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AECOsim Building Designer and GenerativeComponents® Streamline Design Strategy for Complex, Curved Profile and Unique Interior Fitout
Organization: Robin Partington & Partners
Location: London, United Kingdom
A New Hub in Paddington
The GPB 500 million Merchant Square development brings together four buildings and their unique setting as one coherent piece of urban infrastructure in the heart of Paddington, London, United Kingdom. In order to transform the area into a landmark destination, European Land and Property appointed Robin Partington & Partners (RPP) to design a master plan consisting of three phases of development.
The first, which has reached completion and includes 3 Merchant Square and a portion of the basement, had to function independently for a number of years before the second phase of the project began. Phase two, the current phase of development, includes buildings 1 and 6 Merchant Square, and the completion of the basement, including the landscaping, drainage, and ventilation strategy. The final phase will see the completion of 2 Merchant Square.
While RPP faced numerous logistical challenges including the completed adjacent buildings, 4 and 5 Merchant Square, adjacent basement piling and structure, as well as the canal, designing 1 Merchant Square presented its own set of unique demands. RPP relied on the interoperability of Bentley’s 3D design software to implement a federated BIM strategy and deliver the complex, curved tower.
- Deliver an iconic tower as the central focus of the GBP 500 million Merchant Square master plan.
- Implement an integrated modelling approach to accommodate the complex, non-uniform, curved building profile while optimizing productivity and resources.
- Design the various unique interior floor plans to complement the shell and core fabric of the dramatic structure.
- Products used: AECOsim Building Designer, Bentley Navigator, MicroStation®, GenerativeComponents®
Products used: AECOsim Building Designer, Bentley Navigator, MicroStation®, GenerativeComponents®
- GenerativeComponents enabled RPP to rationalize the geometric form and cladding for the dramatic façade.
- Bentley Navigator and i-models were indispensable coordinating the basement design as well as the landscaping, drainage, and ventilation strategy.
- AECOsim Building Designer enabled RPP to build an intelligent model of 1 Merchant Square with enough building data to run a 4D construction sequence.
- Bentley software facilitated an integrated BIM workflow minimizing requests for information and potential construction issues.
- GenerativeComponents saved project resources by enabling the team to produce numerous cladding iterations in a fraction of the time it would have taken using basic 3D modelling.
- Using the AECOsim Building Designer model enabled RPP to develop a trapezoidal unitized frame while maintaining rectilinear glass, which represented approximately 40 percent savings in terms of glass cost across the project.
Forming the 42-story, Mixed-use Tower
With a 93-key boutique hotel at its base, 209 apartments with private balconies above, and a spectacular two-story Skybar offering 360-degree views of the city of London, 1 Merchant Square will set a new standard for residential accommodation in Paddington. RPP wanted to develop the form of the building to fit within the master plan, yet be seen as a focal point and urban marker for the wider area. “We used AECOsim Building Designer to develop the form of the building and went through a series of iterations trying to develop the most elegant form whilst optimizing the client’s brief in terms of area,” explained James Ewen, Project Leader and Partner at Robin Partington & Partners.
RPP developed the sleek, curved building form with vertical structural fins clad in white porcelain, a midnight blue ceramic rainscreen cladding, and a distinctive crown-like peak. While the curved shape helps minimize the effects of wind, the geometry of the building necessitates trapezoidal cladding panels as opposed to the standard rectangular shape. The project team created the model in AECOsim Building Designer based on a 72-point-spaced coordinate system to help understand the building frame and analyse and accommodate the increasing trapezoidal panel shapes toward the extremities of the tower. Stated Ewen, the use of the model and careful detailing enabled RPP to “develop a trapezoidal unitized frame while maintaining rectilinear glass, which represented approximately 40 percent savings in terms of glass cost across the project.”
Computational Modelling Streamlines Design
Designing a building with varying cladding bay types presented RPP with the challenge of matching exterior finishes to the changing internal layout throughout the tower. With each bay type comprising a different arrangement relative to the internal layout, RPP realized that modelling all scenarios for the 150-meter structure would take a considerable amount of time.
GenerativeComponents provided an efficient method to model the varying cladding system without building a detailed design model for each scenario. Using Bentley’s 3D design software, RPP built a computational model of one-panel type and applied it across a bay, and then repeated that process for the different panel types and corresponding bays throughout the building with different arrangements. RPP were able to create numerous cladding iterations with GenerativeComponents in a fraction of the time it would have taken using basic 3D modelling.
To help prevent a workflow bottleneck within the design team, RPP colorized the model, assigning different colours to each of the panel types in AECOsim Building Designer, and then linking the panels to a universal Excel spreadsheet to serve as the control for the panel arrangement. The interoperability of Bentley software enabled RPP to link the Excel spreadsheet to the GenerativeComponents model to assign additional parameters and then output the model to AECOsim Building Designer. Simplifying the design process allowed the team to assign the colours directly from the spreadsheet (eliminating the need for detailed knowledge of GenerativeComponents), streamlining the workflow, and minimizing risk with a single source of data.
The ability to filter the varying cladding panel types using this integrated process also accelerated and enhanced the production of cladding scope drawings for tender. “There are effectively 12 drawing sheets setting out the cladding scope with five drawings on each sheet, giving us 60 drawings just from one model. This is a massive efficiency for us. It’s all single sourced, and is all driven by this Excel, GenerativeComponents, AECOsim Building Designer link,” explained RPP architect Matthew Scammels.
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