Armin Buchbinder appears at ZAK World of Façades conference

BSBG’s Head of Design, Armin Buchbinder, was invited as a guest speaker at the Zak World of Façades conference last week, during which he discussed BSBG’s BIM methodology, as well as façade pre-fabrication and digital fabrication. Armin joined a panel discussion entitled: ‘Digital impact on modern façade design and construction’.

Zak World of Façades is a series of conferences dedicated to façade design and engineering, held internationally throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Australasia and the United States of America each year. Now in it’s eighth year in the Middle East, and fourth in the UAE, the conference was held at the Conrad in Dubai, and was attended by the region’s leading architects, consultants and developers.BSBG led the design and are currently leading the delivery of the currently under construction Banyan Tree Residences in JLT, Dubai (a Sweid & Sweid development)

During the panel discussion, subjects relating to the impact of digital technology on façade design and construction included: streamlining designs through BIM, digital fabrication, pre-fabrication, integration of advanced technology, multi-dimensional and complex façade geometries in the post-digital era, and augmenting 3D printing for smart, well insulated and sustainable façades.

The panel discussion also featured John Kim, Design Director, AE7; Benjamin Beer, Technical Director, Meinhardt Façade Technology; and David Daniels, Director of Architecture, SSH; and was moderated by Sarah Coogan, Associate, Inhabit Group.

During the course of the panel discussion, BSBG’s Head of Design gave some interesting insights into the BIM workflow implemented by the Group. The following are the key highlights from Armin Buchbinder, speaking as a panelist at the Zak World of Façades conference:Armin talking about pre-fabrication in architecture

Armin on BIM

“BIM influences the design process significantly, as a platform which provides a single source of project information. In the more fluid pre-concept and early concept stages, we tend to favour the intuitive, playful software tools such as Rhino and Sketchup. We find these tools have the required flexibility and presentation capabilities.”BSBG was the Design Architect & Lead Consultant of the award-winning The Edge commercial office building in Dubai (a Sweid & Sweid development)

“We model in Revit at the earliest point possible, usually as the design settles down. This allows for a smooth transition towards Revit at the key design process stage of any project. The transition process from Rhino or Sketchup to Revit is monitored at regular review intervals to compare against the initial signed off concept, throughout the lifetime of the project.”

The early design intent model will always be maintained to provide guidance and a reference point to enable us to achieve the initial project vision. The level of development and information of the Revit model is dependent on the project and client requirements. Typically, the more the scheme is settled, the more information can be carried in the model. We see BIM heading to a place where the model will tell the FM team when a piece of ironmongery needs replacing during the lifetime of a building, or one day, this piece will be able to communicate that it needs repair through BIM.”

Collaboration and workflow is key to the successful design, delivery and handover of our projects and we are always exploring new softwares to facilitate this, right now our BIM team is looking at the capabilities of Formit.”Addax Tower, Abu Dhabi – BSBG provided full design and delivery services for this 60-storey skyscraper (a Tamouh Investments development)

Armin on Complex Geometry Facades

“Zaha Hadid’s The Opus, for which we are the Lead Consultant, provides a great example of a geometrically complex façade. Here, the design development, review and production process had to be adjusted, and was driven by the complex design.”

“Shop drawings were not reviewed on paper, but on-screen to compare the designer and specialist contractor’s 3D models. During production, the glass elements were produced and then surveyed. Only after this process were the aluminum components manufactured accordingly. This fabrication sequence was necessary to ensure all components fitted together precisely in the end.”

“This new digital way of designing and manufacturing complex façades and geometries is very much valid for many signature projects, however not all designs require the same level of complexity and digitalisation that we see in some of the more iconic designs in Dubai and the region, such as The Opus. I maintain that pen and paper, and bold sketches are still very much valid to establish the vision of the design and the process of bringing it to completion.”The Opus curved glass was pre-fabricated in ChinaThe Opus is a Zaha Hadid design, with BSBG taking the role of Lead Consultant (an Omniyat development)

Armin on the Post Digital Age and Digital Fabrication

BSBG utilises the advantages of pre-fabrication when designing façades. An excellent example of that is with the Aloft City Centre Deira project, with its unitised components which are manufactured and assembled off-site in a controlled factory environment.”BSBG is the Design Architect on the Aloft City Centre project; located close to BSBG headquarters (a Majid Al Futtaim development)

“Key to the success of this design approach is early-stage dialogue with specialist industry consultants and manufacturers to understand all the parameters. We find that, having gained this understanding, we are able to envision and design in a way that results in the actual realised project being very close to the original concept CGI.”

“Pre-fabrication leads to a reduction in the overall construction programme of the project.Our experience enables us to meet the requirements for cost efficiency, quality and safety for off-site assembly, reducing time spent on site and ensuring the safe installation of the components.”

Analytical software capacities and the possibility to produce ever more complex shapes have improved vastly. However, as designers we have the responsibility to add a human aspect to the concept to ensure we achieve a dialogue with the context and the aspirations of the client, as well as to give our designs an emotional human touch, and a unique individuality.”BSBG has implemented a 100% BIM workflow on BLVD Crescent from the initial design stages (an Emaar Properties development)

The ZAK World of Facades conference is held annually in Dubai, before it continues its annual tour across the world. To find out more about the UAE edition of the conference, visit the website: