Friday, August 27, 2010

Can BIM be 'Taught'?

Do you ever stop and ask yourself how you got ‘Here’?  Not in the existential sense (i.e. of the origins of life), nor in the explicit sense of reading this blog, but rather ‘How did I become a BIM-Guy/Gal?’

Some of us come from an architectural background, some an engineering, some computer science.  My mentor was an older guy who had already had a career as a dry-wall contractor and went back to school to get a Technical Degree in CAD and he just went up and onwards from there.

My background is in architecture.  I had done design work in 3D at an Architecture firm for many years.  One day the phone rang, and my mentor said “I have work and you are the guy to do it.  When can you start?”  In 2 weeks I was working for a construction company, building a model of an arena in Architectural Desktop.  I didn’t know what ‘BIM’ was, all I knew was that they had given me a substantial pay increase to engage in the same kind of activity I had been doing all along, but now it had a fancy name!  I have bounced around between design, construction and engineering ever since.

My point is that I didn’t go to school specifically for whatever this is I do now.  On my company business card it says “BIM Coordinator”.  In the past I have been called “3D Specialist”, “Design Phase Coordinator”, but my favorite was “3D Maven”  I consider myself an architect with exceptional skills at manipulating software, and lots of experience in using 3D as a design tool through all phases of construction.  If anyone dared call me a “CAD Manager”, they wouldn’t have a chance to say it twice.

I imagine that if you are reading this, you are also a person with a diverse educational/career background.  What it says on your business card and the actual value you bring to your position are probably quite different.  What ties us together isn’t limited to just software proficiency or intellectual curiosity or design creativity or a love for Star Wars…I think there is something unquantifiable that under-girds it all.  Dare I call it ‘Passion’?

So if we take a moment to consider ‘How did we get here?’ I have been thinking that the next question might be ‘How do I bring others?’

Which brings me to the spark for this missive in the first place:

Can BIM be taught?

How is BIM being addressed conceptually in schools?  For that matter, is there a ‘Theory’ behind what we are doing?  I know there are many PHD’s out there studying the quantifiable effects of BIM, but that’s not what I am referring to at all.

In an institutional setting what would a BIM course or curriculum look like?

(I wonder if Carl Bass is reading this and thinking to himself “It looks like AU!”) 

A quick search online yeilds some interesting results...

They are teaching BIM in Texas High Schools:

An online BIM University with zero class offerings:

The USC School of Architecture does an annual Symposium, as do several other colleges I imagine:
USC BIM Symposium

They even offered one with a great name:

But really the offerings are kind of slim.

Along my journey, I’ve met some younger people who I have mentored and tutored along this path, but finding someone who shares “The Passion” is not easy.  I think that's the crux of the matter.  No matter what happens, "Passion" can't be taught...its gotta come from within...its gotta be inspired.

Does anyone else think about this at all?  I am confident someone else reading this has.

It’s not just training someone to use Revit/ADT/Rhino/Catia/Bentley, but coaching them to see the possibilities our tools bring to the table.  How do we inspire passion and innovation for the next generation(s)?

Looking forward to any and all comments/opinions/shared experiences,


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conquering the Last 100 Feet

It ain't Revit but this is very cool....