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Tech Focus: Olson Kundig Architects 
Monday 04 Mar 2013
 
Tech Focus: Olson Kundig Architects 
 
Charles Smith Wines. All images: Olson Kundig Architects 
 
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Editorial

Moving walls and Armadillos: How does Olson Kundig Architects use Revit? 


Over the past months, WAN has undertaken a series of interviews with architects, designers, engineers and manufacturers around the world to discover how different industry professionals are utilising Autodesk software in the design of their building projects. This week, Michael Hammond spoke to Les Eerkes, principal at Olson Kundig Architects about the practice’s use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Olson Kundig Architects have made a name for themselves through a series of breathtakingly beautiful and architecturally ambitious residential properties, including Shadowboxx and the WAN AWARD winning The Pierre, both in the San Juan Islands.

In this exclusive podcast interview, Eerkes explains the practice’s relationship with Autodesk and the ways in which the technology has aided the prefabrication of parts on projects such as Carraig Ridge Passive House, a highly sustainable residential project which has been stalled due to funding, and the Charles Smith Wines Tasting Room and World Headquarters which was realised in 2011.

On both schemes the firm used Revit as the base platform for designing the buildings, although with Carraig Ridge IES was used as a plug-in in Revit to look at some performance modelling. For the Charles Smith Wines project, Revit was used to interface with Spearhead (the armadillo fabricator - see below for explanation), Turner Exhibits (the specialty window wall engineers and fabricators) and SCHUCHART Construction (the general contractor). Spearhead used non-Autodesk programme CADWORK to create a model which Olson Kundig was able to overlay onto their Revit model so that the design teams could analyse how the design was coming together.

Go To Meetings were used throughout with Revit models so that all collaborating parties could view the current design of the Charles Smith Wines scheme and engage in online discussions at any time from any location. Eerkes noted that recent technological developments such as the widespread use of tablets and Go To Meetings had made international collaborations much more efficient.

About the case studies

Carraig Ridge Passive House is a prototype residential scheme for 9 houses. At present the project has been put on hold due to lack of funds but there is the potential to pick it up again in the future. Once complete, the development will fund the creation of a 4,000 acre nature reserve and much consideration has gone into ensuring the sustainability of these new homes. Each property is to have a 300 year life span with heating energy consumption reduced by 90%. To reduce damage and disruption to the existing landscape, Olson Kundig Architects have proposed a pre-fabricated construction method where the elements will be created in Canada and constructed onsite.

The Charles Smith Wines project in Walla Walla is an exciting adaptive reuse project that transformed the former Johnson Auto Electric Building (1917) into a highly flexible wine tasting venue and office space. The project features Olson Kundig’s trademark movable panels, with two custom hand-cranked pivot doors that completely open the interior space to the outside forming an awning for outdoor seating. There is also the aforementioned ‘Armadillo’, a large prefabricated unit that enables the raw space within to transform from an office, tasting room and retail shop into a dining room and entertainment venue. Tasting tables that dock together to form a dining table and a sliding panel that turns into a video screen also add to the flavour of this exquisite venue.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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Olson Kundig Architects
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