Finally, something that makes sense.News
Elise Monot • October 15, 2019
There’s a moment in time, call it an epiphany if you will. It happens in meetings, between client and customer. In architecture, between building and environment. Where yin meets yang. All the stars align. And everything just makes sense. This exact philosophy resonated with one architectural firm in Belgium so much, they decided to change their name to reflect their brand’s DNA.
Enter &Sens Architects, previously known as FHW Architects. They’ve been operating for more than twenty years with headquarters in Verviers and another satellite office in Brussels. We interviewed Mehdi Mechatte, architect, partner and BIM manager at &Sens to discuss the firm’s approach, sustainability and working with BIM.
Care about the environment.
&Sens aims higher. Their goal is to ensure the well-being of people, by providing added urban and landscape value that creates a positive impact for as many people as possible. When starting on a new project, they work in a participative process through ongoing dialogue with the various stakeholders. Then &Sens transforms the social and environmental concerns into forward-looking architecture. The eco-construction is the basis of their creations. During the design process they conduct an in-depth analysis. From the energy performance of the building to the integration of renewable energies. The sustainable management of the built and natural heritage to reviewing the lifetime of materials. In order to completely assess all of these performances, careful management of the technical and financial conditions is required. This disciplined approach is the only way to guarantee the credibility, exemplarity and sustainability of the project.
Innovation means looking boldly ahead.
When it comes to BIM, &Sens has been working with ArchiCAD since they launched version 8. The firm’s goal is to work in BIM as much as possible. They’ve recognized a growing interest with the use of BIM in their projects, but not all stakeholders—such as some engineering companies that they work with have not fully switched. Mehdi stays up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations by participating in BIM management training courses. ARCHICAD is great for creating schedules from the models—like a listing of all door and window materials to make estimated measurements. The models become great presentation tools between the design team and project owner. BIM is perfect for both renovation and new construction projects. After a period of adaptation time and necessary training, &Sens quickly understood the benefits of working in BIM including:
- Facilitates exchanges with various stakeholders
- Enables better, more intelligent design and coordination
- Improves file and information transfer
- BIM makes it possible to visualize the project before construction
- Increases the overall quality of the project
- Drastically reduces conflicts and oversites
- Maximizes productivity—more time on design, less time onsite
Finding the item you want has never been so easy.
&Sens regularly uses the BIMobject Cloud to find the right objects for their projects. The files are created with different Levels of Detail (LOD) and contain the metadata that the firm is seeking. They’re easy-to-use and are properly classified, saving time on research. Since &Sens mostly works with ARCHICAD, some objects have to be developed on the spot. When it comes to which items they download the most, &Sens pulls content for lighting, doors, windows, landscaping and furniture. During the preliminary design phase in a public tender, they select generic objects. However projects are completed with manufacturer-specific objects. It’s very important for the team to have a realistic view of the project with real manufacturer’s objects as soon as they have project approval. Seeing is believing.
Learn more about &Sens at www.etsens.be.