AEC Tech News: 2D to 3D #10

23 Feb, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst AEC Tech News

Transcending the Usual

NBBJ uses Bentley's BIM for 'new image' Moscow Medical Center

Founded in 1942, NBBJ has steadily grown into a global architectural giant, with 2004 revenues that approached $160 million. The firm specializes in health care facilities, corporate design, airports, commercial architecture, urban design and planning and other large-scale facilities. Some of its latest projects include AsiaWorld Expo in Hong Kong; Moscow Four Winds; the VA Outpatient Clinic Facility in Columbus, Ohio; Serebrencechskya Multifunction Business Center, Moscow; the Harbor View Medical Center addition in Seattle, Washington; and the Wellcome Trust Biotechnology Campus in Hinxton, United Kingdom.

In 2002, NBBJ was awarded the architectural contract for the Moscow Medical Center, destined to be the leading state-of-the-art private health center in Russia. Located in the Krylatsky Hills complex just west of central Moscow, the 31,000-square-foot facility was proposed as a "new image" to transcend the institutional appearance of Russian health care facilities.

The project's development budget of $108 million would cover two buildings -- one a five-story edifice, the other three stories. Aimed at the growing upper-middle classes in Russia, including business people and members of government, the facility will provide primary and acute care, emergency and trauma medicine, inpatient care and postoperative nursing, cardiology surgery and rehabilitation, physical therapy and others.

3D Visualization Paramount
From the outset, NBBJ knew that visualization of the proposed design would be key to the success of the Moscow Medical Center project. The firm chose Bentley MicroStation V8, MicroStation TriForma and Bentley Architecture as its design platform. The BIM (building information modeling) capabilities of its design suite would provide the kind of 3D visualization and communication demanded on all fronts, foreign and domestic.

?We used 3D BIM technology throughout the design phase to study alternatives and make sure we were going in the direction our clients wanted us to pursue,? says Drew Burgess, NBBJ senior associate and leader of the Moscow project. In addition to conventional 2D drawings, BIM was used for massing studies, illustrating the uses of materials, describing interior spatial relationships and other modes of visualization that would have been impossible in 2D.

Vital Communications Tool
But BIM was also vital in communicating design intent with partner groups such as ABD Architects, NBBJ's Russian associate firm and with project developer CMI Development.

"Through Bentley technology, we were able to look at objects in 3D, which provided a better means of study and communication, enabled us to work better with our client and team and let everyone see what the finished product would look like," says Burgess. He further applauded BIM's advantage of allowing the whole building to be completely visualized two years before it was built, which provided a more comprehensive understanding of the 3D space and enabled much better and more informed decision making.

Bentley gave the project its 2004 BE Award for BIM in Architecture. The new age facility will serve as a proof of concept of the value of 3D design and building information modeling.

Web sites
Bentley Systems BIM
Bentley Systems BE Awards of Excellence

This special edition of AEC Tech News examines the real-world experiences of architects and builders as they move from 2D drafting to 3D modeling. If you have suggestions about companies or issues you'd like to see covered here, please e-mail us at