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Skins - not slabs: The way forward?

Paul King
I think the big roadblock stopping whole-hearted adoption of BIM as a generater of working drawings is the difficulty in making the complex surfaces of all the elements of a building clean up in 3D/section

After years of use, I still struggle and require extensive trial & error to get things to heal correctly, overlap & trim in both 3D & 2D when full construction documentation level of detail is involved, except with the simplest of forms.
In many cases, I cannot say that this is clearly faster then 2D drawing

What I think may be the way forward is a paradigm shift away from trying to use simple isolated solids to represent multilayered building elements, to intelligent interconnected SKINS to represent & sheath the surfaces that we actually need to see & document

All surfaces for sure can sit on structural cores , which can be walls, roofs, slabs etc as currently - but it is the way the surfaces outside those cores are portrayed and interact with each other that makes all the difference

For example:
I would like to be able to quickly define a volume with core elements, then with a single space-click sheath the walls, floors & ceilings, with claddings that that are smart enough to know how to meet each other. The core elements could then be switched off, allowing space for detailed structure/framing to be later depicted behind the skins - either in 2D or preferably 3D

These skins need to be very very adjustable along every edge & face - e.g. so user can add & drag nodes in 3D to define changes in material/thickness/orientation/steps in & out etc within each skin/plane

Skins need to be able to extend beyond core elements (which are placed only as rough form-only design guides), not only to heal correctly against each other, but to allow overhangs & overlaps with other skins

The skins need to keep track of each other to stay linked & to intelligently adjust joints as core elements are dragged around

CADimage (www.cadimage.co.nz) have started down this track with their wall & roof accessories - and these are now developed enough to show the staggering potential & very exciting possibilities ahead - IF we adopt this more intelligent/elegant & intuitive approach

This way, designers can finally match the desire to work directly with what we want to see, with the need for discipline & consistancy & structure - rather than agonising over workarounds/patches & compromises to "fake" the correct impression from any given 2D or 3D view as we do currently

Does this make sense?


Paul King
ArchiCAD 8-26
Octane Render Plugin for ArchiCAD
Twinmotion 2022
Windoze 11
Intel Core i9 10900K
Nvidia Gforce RTX 3080
32 Gb DDR3
2x4K 42" monitor extended desktop

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