Designing in Context and Scale


As design teams, we work across a range of scales; from city down to component. Whilst the current generation of mainstream software does allow working at various scales; it does not allow it all within a single environment, or a series of well-connected environments. Often, to accommodate the level of detail required to deliver both digital models and construction drawings, technical workarounds are required to subdivide models by purpose or volume. This approach essentially results in teams no longer working on one holistic design, but rather a series of smaller project sections. This makes it harder to effect project-wide changes when necessary and ultimately leads to unintended errors.

In parallel, teams are having to further double up on software – and ultimately design information – when there is a need to visualise, assess, or document the impact of design decisions in near real-time.

As an example, we are forced to run parallel software – a gaming engine linked to a design tool – to provide us a raytraced rendered representation for a realistic assessment of materials, space, volumes, lighting and shadows. We then have to repeat similar setups across simulation and analytical tasks to meet our design aspirations.

Understanding our design and our decision-making in an analytic and real-time realistic visual way is not a technical barrier in 2023. Yet the tools we use do not provide this functionality.

What we need

The ability to design and evaluate decisions in real time, at any scale.

Designers should have the freedom and ability to interact and edit design information across all building volumes unrestricted, and uninhibited by technical challenges, using tools that acknowledge the reality of construction projects i.e. multi-build sites.

The tools of the future should be equally comfortable working at scale and remain performant from conceptual massing through to a construction level of detail.

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