model, and that whenever or wherever they access it, that model will be up to date.

“It is the platform that we will model in, review in and schedule in. It is the platform that will determine the material we need to procure,” Cerone concludes. “The idea of a cloud-based solution is not the industry standard right now, but I think it’s inevitable.”

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