3D technologies is not just booming in the Manufacturing and Engineering world, it also has great effects on Construction. Architects are now able to fully visualise their plans through a 3D model.

Many architects have been unwilling to leave their traditional pen and paper design efforts behind and switch to new technologies. However, the advantages that 3D construction models can offer for more efficient, accurate design are inspiring many traditionalists to change their tune.

The Pittsburgh Tribune recently profiled architect Stephen Mesich, whose long architectural career has encompassed a wide variety of commercial and residential projects. Like many old hands in the architecture world, he experienced some reticence about abandoning his traditional drawing-based modeling efforts. However, Mesich found that designing with 3D visualizations enabled him to complete his work more efficiently. Having a digital version of his plans also helped him to more effectively interact with clients. He was able to send over versions of his plans for a homeowner’s perusal days before they got together to discuss the project, and was easily able to make changes to his 3D architectural rendering based on the client’s preferences.

Improving project management and client interaction are two key benefits of 3D architectural models, especially as today’s consumer often wants to have more input in processes they are paying for and may have some digital knowledge. Two-dimensional visualizations may be easy for the architect to decipher, but it can be hard for a client unschooled in architectural design to get a clear picture of the developer’s plans. With 3D displays, clients can have a much more thorough perspective of the design and help contribute to alterations before unwanted features become permanent.

Creating futuristic architecture with 3D data
It’s not only residential and commercial architects that benefit from advances in 3D architectural models. More creative, fantastical leaps of design can be fully realized with the technology as well. Recently, computational architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, who both work at the Computer-aided Architectural Design Department at the Swiss Federal Institute, were able to use a computer-generated 3D architectural rendering to print an astounding grotto-like structure, according to FT Magazine. After creating the models, they were able to print what the news source called a “3D printed room” using a new type of sandstone, made from millions of grains of sand bound with a resin compound. Their work will be displayed at the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France, this fall.

“The appeal to us is twofold,” Hansmeyer told the news source. “First, to show the potential of this fabrication technology for an actual building element rather than just a small-scale model. Second, to question traditional notions of materiality: nowadays, even stone can be treated as a fabric and it can be woven.”