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From the editorial DETAIL 11/2021
On the Digital Construction Site
“We were already aware of the quality, since we, in a certain way, had already built the building digitally. After construction began, there was no real need to improvise anymore,” said Finnish BIM expert Marko Rajala about planning Helsinki’s Division of Urban Environment building. His approach reflects the vision of a brave, new digital world of construction. Manufacturers promise, and builders hope, that building information modelling (BIM) will lead to better adherence to deadlines and budgets, higher execution quality, and fewer unpleasant surprises at the construction site.
We look at five different projects to examine digital collaboration, how processes were structured and models were coordinated, and the benefits this brought the planning teams and their clients. This is because its advantages tend to increasewith the project’s size and complexity.
Digitalization is not only a technical challenge, but also a cultural one, which architects do not always meet with euphoria. As early as 1968, Oswald Mathias Ungers commented that design “cannot be left to a device that can make if/then or yes/no decisions and nothing else.” And as Louis Kahn noted back in 1969, “The machine can transmit measurements, but the machine cannot create, cannot judge, cannot design.” That was more than 50 years ago, yet even today, the final design decisions are still being made by people – and that’s how it should stay. Nevertheless, planning culture has undergone an enormous change.