For an architectural firm like New York-based Shop Architects, expressing innovation means harnessing the power of diverse expertise in the design of buildings and environments to improve the quality of public life.
“Architects want to delight people with their designs,” Chris Sharples, founding partner at Shop Architects, said. “This is why we focus on first understanding what our clients want, what function a building will serve and imagine a design that will help them achieve that.”
The shop is also involved in public works, entire infrastructures, and cultural as well as institutional projects.
“We continually seek innovative ways to build by using traditional materials like wood and prefabricated or modular systems for high-rise construction,” Sharples said.
“We are currently working on some exciting projects like a very tall residential tower in midtown Manhattan that we are dressing in beautiful terracotta and bronze. Another project is a complex of two adjoined buildings in San Francisco, California’s Mission Bay neighborhood that will contribute to transforming this developing stretch of Mission Bay into a dynamic, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It’s our way of demonstrating how innovative architecture can play an important role in transforming a community.”
Iconic Symbol of Diversification
Another of the firm’s iconic projects is the Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone, Botswana.
“The Innovation Hub is a government-driven initiative to support innovation in research and development and entrepreneurship in the region,” John Cerone, associate principal at SHoP Architects, said.
“It is a huge investment for the Botswanan government to diversify its economy and to move from one primarily based on diamond extraction toward a more knowledge-based economy,” Sharples added.
“Our client expressed a desire for a timeless building that features the latest advances in green technologies,” Cerone continued.
One of the systems Shop developed is an energy blanket rooftop that combines sustainable energy techniques and large overhangs to passively shade the building’s interior. The Innovation Hub is also equipped with mechanisms to collect and reuse water, and passive and active photovoltaic systems to harness solar energy.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced is managing the graceful, morphing shape of the building and the many different parts, which are fabricated in Cape Town, South Africa, that are required to achieving this flowing structure,” Cerone said.
“There are many variables and tolerances are very tight. It requires a high level of control and the ability to coordinate the fabricator and the construction site, both thousands of miles away from our design offices in New York.”
A Shared Experience Enabled by the Cloud
The Botswana Innovation Hub façade was entirely designed for construction with Design for Fabrication and the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform.
“We used the 3D modeling application CATIA and the collaboration application ENOVIA on the cloud for this project,” Cerone said. “We would not be able to attain the level of control and detail required to complete this project without the 3DEXPERIENCE technologies.”
Since the cloud operates 24/7, 365 days a year, it makes collaboration easier as stakeholders are on different schedules and time zones.
“We’re coordinating people across the globe in real time,” he continued. “It is a completely different way to engage a project as it contextualizes every aspect into a holistic approach.”
The shop has, in fact, been using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud for years, and was one of the first customers to use the platform as part of Dassault Systèmes’ Lighthouse program. During that time, the firm realized the value of working on the cloud and decided to continue using it on new projects.
“On the cloud, everyone has instantaneous access to the most up-to-date information,” Sharples said. “It creates a sense of order because it’s not in somebody’s drawer somewhere; it builds a shared experience.”
To continue pushing the envelope of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Shop receives services and support from Vancouver-based CadMakers Virtual Construction, a Dassault Systèmes certified business and education partner.
“CadMakers is much more than ‘resellers’ of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions – they are power-users that approach problem-solving with an intimate working knowledge of our industry,” Cerone said. “They feel like an extension of our team, and their support has been focused and impeccable.”