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Be Inspired Symposium and Awards 2009 Report
By Susan Smith
This past week Bentley Systems hosted their Be Inspired: Infrastructure Best Practices Symposium and Awards in Charlotte, NC, designed to showcase their BE Awards, which are usually announced at their annual BE Conference. As BE was canceled this year, Bentley has taken a couple of different routes: one is BE Connected, a series of online courses that users can sign up for and receive interactive training. The other is to host this awards event to show off the finalists for the awards and to allow them share their stories.
Those invited (by invitation only) included the award finalists, members of the press and Bentley employees. The company made the following announcements (from press materials):
- Bentley has entered into a technology agreement with Pointools Ltd., the leader in high-performance software to exploit point clouds captured by 3D laser scanning of infrastructure assets, including aerial LiDAR surveys;
- The acquisition of 9SQ Corporation, a leading provider of integration services and plant design software based in South Korea. Through this acquisition Bentley extends its ability to fully support users of plant design software in Korea and the surrounding region and adds PlantWAVE software to its portfolio;
- The October 2009 availability of ProjectWise Navigator V8i (SELECTseries 1), dynamic collaboration software for iterative project review. This new version of ProjectWise Navigator can be used by infrastructure teams to interactively view, analyze, and augment project information.
- Bentley announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the business of KSJ Beijing Software Technology Co. Ltd., which includes the BridgeMaster product line. BridgeMaster is the leading software in China for the fast and efficient automated production of bridge construction drawings meeting even the most demanding Chinese engineering standards.
- The October 2009 availability of MicroStation V8i (SELECTseries 1). This newest version of MicroStation features innovative and flexible value-creative enhancements for infrastructure professionals highlighted by RealDWG library support and integrated 3D printing capabilities.
- The acquisition of gINT Software. Headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., gINT Software has been a leader in geotechnical and geoenvironmental products since its founding in 1986. The company's newest product, gINT Enterprise, maximizes the value of centrally managed subsurface data through multi-project reporting and dramatically extended querying power.
This year also marks the company’s 25th year of software business, having grown from approximately 20 to 2,700 people in that time. In his keynote presentation, CTO and founder Keith Bentley showed a slide of their first product, PseudoStation, which ran on the Vax.
CEO Greg Bentley pointed out that in 2009 Bentley has increased its marketshare and now it appears to have almost as much of the AEC market as Autodesk, taking into account the Autodesk AEC proportion of their business only.
Some highlights of the soon-to-be released MicroStation V8i SELECTSeries 1) include:
- RealDWG interoperability advances.
- 3D printing support
- Dynamic Views for drawing composition
- Luxology animation
Delivering “dynamic” collaboration – ProjectWise Navigator V8i and Bentley i-models will include:
- Static visualization limitations
- Dynamic collaboration empowerment
- Value creation affordability
Keith Bentley reminded the audience that Bentley takes a layered approach in software design and that they have only changed the file format once in 25 years.
The new product from Bentley, i-Models are said to be “a new infrastructure currency for open information exchange.” As I understand it, the i-Model is a container that can hold an entire 3D model, a revision history and where the information comes from, and can be exported to those who need to see this information or series of files. The author can embed access rights into the model, support digital signatures and take measurements or extract information from this information. It cannot be changed, but notes can be attached to it. It is a .dgn file, but it has the capability of bringing in other material such as Revit files using the previously released Revit plug-in. It honors all file formats (or will, once Bentley develops individual plug ins for it) and standards such as ISO 15926, IFCs, XML.
Press members asked, why do we need another format? The i-Model is not really another format, it’s another way to share information with team members or other stakeholders. Similar to a zip file, when you open it you can see its contents. It will be particularly useful for plant and process and other large-scope projects with multiple and diverse processes.
The other big question is, how big is it? In comparison with a regular model file, perhaps a BIM file, the i-Model would be at a ratio of 10 to 1. It will contain all accurate geometry, but will do away with anything extraneous or redundant. I’m not sure how it makes this decision.
The i-Model capability will be part and parcel of the next release of ProjectWise Navigator and Composer which will ship in the next few weeks.
Award Winners and Finalists
The award winner for Innovation in Structural Engineering, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios LLP — Worcester Library and History Centre, was faced with the challenge of creating a roof that had an unusual shape that reflects the undulations of the nearby Malvern Hills in the UK. The roof was designed to provide ventilation using natural ventilation controls and natural light suffused through glazing and shading.
GenerativeComponents was used to try out variables within the constraints of a sustainable design, reduce the weight of the roof, and thereby make the columns that support it smaller. Construction is just now beginning on the site, Richard Priest, architectural software engineer, said that the roof will drive the construction.
The Ukranian Health Protection Centre for Women and Children was a project done by BDP located in a natural forest at the edge of Kiev, Ukraine, very close to the site of Chernoble. Structural engineer Oliver Plunket of BDP said they embedded GenerativeComponents in the center of the process of design. The $120 million, 250-bed children’s hospital was contracted because the country had no place for cancer treatment of children. The high instance of childhood cancers and mortality is linked to the nearby Chernoble disaster. The site was chosen because it is a very natural, pastoral setting, on the edge of dense woodland and has deep slopes.
BDP’s design, an anthropomorphic response to design, won a design competition. “We tried to generate architecture that responded to human forms, and the architecture is of its environment – animals, sticks, trees. We wanted to engender a place where kids might want to get well,” said Plunkett. The building is shaped like a hand, and the treatment areas are separated from the ward areas. A green roof emulates the forest floor. Hexagons were used as a repeatable and constructable design element. GC was used to populate the shape of the hand with hexagons.
John Westmuckett, director of Westmuckett Hawkes Ltd. Spoke on the Edge Structures Ltd’s Wimbledon Centre Court Redevelopment and Retractable Roof, Wimbledon, United Kingdom, the winner in the category of Innovation in Structural Engineering.
The driving force behind the four-year improvement program at the All-England Club in a London suburb of the UK was designing around the annual championships, a feat that required collaboration among the design team, main contractor, and supplier fabricators. According to press materials, the project scope included redevelopment of the east stand of center court, extension of the terrace to provide an additional six rows of seating, and the addition of a retractable roof for play in adverse weather conditions.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.