Conectando design e construção com o Unity Reflect

Como a SHoP Architects acelera a comunicação no escritório e no local de trabalho com experiências BIM em tempo real em AR e VR

SHoP Architects: um estudo de caso do Unity Reflect

Award-winning architecture firm SHoP Architects is on a mission to make the process for bringing buildings from vision to physical reality more efficient. Accelerating its progress, the firm is among the first in its industry to embrace Unity Reflect, the new architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) product from Unity.

  • O projeto

    Aplicativos BIM em tempo real personalizados para AR e VR usando Unity Reflect e o Unity Editor

  • O objetivo

    Diminua o tempo e o custo de construção tornando BIM mais visual, interativo e disponível no local de trabalho

  • Plataformas

    HTC Vive for virtual reality (VR); iPad for augmented reality (AR) (using Apple’s ARKit)

  • Membros da equipe


  • Local

    Nova Iorque, EUA

SHoP Architects talk skyscrapers, real-time data and digital twins.

Criando experiências BIM em tempo real com o Unity Reflect

Headquartered in New York City, SHoP’s 200-person team works on marquee projects in its backyard as well as around the world. With a diverse portfolio of clients, from Google to the U.S. Department of State, SHoP Architects embraces technology to drive better collaboration and create more meaningful, beautiful buildings. 

With Unity Reflect, Adam Chernick and Christopher Morse of SHoP’s interactive visualization department intend to catch design flaws early, solve problems faster, and reduce the time it takes to build. Based on their experience in Unity Reflect’s beta program, they see the product playing a crucial role in their firm’s ability to drive better alignment between design and construction. 

The results:

  • Streamlined creation of real-time 3D experiences takes minutes instead of days to optimize large design models
  • Democratized access to BIM readily puts information into the hands of users, on any device
  • Better communication with key stakeholders paves the way to reduce change orders, construction time, and costs

Habilitando novas formas de comunicação em AEC

A SHoP Architects é conhecida no setor de AEC por sua abordagem não convencional ao design. Um dos objetivos da empresa ao revolucionar os processos tradicionais é eliminar a entrega 2D. 

Da perspectiva da SHoP, nós já projetamos e desenvolvemos em 3D, então por que também não entregamos o projeto em 3D?

A SHoP enxerga tanto valor nessa abordagem que entrega um número cada vez maior de projetos diretamente para o fabricante em 3D — uma raridade no mundo da arquitetura. A SHoP também usa realidade virtual (VR) como uma ferramenta de colaboração em toda a empresa. Análises de design digital comuns em VR ajudam os clientes e os líderes de design a mergulhar no espaço e oferecer um feedback melhor. 

Para ressaltar o compromisso com a inovação, a SHoP formou uma equipe dedicada à visualização interativa em 2017. Esse departamento vai além de renderizações e diagramas, criando maneiras dinâmicas e interativas de comunicar designs dentro da empresa, bem como com clientes, consultores e toda a equipe do projeto. 

BIM para 3D em tempo real: de dias para minutos

SHoP’s interactive visualization team uses game engines and real-time technology to communicate with people at all stages of the design process. 

The traditional workflow for bringing projects into Unity required decoupling the geometry from the BIM metadata, via FBX and Excel, and then forging them back together in Unity. When projects were in active development and undergoing design changes, Chernick and Morse estimate that 60% of their time was spent on this painful, time-consuming process. 

“I enjoy building tools that can help our teams solve design challenges they are facing,” says Morse. “But the reality is that most of my time was spent taking their models and exporting, optimizing, and importing them into Unity.”

Even worse, this hard work was often in vain. By the time Chernick and Morse completed the import, development, and deployment of their tools to design teams, the designs were often already out of date due to the speed of iteration and constant changes.

Unity Reflect’s plugin with Autodesk Revit and other design applications offered a much-needed solution. With one click, SHoP’s design teams can bring one model together in real-time 3D from different systems (e.g., architectural, MEP, structural) – with both the geometry and BIM metadata intact. “With Unity Reflect, I don’t have to worry about data prep anymore,” says Morse. “I just build the tool.”

And because Unity Reflect maintains a live connection to the design application, reimporting new designs is no longer a constant part of Chernick and Morse’s jobs. “This is a very, very welcome technology for us,” states Chernick.

The flexibility to build the right tool for the job

With data transfer and optimization solved, Chernick and Morse have more time to innovate and build interactive, immersive experiences throughout the design process. Depending on the particular issue their design teams are working on, whether it is interior design, fire evacuation code, work space lighting, or traffic management, the best tool could be a desktop application, an immersive VR walkthrough, or a mobile augmented reality (AR) app that can connect to their models.

While Unity Reflect requires no coding skills, it is also an extensible product. Unity developers like Chernick and Morse have the flexibility to build on top of Unity Reflect – both by using its viewer-reference application source code and by bringing Unity Reflect prefabs into the Unity Editor to create custom real-time BIM applications across various platforms.

One such SHoP application is a VR simulation that visualizes acoustic wavefronts immersively in a controlled environment. The simulation happens in real-time and is interactive, allowing a designer to make changes (e.g., adjusting the angle of a ceiling) and immediately understand the corresponding impact on acoustics.

In addition to sending geometry through to the application, SHoP can also send data about the materials. Different materials have different acoustic properties – reflecting or absorbing more sound. This data was previously unavailable to Chernick and Morse, but with Unity Reflect they can make changes to either the geometry shape or the physical material properties in Revit and have those update live inside VR. 

“Creating this iterative tool wouldn’t be possible without Unity Reflect’s ability to bring changes from Revit live into the experience and preserve BIM data. It unlocks a new way for our teams to evaluate the acoustic influence of their designs,” says Morse.

Tornando a construção mais eficiente

Unity Reflect opens the door for SHoP to better connect design and construction, and to improve communication on job sites. SHoP used Unity Reflect and Unity Pro to develop a unique real-time BIM application for one of its signature projects: 9 DeKalb, a 73-storey residential tower currently under construction that at 1,066 feet (325 meters) will be the tallest structure in Brooklyn. JDS Development Group is both the developer and general contractor on this landmark project. 

The application makes it possible to view associated documents and information based on BIM data. Technicians on the ground can overlay SHoP’s designs in AR on top of the ongoing construction project. They can also surface construction documents from Revit that are tied to their exact position. 

“The combination of spatial understanding as well as instant access to all necessary information makes the consumption of construction documents much more fluid and immersive,” says Chernick. “We’re ultimately trying to save time for our construction partners onsite by transforming hundreds of page turns of paper documents into a few taps on a tablet.”

Although this app is a proof of concept at this point, SHoP envisions eventually using custom-built tools like this onsite for all its projects. By offering a more intuitive, immersive way to conduct quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC), SHoP can help its general contractors decrease construction time. More accurate documentation and construction administration will translate to fewer mistakes and major savings. 

On average, change orders account for 8 to 14 percent of capital construction projects. On projects of the scale SHoP frequently works on, mitigating even one change order with this technology can save millions of dollars and precious time.

Adam Chernick, R&D Lead for AR/VR, SHoP Architects

“O tempo gasto para criar experiências em tempo real de um modelo BIM nunca foi rápido. Com o Unity Reflect, é fácil para qualquer arquiteto ou designer mover um modelo BIM e dados para o Unity. Isso é um divisor de águas para o nosso setor.”

Adam Chernick, R&D Lead for AR/VR, SHoP Architects
Christopher Morse, Associate | Interactive Visualization, SHoP Architects

“Desenhos 2D podem gerar muito confusão e ambiguidade que resultam em erros caros e projetos atrasados. Quanto melhor pudermos comunicar nossos designs para as pessoas responsáveis por construí-los, melhor serão o feedback e os resultados obtidos. O Unity Reflect pode nos ajudar a melhorar essa comunicação e economizar tempo e dinheiro em nossos projetos.”

Christopher Morse, Associate | Interactive Visualization, SHoP Architects

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