As an award-winning firm with an intentionally diverse portfolio, ZGF Architects LLP practices a philosophy centered on design excellence in each and every aspect of a building—its fit with the community, its function and relationship to its users, its building systems, and its cost. Ideate, Inc. customer ZGF is using Autodesk Revit, and Ideate-developed Revit-based software solutions Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Explorer for Revit to help the firm meet contemporary challenges and compete in a changing world of design.
Courtesy ZGF Architects LLP; © Eckert & Eckert
ZGF BIM Director Trevor Taylor notes that the size and scope of the firm is such that ZGF has its own internal resources for software customization, support, and training. That being said, Taylor also notes that when Autodesk product contract questions and concerns have arisen, Ideate Account Manager Tony DiVincenzo has been the go-to person to sort things out effectively. “We rely on our Ideate Account Manager. He gets things done,” Taylor says.
The firm’s use of Autodesk Revit is enabling ZGF to overcome contemporary challenges many firms face. As Taylor describes recent trends, “Collaboration and growing customer expectations are not limited to regions or any particular economic climate. I think projects are growing more complex. We used to share drawings; now we share data. And that data doesn’t sit still. Ideate BIMLink improves on Revit’s ability to constantly review and adjust project information.
“Owner expectations are higher than ever, and project schedules are increasingly tight. Fast track construction is no longer the exception it once was.
“As architects, what we know is more important than what we do; but we must be highly skilled at describing our visions to others,” Taylor says, and he offers an example: “For a recent project modeled in Revit, we were able to site the multi-family housing development to provide prospective residents unusual, unexpected city views.”
Taylor describes just one case in which Ideate BIMLink gave him a welcome windfall of time. On behalf of a very large client, the firm needed to sequentially number and tag about 1,400 parking stalls in a structure. For all appearances, that deceptively simple task represented a two-day time commitment. As he says, “With Ideate BIMLink, it took about 20 minutes from start to finish. That impressed (and relieved) the project manager.”
He continues by saying, “Ideate BIMLink has also turned out to be really handy in another way. It gives you access to the model in ways that Revit just doesn’t allow you to have. It gives you a way to dig down and get at the information you need.
“We use Ideate BIMLink as a way of coordinating separate data models. Recently, a healthcare client requested that we add a custom data field to all of the medical equipment items shown in their model. Values in a separate spreadsheet, supplied by our client, needed to be matched to specific items in our Revit model. The very tedious task of looking up and manually filling thousands of data fields was reduced to a 15 minute task with BIMLink and Excel’s handy VLookup function.”
In addition to Ideate BIMLink, Taylor uses Ideate Explorer for model auditing, power selection and model maintenance. As he acknowledges, “A Revit model can be a bit of a Black Box, thus making forensics and problem-solving difficult. Ideate Explorer for Revit works like a tree-viewer by letting us organize model elements like a file structure; and once organized, elements can be re-sorted by category or level or room. With Ideate Explorer, we can quickly locate, modify, and even remove items that would be otherwise invisible to even the most persistent Revit expert.”
Courtesy ZGF Architects LLP; © Eckert & Eckert
In an era when project timelines continue to compress, owner/builder expectations expand, and fastpaced cross-firm, cross discipline collaboration is the norm, ZGF has found that Ideate-developed Revit-based software solutions Ideate BIMLink and Ideate Explorer are helping the firm manage their work and manage customer expectations about their work.
ZGF Architects LLP is a design firm with a focus on architecture, interior design, and urban design. Founded in Portland, Oregon with a mission to strive for design excellence, stewardship of the natural and built environment, and exceptional client service, the firm has grown to include offices in Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, New York, and ZGF Cotter Architects Inc. in Vancouver, BC.
Ideate Software allows Revit users to have unprecedented control over their data. Ideate BIMLink, Ideate Explorer for Revit, and Ideate Sticky were all developed to solve persistent problems in Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Owner (AECO) workflows. Ideate Software solutions enable Revit users to save time, increase accuracy, improve project deliverables, and elevate design.