08 Mar Hofmann Architecture Enters the World of Virtual 3D
Designing in 3D
After designing more than 300 homes using 2-dimensional blueprints and renderings Hofmann Architecture has jumped with both feet into the virtual world of 3D. Hofmann’s secret sauce has been the ability to take the first flicker of a client’s inspiration and transform it into a space that matches that dream. Before 3D, the challenge of interpreting and communicating a client’s vision was much tougher to tackle.
“We’re passionate about creating spaces that lead to memorable experiences,” explains HofArc Founder and lead Architect Matthew Hofmann. “The trick is creating a client’s vision, then transforming that dream into a finished real world product that looks and feels the way they imagined it in their mind.”
CAD (computer-aided design)
Since 2010, HofArc’s design team has been in the business of creating elegant experiences by designing efficient spaces that simply look, function and feel right. The reality is, however, spaces that feel right don’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning and thoughtful design to take the seed of an idea and grow it into a finished product.
Up to now, these feelings were trapped inside the virtual 3D mind of the designer. The advent of 3D software has released the dream. HofArc is constantly upgrading their software and honing their designers’ technical skills to support client’s demands for more accurately interpreting their inspiration. The design team’s expertise and retooling allows them to guide the xploration of discovery – along with dreaming up even more creative solutions.
One of the most powerful tools their designers use is VectorWorks 2016. This CAD (computer-aided design) software is used by architects, engineers and others design professionals to create precision technical illustrations. CAD software allows a designer to create two-dimensional (2D) drawings or three-dimensional (3D) virtual modeling that creates a more realistic view of the space.
Transitioning from 2D t0 3D
Beginning in 2016, HofArc transitioned from 2D to 3D.
“This has allowed us to create more visual ways to support the needs of the designer, the builder and the client,” says Project Manager Lauren Fuhrman. “VectorWorks is a highly-advanced Architectural program that gives us very precise abilities.
Most importantly, it allows us to help clients capture their ideas and realize their vision.”
HofArc’s Lead 3D Designer Fred David agrees. “VectorWorks has an excellent export function that allows us to deliver walk-throughs and animated fly-throughs so clients can view designs on their handheld devices or computers, and experience the space in way they understand naturally. It’s just like being there!”
Conveying designs in 3D renderings also provides more realistic views of the various colors, textures and materials to give the client an accurate sense of the final product. Displaying options to flooring, cabinet and wall finishes can also be made on the fly.
3D renderings are an enormous help to the client, the designer, and the builder – here’s how:
“It’s a huge advantage when the client can see a space as it will be built,” says Hofmann. “It gives actually puts them into the space. Plus, we can show the client an unlimited number of views, which they wouldn’t normally see in 2D. Possibly best of all, they can feel the space and make any changes before a single construction dollar is spent.”
VectorWorks provides an unlimited number of top plan views, side views, and the client favorite isometric or perspective view. The client’s form can even be scanned and virtually places into the space. HofArc has the capabilities to scan anything, such as a bicycle or surfboard, to see how it will fit in the space.
Easily one of the greatest advantages of 3D is the capability it offers the designer to show the client numerous options of positioning and sizing of objects, openings, equipment and fixtures.
“We’re better able to compare and relate objects, finishes and spaces to each other much better in 3D,” says HofArc Designer David. “Our eyes naturally interpret the world in 3D, so it’s naturally better and more tangible. Plus, the interrelationship of shapes and the scale of objects is critically important to creating the right feel, especially in a small space.”
The challenge of building something in the physical world, that was designed in a virtual world, has caused arguments between architects and carpenters since the Egyptians erected Pyramids. The transition from drawing board to a real life presents distinct challenges. Fortunately, 3D software is settling that debate.
“It’s a huge benefit to see the cabinetry in 3D,” says Nate Stover, owner of Innovative Spaces, HofArc’s onsite and preferred builder. “We’re building in 3D, so obviously it’s much more efficient for the carpenter to see it the way it’s being assembled. In 3D the designer can see if something works or doesn’t work before it gets into the worksite. That, in-and-of-itself, is huge labor savings. We can even take an iPad into the space, and virtually slice the cabinet and look at a cut-through view to more accurately see the hidden fixtures and hardware that will be installed later. This helps us avoid time-wasting steps with the wiring and plumbing runs that will be installed later.”
The Future of Design
Today, 3D software is the go-to tool for more than half a million designers and contractors who use the software to create experiences that transform the world. Thanks to the 3D revolution, the HofArc design team continues to raise the bar in creating small space experiences that feel much larger and more comfortable.