How Building Information Modeling Enabled the Design of London’s New Super Lab
In a new ALN Magazine article, David King, RIBA, HOK’s technical principal in London, explains how the team leveraged the power of BIM for the design of the Francis Crick Institute.
“Considering the millions of details that comprise the plan for a new or refurbished research building along with the rapid advances in biological knowledge that could conceivably influence even last-minute adjustments to protocol standards, BIM is nothing short of elegant. To picture BIM’s power, consider the newly-built Francis Crick Institute in London, which is expected to open in summer 2016. At full capacity, the Institute will employ 1,500 staff, including 1,250 scientists, and have an operating budget of approximately £130 million a year.
“HOK was the lead designer, architect, lab planner, interior designer and landscape architect for this project and BIM was the tool of choice for all disciplines.
“‘Frankly I can’t imagine how we could have executed the Crick without BIM,’ David King says. ‘BIM is not just about technology. It is optioneering—in essence, virtual modeling in a collaborative environment with computable interoperable data. It allows each of us to try out ideas and assess the consequences in order to decide whether to present an idea for consideration by the team. It allows us to estimate available loads modeled in various forms and to determine the most efficient sequencing of operations and associated running costs. And above all it allows us to detect and avoid potential clashes that could otherwise scupper the budget and cause unavoidable delays.’”
“‘Scientists are typically passionate and focused about their work, and have very specific agendas,’ David explained, ‘but the Crick represents a way of working that is inherently collaborative, so all stakeholders were encouraged to discount how they have worked in the past and think about how they could work in the future—and what lessons could be learned from other disciplines. BIM allowed us to remain objective, basing assessments on data-driven often visual evidence.’”
In 2008, HOK was appointed architect and lead designer responsible for the project’s overall design concept, interior design and landscape architecture. PLP was selected in 2010 to collaborate with HOK in shaping the building’s distinctive form and striking architectural expression.