For the past two years, Kahler Slater has partnered with Microdesk, a leading global digital delivery and management consulting firm and part of Symetri, Addnode Group, for building information modeling (BIM) technology support, including customized design automation needs using Revit with Dynamo and utilizing Orkestra (sold independently by Mostafa) to deploy the scripts. The use of Dynamo, a visual programming add-in for Autodesk Revit, which provides open-source graphical programming, enables custom computational design and automation processes for the BIM application. (Other technology including Autodesk Construction Cloud Docs for file exchange and tracking, Design Collaboration within the Autodesk Construction Cloud platform for client collaboration, and Camtasia for tool tips videos are also used throughout the process.) Together, the teams at Microdesk and Kahler Slater have worked closely and regularly to brainstorm and create customized scripts and workflows that have led to timesaving, creative solutions, and ultimately, successfully designed products that help drive results for clients.
New technology and digitization have been transforming the work of architects for decades – from BIM to 3D printing to artificial intelligence. Innovation and automation have propelled the industry to operate more efficiently, productively, and sustainably. It also opens up doors to be more creative in architectural design, aiding in the execution of complex tasks, and freeing designers to use their time and talents for larger scale ideas. Computational and generative design tools like Revit and Dynamo, can be used to automate routine tasks, create highly complex designs, and enable creativity while improving efficiency.
At Kahler Slater, the combination of creativity and efficiency is key. Design teams are learning the benefits of design automation with more and more project managers, project architects, and specialists adopting the technology in their everyday work. The passion that team members have for Dynamo’s ability to create efficiencies and make a difference in their work is contagiously spreading to others.
“People are starting to use the technology to create timesaving scripts and they quickly get the mindset of ‘Oh, I don’t have to do this all by hand. This could be a faster process.’ It’s starting to get the wheels turning internally with users,” explained BIM Manager Amanda Abbott-Wiemann at Kahler Slater.
Dynamo and Revit together can be utilized to create individual scripts, combined for workflows, that can automate repetitive processes, minimize human error, and ultimately make the design process more efficient. Automation empowers people to do better work in more efficient ways. Using these innovative, custom tools, the designers can save time previously spent on tedious, repetitive tasks to be more productive, enabling more meaningful work and raising the level of creativity and innovative thinking.
“The time saved permits our team to focus not only on more interesting or innovative aspects of the job, but also allows us to better address specific client goals and needs. We move from “doing the job” to elevating and expanding ideas, all to support our clients,” shared Tracie Parent, Chief Operating and Financial Officer at Kahler Slater.
As an example, for one large Kahler Slater hospital project, the team was tasked with setting up all the views for specific rooms, including floor plans and interior elevations. “We developed a series of scripts to automate the process. And as a result, we laid out an entire set within a day, which would normally take more than a week to do,” said Paul Kitchen, Architect and Automation Leader at Kahler Slater. “Creating powerful tools that automate many, many small time-consuming tasks, executed in one touch of a button, opens up possibilities to do more — more leading-edge ideas and more for our clients.”