Building Information Modeling: Potential for small architectural firms

Jun 28, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Interview with Lars Kölln and Daniel Mondino from CORE architecture


Digitalization has a firm grip on the construction industry. The big players on the architecture scene rely on model-based planning processes. In an interview, Lars Kölln and Daniel Mondino from CORE architecture explain why BIM offers big potential for small architectural firms too.


From left to right: Daniel Mondino and Lars Kölln, Founder and owner of CORE architecture

© ALLPLAN GmbH; from left to right: Daniel Mondino and Lars Kölln, Founder and owner of CORE architecture


Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the working method that ensures compliance with deadlines and costs, especially with large-scale projects, and so should be obligatory for large architectural offices. However, small companies also benefit from model-based planning processes. There is a tremendous amount of competitive pressure. Both founders and owners of CORE architecture in Hamburg want to position themselves with a clear innovative advantage across networks. They are convinced: In the future, architects will continue to be the central contact point for construction - when they are ready to move.


The increasing digitalization demands that architects coordinate newly created disciplines. These functions are far from strongly creative. management-oriented roles. What is your professional understanding of the roles?

We love our creative profession. However, being an architect is not just drafting and design. Management and the implementation of design in the data is required for building is also important. In addition to the geometry, we can now produce additional information relevant for the architecture. If we continue to work in the future as we are now, we risk being pushed to the fringes and then only being responsible for a small part in the planning and building process.


What does this mean in particular for architecture?

Drafts are no longer created solely from the architect's impressive sketch. Instead, the shape, energy and material can be optimized with the help of scriptings and the ability to have the computer compare thousands of variants. This in turn has an impact on costs and times.


Does this mean that in the future computers will take over the design process?

It is not about rationalizing the way the architect is with his or her individual creativity. The key point is that a much more powerful tool is now available that can be used to network and integrate different strands of information in the discussion. This supports the creative process. The complex shell structures from Eero Saarinen, for example, were very complex drawings of design structures. They can be generated much more easily with the use of a computer.


What challenges do you see in coordinating an intelligent model across disciplines?

The motto should be: “Keep it simple.” The model is not an end in itself. Every sub-model fulfills a function. What we really need with BIM are binding standards and legal framework conditions. At the same time, we cannot burden the relaxed examination of the topic. Otherwise it is difficult to be innovative. Innovation also means namely courage and risk-taking. Digitization is progressing rapidly. Only the construction industry is lagging far behind. "Keep it simple" is therefore exactly the right approach. We do not have to know at the start exactly where the development is going. But starting is important!


How are builders responding to BIM?

It's everywhere among builders: BIM has arrived only in part. We still have to do a great deal of persuasion. You cannot just slip into BIM. BIM must be ordered precisely. This brings us to another important aspect: BIM is a strategic management task.


Architects must ask themselves where their firm should be in ten years time and what are the important topics. For Lars Kölln and Daniel Mondino from CORE architecture, the answer is clear: Data, information and networking are the driving forces – today and in the future. So there are good reasons to rely on BIM in process management.



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