Abraham John Architects uses Autodesk Revit to realize their vision for a luxury development project in Khandala
About Abraham John Architects
Transition to BIM
Currently under construction, the Discovery Villas in Khandala are a luxurious residential development that AJA is designing for an elite real estate firm based in Mumbai. The project, comprising 21 units along with necessary amenities, sprawls over seven acres and engages the practice comprehensively across its master planning, architecture, interiors and landscape design. The scheme harmonizes the buildings into its undulating terrain in an appropriate response to the site and opens up the bungalows to stunning views of the scenic surroundings. Exuding a suburban appeal of exclusivity, all of the typical 6,000 square feet residences consist of four bedrooms, a den, living spaces, each opening onto private gardens/ terraces/ patios, a media room, a private pool around the dining “island” and ancillary areas. The carefully-chosen palette of materials is a deliberate reflection of its context and extends the design team’s detailed ideation. The client was so impressed with the final concept that it prompted him to expand the initial plan of building only seven bungalows to twenty one.
The project presented a dual-pronged challenge for AJA. Given the scale, genre and significance of the scheme for the developer client, they were intensively involved in the decision-making process and wanted to explore multiple design options before finalization. The program, thus, evolved constantly and required the entire workflow to track and reflect the done modifications and changes. The second and more pressing challenge was the need to foresee the hurdles and address the inaccuracies likely to occur with the many contractors and consultants engaged in its execution. A further challenge was to duly maintain the integrity of the design as visualized by AJA and approved by the client – from drawing to site and foundation to finish. “Both challenges overlapped on the need to create more clarity in terms of perception, whether for taking a final call on the material being used through perspectives and renderings for the client or in creating a better understanding of a detail for the contractor or in ensuring smooth workflows,” said Alan.
Comprehensive design visualization for informed decision making
With easy user interaction, high-quality output and faster render times, the mental ray® rendering engine enabled superior design presentation in a photorealistic state. “While our client required many design options, because we worked in 3D, particularly views, from the start, we had more control over the project because it helped the client get a detailed preview of spaces and materials etc. to eventually finalize what he wanted before construction vis-à-vis speculating upon the same once it had begun and then changing it, ” points out Alan. “Thereafter what we have been doing is – now that construction is on in full swing and already in the interior stages - we take photographs from the same angle as we have made our renders so that the client, contractor and end owner are all aware that what they have been shown is what they are going to get.”
The precise comprehension of data in 3D, given the all-inclusive design visualization features of Autodesk Revit software, helped AJA rectify the inaccuracies seen in the 2D drawings of consultants. The available clarity in 3D visualization also augurs well for the varied teams of local contractors, who either do not have access to the software or are unable to relate the details of 2D documents to the site. Alan elaborated, “All our construction drawings are supplemented with 3D details – a perspective of the building area where the detail is located and the particular detail itself for instance a roof framing joint or a clerestory window. It makes more sense for the contractor when they picture that detail in 3D so if they have a better suggestion, it can come along during the course of construction which makes a difference rather than post construction touch-up work. So while it is good from our point of view for design, it is also good from the construction point”.
Bidirectional associativity and worksharing for efficient coordination and workflow
The inclusion of room schedules in all Revit drawings also became really useful because whenever the client wanted alterations as a change in the number of rooms or the sizes of a room according to his program, we modified it within parameters to keep our overall design intent intact. Another supportive feature of Revit in maintaining efficient design coordination was worksharing, which allowed us to work and save in one central file instead of separate files.”
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