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Bergin @ Berkeley

Architecture Research Lab

  • History of BIM

    The History of BIM (Building Information Modeling)

    I recently gave a call for assistance for a research paper that I have been developing off and on for the last year. The full article is available at History of BIM | Architecture Research Lab. If you have input, wisdom or suggestions for the article, comments are highly appreciated. 

    The Beginnings
    The conceptual underpinnings of the BIM system go back to the earliest days of computing. As early as 1962, Douglas C. Englebart gives us an uncanny vision of the future architect in his paper Augmenting Human Intellect.

    "the architect next begins to enter a series of specifications and data--a six-inch slab floor, twelve-inch concrete walls eight feet high within the excavation, and so on. When he has finished, the revised scene appears on the screen. A structure is taking shape. He examines it, adjusts it... These lists grow into an evermore-detailed, interlinked structure, which represents the maturing thought behind the actual design."

    Englebart suggests object based design, parametric manipulation and a relational database; dreams that would become reality several years later. There is a long list of design researchers whose influence is considerable including Herbert Simon, Nicholas Negroponte and Ian McHarg who was developing a parallel track with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The work of Christopher Alexander would certainly have had an impact as it influenced an early school of object oriented programming computer scientists with Notes on the Synthesis of Form. As thoughtful and robust as these systems were, the conceptual frameworks could not be realized without a graphical interface through which to interact with such a Building Model.


    Visualizing the Model
    From the roots of the SAGE graphical interface and Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad program in 1963, solid modeling programs began to appear building on developments in the computational representation of geometry. The two main methods of displaying and recording shape information that began to appear in the 1970s and 1980s were constructive solid geometry (CSG) and boundary representation (brep). The CSG system uses a series of primitive shapes that can be either solids or voids, so that the shapes can combine and intersect, subtract or combine to create the appearance of more complex shapes. This development is especially important in representing architecture as penetrations and subtractions are common procedures in design, (windows, doors).
    The development of light pens, head-mounted displays and various contraptions in the early days of human-computer interaction are well documented elsewhere. A rigorous history from an architectural perspective can be found in Nicholas DeMonchaux's book, Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. The text carves a narrative of the precursors to BIM and CAD technology as they were entwined in the Space Race and Cold War.

    Database Building Design
    Seeing buildings through the lens of the database contributed to the breakdown of architecture into its constituent components, necessitating a literal taxonomy of a buildings constituent parts. One of the first projects to successfully create a building database was the Building Description System (BDS) which was the first software to describe individual library elements which can be retrieved and added to a model. This program uses a graphical user interface, orthographic and perspective views and a sortable database that allows the user to retrieve information categorically by attributes including material type and supplier. The project was designed by Charles Eastman who was trained as an architect at Berkeley and went on to work in computer science at Carnegie Melon Uniersity. Eastman continues as expert in BIM technology and Professor at the Georgia Tech School of Architecture... Much more at Architecture Research Lab

    Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad was a pre-cursor to BIM.



  • // Vertical Cities Asia

    Vertical Cities Asia - Spring 2011 Courtyard of the Forbidden City - Beijing Shanghai World Financial Center - Pudong, Shanghai The site for the competition ... envision a city of 100,000. This was at the furthest edge of the voracious development in the city of Chengdu. Infant skyscrapers sit...


  • // Architectural LOLCATS

    On a lighter note, some of the thesis students here at Wurster Hall went stir crazy over Spring Break and have been developing a trove of Architectural LOLCATS. You are welcome to join us and submit your own Architectural LOLCAT at the following tumblr page, and suggest your own captions! Maru...


  • // Trends in Generative Design

    I have been researching optimization methods in architecture and I was delighted to learn about a few high profile projects that have utilized some fantastic algorithms to assist in the realization of complex forms. Multi-Objective Optimization or Multi-Criteria Design Optimization (MCDA)...

    Astana Library Optimization


    Living Light Structural Optimization


    Villa Savoye Generator



  • // Blogs - The New Manifestoes?

    image : Philip Dujardin/Domus Coming to you live from the 10th floor of Wurster Hall in beautiful Berkeley, California tonight the Monographs and Manifestos seminar will be broadcast in streaming video with chatroom. We invite you to take a look at our blog - with some bloglike ramblings...


  • // Studio ONE Symposium Review

    An incredible symposium this weekend at Berkeley, the inaugural Studio One Symposium organized by Prof. Nicholas deMonchaux. The event was broken up into two days, first an evening lecture by Mark Smout of Smout Allen known for their 'Retreating Village' project with seductive...

    Eco-Sniper cited by Liam Young (Warning.)



  • // STUDIO ONE Symposium

    from the symposium website...  "The Inaugural Studio One Symposium will be held February 10-11, 2012. Focusing on the studio's themes of architectural agency at an ecological and infrastrucutral scale, the symposium will bring together a global roster of influential designers and thinkers...


  • // Multi-Objective Design Optimization

    Working within a parametric interface with a genetic algorithm solver has been a real treat over the past year, thanks to Galapagos. The integration of simulation engines with the parametric interface has enabled much discovery and introspection into the possibilities that such a workflow could...

    Solar Optimization from Constrained Parametric Model



  • // Occupy Cal

    Last night, Berkeley CED Students set up camp in sovereign air space in response to the brutal police action last week against non-violent protesters. The cost of tuition continues to rise at UC and there have been a series of actions in solidarity with the Occupy movement and in response to the...

    Occupy Cal - CED Students set up camp.


    Police beating people armed with cameras.



  • // Jordi Truco Studio

    Awesome tests done by Anthony Gianinni and Pablo Zunzunegui in the Jordi Truco studio next door... interactive adaptive components driven by sensors. These are two unit tests for an aggregated structure that will be built at the end of the semester. They are using Arduino and Firefly for the...



  • // Post Industrial Latent Space

    Bryan Allen just returned from visiting the ruins of Chernobyl, follow his intriguing explorations of 'Post Industrial Latent Space' at his blog, updated frequently with great pictures. Bryan is one of two winners of the Branner Fellowship given by the UC Berkeley CED in 2010, the 2011 winners...


  • // M. Arch Thesis 2011

    Beautiful thesis projects abound at the presentations last Friday... a busy semester coming to a close giving way to a promising Summer and a formal beginning of my own thesis. My work this semester has focused on becoming literate in various scripting languages and diving deeper into the...


  • // Spring Lecture Poster

    My studio is taking part in the Vertical Cities Asia competition this semester. This competition asks us to design a city for 100,000 on a 1km by 1km space in Chengdu, China... an industrial city in central China with a population near 12 million. This rapidly urbanizing area poses a great set of...


  • // 2010 Retrospective

    During my first semester at Berkeley (M. Arch Option 2), I learned a great deal about the program that I would like to share with you. Berkeley is undergoing a shift of thought that makes it difficult to pin down exactly what the school's pedagogical aims may be. The new chair of the architecture...


  • // Californication

    Since my last post I've found a house in Berkeley. This weekend we unloaded the POD into the new house and threw a small party to celebrate that achievement. I met and re-acquainted myself with some of the Option III students who are taking the Summer Program, they are all very promising and I'm...


  • // Manifest Destiny

    Since my last post, I've become a resident of California, let me tell you a little about what that's like. I live in Aliso Viejo. It's a planned community that was incorporated 20 years ago from Laguna Beach. I'm 3 miles from the Pacific and it's all nature preserve from here to there, you can...


  • // Hello

    Please hold on, please set luggage cart break to on. (SFO) T-27 days until I leave Virginia, I thought I would get a jump on the school blog. The past two months have been a whirlwind of travel and exploration, visiting potential grad schools, job interviews, a wedding, a funeral, goodbyes...


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Architecture Research Lab specializes in design and construction technology and is located in Berkeley, California - www.archresearchlab.com

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