Studio Education for Integrated Practice Using Building Information Modeling



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This research study posits that an altered educational approach to design studio can produce future professionals who apply Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the context of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) to execute designs faster and produce designs that have demonstrably higher performance. The combination of new technologies and social/contractual constructs represents an alternative to the established order for how to design and how to teach designers. BIM emerges as the key technology for facilitating IPD by providing consistent, computable and interoperable information essential to all AEC teams. The increasing trend of BIM adoption is an opportunity for the profession to dramatically change its processes and may potentially impact patterns of responsibility and the paradigms of design.

This study showcases a repeatable framework and a theoretical model for the integrated studio using BIM and provides answers to the pedagogical questions raised by BIM, integration, and performance-based design. Using a formative and exploratory action research design, the study proposes a comprehensive pedagogical framework using the established theories of design studio education, building integration, and BIM. The framework was refined and triangulated in a set of focus group studies that include academics, design firms and AEC industry representatives, as well as students.

Instrumental case studies implementing the pedagogical framework were conducted as courses in a graduate architecture program. Students' design processes and collaboration schemes were observed using systematic methods that included a broad range of data in conformance with a multi-method research approach. Content analysis of the data provides qualitative evidence for the effectiveness and encountered challenges of BIM methods that is related to proposed studio framework. These findings are corroborated by descriptive statistics and numerical data from the surveys, simulations, reports, and BIM models. Findings of the study illustrate that a carefully designed set of course exercises that incorporate BIM can enhance design processes, increase the depth and the number of alternatives studied, catalyze an interoperable and integrated educational environment, and expand the scope of design learning. Case studies presented here suggest common patterns of collaboration between designers and consultants during the integrated design process using shared BIM models. The findings from the study are synthesized in two theoretical models for the BIM enabled integrated studio and collaborative processes.