One-Stop SHoP, for Architecture & Construction

Event: Building Wisely: Leveraging Digital Technology to Maintain Design Intent
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.13.11
Speaker: Jonathan L. Mallie, AIA — Principal & Managing Director, SHoP Construction Services and Associate Principal — SHoP Architects
Introduction: Paul Seletsky, AIA — Co-Chair, AIANY Technology Committee
Organizer: AIANY Technology Committee
Sponsor: ABC Imaging

Created in CATIA, this design model by SHoP Architects shows Barclays Center’s complex latticework of weathering steel.

SHoP Architects

It can be supremely frustrating for architects to lose control of what happens to a design after a project enters the construction phase. “We all, as architects, have… run up against that wall in the past, realized that those barriers are in place,” said Jonathan L. Mallie, AIA, an associate principal of SHoP Architects and principal of SHoP Construction Services. “So we’re trying to break that down.”

He and others from SHoP Architects founded SHoP Construction in 2007 as a way of trying to bring the worlds of architecture and construction closer together. SHoP Construction is a company that specializes in virtual design and construction services. Through the new company, “We can push design further, because we have the ability to carry it through in another way,” Mallie remarked.

Though the two companies are separate legally and financially, they share office space and sometimes work together on the same projects, such as Barclays Center in Brooklyn, he explained. (See “New Barclays Center Design Eyes Atlantic Yards,” by Lisa Delgado, e-Oculus, 09.29.09.) Hunt Construction is the general contractor for the sports arena; SHoP Construction’s more specialized role includes providing the façade contractor, ASILIMITED, with engineering assistance in developing the building’s façade, which features an exterior latticework of weathering steel.

After SHoP Architects used CATIA to create a design model of the latticework, SHoP Construction created a fabrication model and continued to hone the latticework’s form to make it optimally cost efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and practical to transport. The design-build team used Revit as the BIM platform. One technical innovation was SHoP Construction’s development of a custom iPhone app that scans barcodes on the steel panels in order to track each one as it moves through the fabrication, pre-weathering, and installation process.

The latticework design consists of 12,000 steel panels that are each slightly different in form. But ASI didn’t balk at that, because the project was highly efficient in other ways, according to Mallie. “The sequencing was so thought through,” he said. “We were able to sequence the work in such a way that there was less focus on optimization in terms of number of standard panel types.”

All in all, through the collaboration between SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction on the project, “We really have been able to achieve a different design,” he remarked. “There’s no way that this building would have looked like this if we weren’t working on both sides of the fence.”