AEC Tech News: 2D to 3D #16

24 Aug, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst AEC Tech News‘Massive Advantages’ 

Integrated building information model sells RTKL on Autodesk Revit

International architectural firm RTKL Associates can’t afford to take a casual approach to its design software. From its multicity offices, the firm takes a multidisciplinary approach to its projects, which cover civic, healthcare, hospitality, residential, planning, and urban design.

The Move to 3D
Last year, the firm assembled a task force from staff at each of its 10 locations — in London, Madrid, Tokyo, Shanghai, Baltimore, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. — to study design alternatives that would ensure maximum efficiency across all locations and projects. The firm interviewed the leading CAD developers from around the world with short- and long-term project efficiencies in mind. According to Douglas Palladino, RTKL principal, Autodesk Revit won approval hands-down.

Earlier this year, RTKL put 60 architects through Autodesk Revit training and used Autodesk consulting services to mentor these same architects on a number of projects. The firm has since completed its first 100% Autodesk Revit Building-documented project, a 300,000-square-foot building and 800-car parking structure for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In the United Kingdom, RTKL is using Revit Building on a £4-million healthcare project. David Davison, U.K. CAD manager with RTKL-UK, says, “We’re finding massive advantages through the way [Revit Building] coordinates changes across the entire design, saving both time and project costs. Also, visualizations are much easier to generate because, as the building model is being developed, we are able to generate a rendered perspective from the same design file. Therefore, when the client wants to view the finished product,” he says, “it’s a quick and simple process.”

Integrated Information
Part of the selling factor for Autodesk Revit was its ability to integrate with AutoCAD, but an even larger draw, notes Palladino, was its 3D approach to the integrated building information model. The large-scale project efficiencies realized through the ability to coordinate individual drawings and scheduling views across the entire model, right down to the construction drawings, was too valuable to pass up, he says. Now, Palladino explains, “People spend their time thinking about the more important aspects of the project, rather than just repeating menial tasks.”

In the Food and Drug Administration project, RTKL designers used Revit to show stakeholders how the project appeared from any vantage point all through the project, which resulted in more-informed decision-making and a better finished design — something that would not have been possible in a 2D-only approach. Before Autodesk Revit, RTKL maintained separate design models and documentation, which led to inefficiencies, says Palladino. “At a certain point during construction documentation, we would stop keeping the design model up-to-date. Now, as we continue to develop the design, Revit Building automatically updates the entire model — including construction documents and 3D design views.”

Going forward, Palladino says, “Our strategic goal is to begin a pilot project using Revit Building in every office as soon as possible.”

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