More than 150 AEC professionals attended BD+C’s second-annual Accelerate Live! AEC innovation conference, May 10, in Chicago.
The event featured 19 talks from 25 AEC visionaries on topics related to the changing built environment and the future of the AEC industry. Topics included AI for construction scheduling, regenerative design, the micro-buildings movement, post-occupancy evaluation, predictive visual data analytics, and digital fabrication.
Each speaker had 15 minutes and up to 20 slides to present a radical idea, solution, project, or innovation. Select talks where live streamed on BD+C’s Facebook group page, and all 19 talks were recorded. Scroll down to take in all 19 talks on demand.
Accelerate Live! was sponsored by:
TRACK #1: THE CHANGING BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Eric Carbonnier, PhD, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Vice President of Sustainability, Associate Principal, HMC Architects
A fundamental shift is occurring from the old guard of sustainability to the new one of regenerative design. Whereas sustainable development attempts to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations, regenerative development seeks to rejuvenate the environment and the people who live within its ecosystem.
In this talk, HMC’s Eric Carbonnier poses the question: What if buildings could actually rejuvenate ecosystems? Carbonnier discusses how the goal of regenerative design is not simply to take less from nature, but to inspirit the environment around us. This starts by understanding our limitations and embracing the unknown. While the theory of regenerative design is—to some degree—may be unattainable, it is this "unknown" that inspires us to push the limits of what we know. WATCH THE TALK
Aeron Hodges, AIA, Senior Designer/Manager, Associate, Stantec Architecture
In the budding micro-living movement that is occurring in cities across the U.S.—from Seattle to Austin to New York—Stantec Architects stands out as one of the pioneering design firms behind the idea of living with less. As a growing number of cities struggle with adequate housing options, especially market rate and affordable housing, the micro unit offers a novel solution. But this micro movement extends beyond housing. We’re seeing it with hotels, offices, student housing developments, even K-12 schools.
In this talk, micro-buildings design expert Aeron Hodges, AIA, explores the key drivers of the micro-buildings movement, and how the trend is spreading into a wide variety of building typologies. WATCH THE TALK
Dr. Alan McLenaghan, CEO, SageGlass
In this talk, SageGlass CEO Alan McLenaghan, PhD, debunks four common myths related to daylighting in commercial and institutional buildings.
• Myth #1: Daylighting and net-zero energy performance are incompatible.
• Myth #2: People are already happy with the amount of daylight in buildings.
• Myth #3: If you understand building orientation, you understand daylighting.
• Myth #4: If it weren’t for those pesky occupants… WATCH THE TALK
Jeff Carpenter, National Director of Technology, IMEG Corp.
Smart buildings, connected cities, Internet of Things. The future of our offices, hospitals, schools, retail developments, government buildings, and entertainment districts is one of connectivity. The time for mass adoption of Internet of Things devices and networks is upon us. And few technological breakthroughs are poised to be as disruptive to the AEC industry as the ever-expanding Internet of Things.
As the national technology lead within one of the nation’s largest engineering firm, Jeff Carpenter gets paid to stay on top of breakthrough technologies and novel applications for the built environment. In this talk, Carpenter explores established and emerging IoT applications for commercial and institutional buildings, and offers a technology roadmap for navigating the IoT landscape. WATCH THE TALK
Tom Jacobs, AIA, LEED BD+C, Principal, Krueck + Sexton Architects
When we think about the “new reality” of commercial and institutional buildings, where security and safety threats come in so many heinous forms, a deeper level of integration is needed to safeguard the occupants of our nation’s schools, university campuses, hotels, workplaces, hospitals, and government buildings. Tom Jacobs, AIA, LEED AP, Principal with Krueck + Sexton Architects, has worked all over the globe designing, studying, and researching some of the world’s most hardened buildings, including embassies, consulates, and high-level government buildings.
In this talk, Jacobs discusses how designers can safeguard at-risk buildings without turning them into fortresses or jails. He also explores ways that provide the needed protection while keeping intact the representational and inspirational qualities of a design. WATCH THE TALK
SPONSORED TALK: THE IMPACT OF NEW FIRE RATED GLAZING TECHNOLOGIES TO DESIGN, PERFORMANCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Tim Nass, VP of Sales, SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions
In the last decade, advances in fire rated glazing technology and manufacturing have introduced a special breed of fire resistive glazing systems that are capable of performing multiple functions in one assembly. Today, we see fire resistive glazing systems that simultaneously protect against bullets, attack, hurricane, blast, noise, UV, and more. New applications that were once treated as exceptions, such fire resistive curtain walls, floors, butt-glazed walls, decorative and more, are slowly becoming a norm.
In this talk, Tim Nass, VP of Sales with SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions, details emerging applications for fire rated glazing technology. He discusses how the impacts of these developments have opened new opportunities to bring transparency and light to any fire rated space, and pushed fire rated glazing system manufacturers to design products that appear and perform just like any other glazing system in the project. WATCH THIS TALK
TRACK #2: PROJECT + PROCESS INNOVATION
Rick Khan, Senior Director of Innovation, Mortenson Construction
Rene Morkos, CEO, ALICE Technologies
Artificial intelligence—like so many of the topics featured at Accelerate Live!—was nothing more than a pipe dream five years ago. Yet, in just a few short years, AI has shifted from R&D and academia into the marketplace, thanks to several enterprising startups. These firms offer custom and off-the-self solutions for optimizing many of the complex and convoluted processes in commercial design and construction. In this talk, we hear from two early adopters of AI-driven processes in commercial construction. WATCH THE TALK
TALK #6: CRACKING THE CODE ON MANUFACTURING IN CONSTRUCTION: AN AEC GIANT'S ROADMAP FOR INTEGRATING DESIGN, MANUFACTURING, AND CONSTRUCTION
Mark Skender, CEO, Skender
Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer, Skender
From bathroom pods to MEP trade racks to entire prefab rooms, offsite construction is starting to take hold as more Building Teams realize the benefits of improved quality, refined scheduling, and, in some cases, reduced costs. But while most GCs are taking small steps toward a manufacturing-driven future for construction, Chicago-based Skender is taking a giant leap. In March, the 300-person construction company announced plans to build a comprehensive modular manufacturing plant, acquire a boutique architecture firm, and hire several key tech and design professional. Skender’s goal: to crack the code on true integration of design, manufacturing, and construction.
In this talk, Skender CEO Mark Skender and Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson present the construction giant’s vision for creating a manufacturing-minded, vertically-integrated design-manufacturing-build business model. WATCH THE TALK
Jeong Woo, PhD, Program Director of Construction Management, Associate Professor Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Disruptive and innovative technologies including connected machines, intelligent networks, integrated platforms and collaborative systems are transforming the AEC industry. But what will it take to enable these "smart" technologies to actually make projects more successful? And how will we leverage the efficiencies they introduce to boost productivity and improve quality? As the industry calls for smarter and more intelligent products, attention is now being refocused on the human aspect of this tech evolution.
In this talk, engineering school professor Jeong Woo, PhD, explores the data-driven education transformation required to deliver the next generation of construction technology professionals. This talk is sponsored by Bluebeam, Inc. WATCH THE TALK
Steve Cavanaugh, AIA, LEED AP
When the nine-story, wood-framed Murray Grove multifamily project opened in London in 2009, it sparked both inspiration and debate over the use of mass timber technology for high-rise construction. Almost overnight, the design and construction community worldwide become fascinated with the high-tech modern-day application of one of the world’s oldest construction materials. And less than a decade later, this ultra-niche market has become a budding industry, with more than a dozen tall-wood buildings completed worldwide, and twice as many in the works.
Steve Cavanaugh has an intimate knowledge of tall-wood construction. A Principal and Design Leader with DLR Group, Cavanaugh led the team that served as the architect-of-record for the nation’s newest—and largest—mass timber building: T3 in Minneapolis. In this talk, Steve tells the story behind T3, including the social and market drivers that resulted in this unique solution, information about the sustainable aspects of the work, and insights into the thought behind the design. WATCH THE TALK
Rohit Arora, Founder, Vin'R Technologies
Artificial intelligence, computer vision, real-time rendering, drones, robotics, augmented reality, virtual reality. If you feel like your head is spinning from trying to keep up with the advancements occurring in the AEC market, let Rohit Arora provide a little clarity. Arora has spent more than 18 years on the tech side of the industry, working for a mix of software companies, design firms, startups, and construction firms. In this talk, he outlines emerging innovations that are poised to transform how we design and build structures in the near future.
“What seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, is now coming together in a way that'll change how we build in the near future,” says Arora. “These have the potential to enable the designer/architect to (re)take on the role the master builder, as the one directly enabling constructing at the site.” WATCH THE TALK
TRACK #3: AEC TECH INNOVATION
Mani Golparvar, PhD, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; COO, Co-founder, Reconstruct Inc.
Burcin Kaplanoglu, PhD, Senior Director of Industry Strategy and Innovation, Oracle
Carlos Montiel, Director of Project Controls & Scheduling, Clayco Construction
The rise of reality capture technology, combined with enterprising software development, has opened the door to true real-time analysis of construction jobsites. Firms are utilizing images and video from smartphones, drones, rovers, laser scanners, and 360 cameras to more effectively track progress and productivity on the jobsite, and identify risk for potential delays.
In this talk, a trio of experts in predictive visual data analytics presents how design-build giant Clayco has leveraged this technology to achieve production efficiency on several construction sites.
They present how images and videos from drones and smartphone cameras are used within computer vision algorithms to automatically generate 3D reality models over project timeline. They also show how AI algorithms compare reality models with 4D BIM to track progress and productivity and identify risk for potential delays. WATCH THE TALK
David Polzin, AIA, LEED AP, Executive Director of Design, CannonDesign
Jimmy Rotella, Digital Practice Director, CannonDesign
For all the talk about the benefits of virtual reality (VR) tools for the AEC marketplace, there’s been one glaring void for this industry that relies so heavily on cross-team and cross-discipline collaboration. That is the ability to “meet in the model”–which one VR pro referred to as the holy grail of VR.
It looks like the grail has been found. Recent advancements in VR technology are expanding the applications to include multi-user collaboration sessions. If successfully leveraged, multi-user VR will allow multiple people from around the world to all enter the same virtual spaces together at the same time.
CannonDesign is one of the early adopters of multi-user VR technology for AEC project coordination. In this talk, two of CannonDesign's tech leaders present their early findings from pilot testing multi-user VR technology for AEC project coordination. WATCH THE TALK
TALK #11: MATERIAL MEETS DATA: HOW ADVANCED DIGITAL FABRICATION TECHNIQUES ARE DRIVING DESIGN INNOVATION
Lucas Tryggestad, AIA, LEED AP, Technical Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Kyle Vansice, Architectural Professional, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
New fabrication techniques are driving design innovation. They have the potential to inspire new materials, means, and methods in conventional building construction. At Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, we believe it is possible to discover new forms of architectural expression and unlock added layers of character and richness in design by working backwards from material and tool. Integrating data-rich workflows into our design process affords us the capability to embed large amounts of detail into our parametric models in a flexible and rigorous manner, making direct collaboration with fabricators possible. The result is a continuum between design and fabrication that has the potential to realize a more integrated, sustainable, and expressive built environment through a more cooperative process.
In this talk, SOM’s Lucas Tryggestad and Kyle Vansice explore how advanced digital fabrication techniques can create unprecedented innovation and efficiency in the design and delivery process. They kick off their talk with AMIE 1.0, a breakthrough 3D-printed building project led SOM. WATCH THE TALK
Anthony Viola, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Designer, Team Leader, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
From the world’s tallest tower to the globe’s first large-scale “pure” glass sphere, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has pulled off its share of daunting design feats over the past decade. But what exactly is the firm’s “secret sauce” for design innovation and next-level problem solving?
In this talk, AS+GG’s Anthony Viola takes us behind the magic curtain to illuminate the firm’s methods for nurturing design innovation. The common thread is the concept that form follows performance. This method of design investigates complex architectural problems by exploring new solutions through an intense and iterative process, one where high- and low-tech methodologies are equally explored and implemented.
Three current projects illustrate: how the teams at AS+GG innovate though “making”; how the teams use technology to engage in the design process; how they help generate discourse between interdisciplinary design teams that can form more salient questions; and how they discover alternative design solutions that lead to architectural breakthroughs. WATCH THE TALK
TRACK #4: AEC BUSINESS INNOVATION
Chris Flint Chatto, Assoc. AIA, Principal, ZGF Architects
“P-O-E.” No, we’re not talking about Edgar Allen Poe. We’re talking post occupancy evaluation, the process that seeks to quantify the extent to which buildings benefit the health, welfare, and productivity of building users. From apps to SurveyMonkey reports from employees, post occupancy evaluation has become all the rage. But how do you conduct a meaningful, holistic evaluation from design to occupancy?
In this talk, ZGF Architects’ Chris Chatto discuss this next frontier of post-occupancy evaluation. Grounded in best practices and lessons learned from projects, this talk addresses how new initiatives must be combined with traditional measurement and verification methods to develop a more holistic POE—one that includes utility resource use, environmental conditions, occupant satisfaction, and the holy grail: occupant productivity. WATCH THE TALK
Catherine Rose, PhD, MBA, Director of Staff Development, Skanska USA
Data expert Catherine Rose spent 15 years in supply chain management, finance, and product management at Procter & Gamble, Duke Energy, and Philips Healthcare. Now she's applying her PhD in mechanical engineering—and her MBA in finance and data-driven decision making—in the construction field. In this talk, Rose shares how data-driven decision making is transforming construction operations and business operations at Skanska USA. WATCH THE TALK
Greg Schleusner, AIA, Principal, Director of Design Technology Innovation, HOK
Our industry loves to talk about a future that looks like manufacturing—an integrated supply chain, offsite fabrication, robots, and IoT. The advancements that enabled this within the automotive and aviation markets were partly based on technology, but also because of strong OEMs that could benefit from an integrated supply chain.
AECO has no “owner.” We certainly have owners of buildings, but most aren't habitual builders, and thus expect the practitioners to know how to deliver a great product. So how do you make a supply chain that benefits all parties within the industry without an process owner?
In this talk, HOK’s Greg Schleusner talks about the need for a consortia-led technology company that would serve the role of industry advocate. Its mission would be to serve the industry, its members, and the users of buildings. It would steal the best ideas from manufacturing (think smart fabrication), banking (think Bitcoin), the Internet, and others, and help modernize our continuously under-performing industry. WATCH THE TALK
David L. Morgareidge, Predictive Analytics Director, Associate Principal, Page
Many projects currently requiring an AE firm will convert in the near future to clients’ in-house, real-time continuous operations, eliminating AE involvement. Efforts that do remain “projects” will have greatly reduced staff, and much of the key work will be performed by nontraditional AE team members and automated systems. These changes are driven by four factors, including the boom in real-time data sources and the increasingly powerful and inexpensive computation power and storage.
In this talk, predictive analytics expert David Morgareidge tracks these trends through the lens of his own work and suggest steps that AE firms can take today if they want to survive AECO digital transformation. WATCH THE TALK