by Pantelis Ioannidis for JRA
Visiting Japan? Bucket list item. Tick. Combined with presenting at the GRAPHISOFT Key Client Conference (KCC 2017) in Kyoto? Two ticks!
Having attended the KCC in Budapest last year, I knew exactly what to expect when I received the invitation from GRAPHISOFT to speak at this year’s KCC in Kyoto: excellent organisation, a two-day conference packed with sharing information, workflows and strategies and a number of unique evening events in places that you would not be able to visit if you just travelled to the city as a tourist. I wasn’t wrong!
The opening party was held at Kodai-Ji Temple. Strolling around the beautifully designed zen gardens, we had the opportunity to interact with the delegates and the GRAPHISOFT staff, talk business and share work experiences in a relaxed and slightly surreal environment.
The next morning, Viktor Varkonyi, CEO of GRAPHISOFT, kicked off the conference with a presentation on how the company is performing worldwide, showing considerable growth in Asia and Europe and on the vision for the upcoming years. This included the use of ARCHICAD and its associated software in the entire timeline of a project, in an Open BIM environment, where the need for model federation and data conversion will not exist.
ARCHICAD 21 global premiere followed Viktor’s presentation. The company launched the next version of its flagship product, focusing on the new predictive design enabled stair and railing tools, among other enhancements to the software. This was a much anticipated update within the ARCHICAD community and users around the world will be delighted to put their hands on the new stair tool. I am sure a lot of people at JRA will be singing ‘hallelujah’, once ARCHICAD 21 is installed on their computers.
The afternoon sessions were all dedicated to how contractors approach BIM and use ARCHICAD. Ming Zhang of Beijing Jianyi Investment, China, Hidemi Ikeda of Takenaka Corporation, Japan, Yeon-Seok Jeong of GS E&C, Korea and Kazumi Yajima of Kajima Corporation, Japan, shared their experiences with using BIM in the construction sector and how this can affect work arrangements and flexible working. It was very interesting to see that these large companies invest heavily in R&D and develop additional tools to streamline their workflows. The highlight was smartCON Planner, a temporary construction planning add-on, developed by Kajima Corporation.
The Gala dinner followed at Hyatt Regency Kyoto, where we had the opportunity to watch a traditional Japanese Noh theatre performance combined with fine dining.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to designers. Johnathan Redman of FJMT, Australia, took the stage first. He interestingly showed how BIM can be combined with craftsmanship to produce and deliver beautiful designs and forms. The practice, whose stair design is featured in the ARCHICAD 21 cover, showcased how BIM can become more design focused.
Next up was Patrick Lee of Surbana Jurong, Singapore. Patrick presented a number of impressive conceptual design computational workflows based on rules and generative design. His presentation initiated a debate among the audience in how much a computer can ‘think’ instead of the Architect, but we all agreed that as long a certain balance is kept, tools of this nature are always welcome and can help the Architect optimise the design and make informed decisions based on several computer-generated design iterations.
Darren Tims of HDR │Rice Daubney, Australia, was the first to present a case study at the conference, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Darren showcased their internal use and interaction of dRofus, ARCHICAD and Solibri, as well as the way they collaborated via IFC with external consultants who used different platforms, stating that if there is willingness to work collaboratively, using different tools is not a hurdle.
I took the stage in the afternoon. I presented JRA’s BIM journey and how this has transformed from a closed environment, ten years ago, to an Open BIM environment in the last couple of years with the increased use of the IFC scheme. I gave an introduction to what the UK BIM Level 2 standards entail and how an ARCHICAD template can be set up to comply with these. A big part of my presentation was related to information/data and a number of workflows that can automate the production of data from within ARCHICAD and validate the deliverables in Solibri. I concluded my presentation with the case study of Bracken House, a listed office refurbishment where BIM is used extensively. It was great to hear such positive feedback after the presentation and I am particularly honoured that a number of delegates renamed it to a ‘masterclass’.
William Cheung of LWK & Partners, China, Yimin Sun of SCUT, China and Kensuke Yasui of Nikken Sekkei, Japan, also presented their companies’ BIM strategies agreeing that the key change is not related to the introduction of new technologies and software, but to transforming hundreds of staff from a conventional 2D mindset to the 3D/data world.
The conference concluded with a relaxed dinner party at Kennin-Ji Temple, in the beautiful district of Gion in Kyoto, where if you are lucky enough, you can spot Geishas walking to their next performance venue.
The GRAPHISOFT KCC 2017 was a great success. It was very interesting for me to see how large organisations with thousands of staff, either design consultants or contractors, approach BIM and information management. I am also honoured that I had the opportunity to present our very own BIM journey and express our support for Open BIM workflows. Last but not least, I was able to cross one more item off my bucket list. Japan is a beautiful country, with a significant historical and religious background which is evident in every step for a visitor.
On behalf of JRA and personally, I would like to thank GRAPHISOFT for the invitation to speak at the conference and for sponsoring my trip.