RESIN Architecture: Firm Profile

What is the history and background of the firm?

RESIN Architecture is a forward-thinking architecture firm established in 2017, focused on vision-driven solutions for clients. Location in Eastern Idaho, RESIN has an extended reach across the western region and also into several midwestern and southern states in the United States. This reach is constantly increasing through work with our clients and collaborative opportunities with other AEC industry members.  Our collaborative integrated design approach is possible due to the power of Archicad and our creative implementations of the workflow potentials made possible through the software. 

The founding members of RESIN — Graham Whipple, AIA, Jonathan Gallup, AIA, and Greg Croft, AIA — are all originally from Eastern Idaho. After gathering a diverse range of work experiences with large regional firms, all three founding partners chose to return to Eastern Idaho, where the life pace is more relaxed and where opportunities abound. RESIN’s founders have established a reputation for big-city expertise and quality of services that are perfectly paired with personalized levels of services more common in smaller markets.

RESIN recognized at its founding that many traditional architectural processes and workflows are outdated and inefficient. Modern advanced software solutions have long offered a better way to design, communicate ideas, and collaborate with project teams. These opportunities have been a driving force within RESIN as we have evaluated how architects should be working in the 21st century and how we can envision better building solutions. RESIN has embraced and continues to embrace new technologies that help us better communicate ideas and solutions to our clients for their projects.

What is the firm’s current focus? What are the key projects you are working on?

While the founding members of RESIN have diverse work backgrounds with regards to project types in their individual work portfolios, RESIN as a whole does not specialize in any single or handful of building use types. Rather, our focus lies in the relationships with our clients and with our project teams related to our current projects. We leverage a deep integration of technology into our workflow with clients to allow for early and frequent visual communication of the project to ensure that our clients’ visions are successfully captured and executed.

Our focus is also on improved communications with the project team through all stages of project development. We have been striving since our founding to eliminate traditional silos in our workflows, inviting and even at times pushing, pulling, or dragging our consulting engineers into a workflow that is fully integrated within a single shared BIM model. We have been successful in this effort, and a significant portion of our collaborative work is happening in a live BIM model (Figure 2).

Our preference is for structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical engineers to model their systems to the greatest extent possible within Archicad (not using IFC). This workflow is facilitated through Archicad’s Teamworks functionality and BIMcloud for hosting of projects. RESIN has found that this live integration through Teamworks allows us to have even tighter integration than when we have to “downgrade” to a workflow involving IFC file exchange. Obviously, this workflow isn’t always possible; however, this is our ideal scenario in working with consultants, and we find that our consultants recognize the power of this live collaboration.

When did the firm start using AEC technology, and how is it being used today? 

The three founding partners of RESIN have years of individual experience in industry leading AEC technology tools, and when they came together to establish RESIN, technology and implementation opportunities continued to remain an integral part of the workflow, streamlining communications and deliverables with clients and construction partners. With more than 20 years of continuous experience using Graphisoft’s Archicad software in creative ways, there is a deep understanding of how Archicad allows many approaches to solve challenges during design.

We have developed office standards that are applicable in many situations; however, as we approach new unique situations, we first question what the goal is and how this might deviate from a standard workflow. We then evaluate which path best helps us arrive at the solutions that help our clients visualize their projects.

As we work to communicate the design solutions to our clients and also the engineering and construction teams, we are striving to develop accurate “virtual building” models that solve the challenges of the individual projects (Figure 3). We then continue to add and refine the information associated with the model elements, so that we are delivering a design record to our clients that we anticipate will be a valuable asset through the life of the building.

What is the firm’s approach and/or philosophy to AEC technology?

At RESIN, we are striving to explore and implement AEC technology that will help us deliver high quality solutions for our clients. Our work is based around Archicad, which we see as an industry leading software solution. We have used other software in the past but have found that Archicad offers consistently greater opportunities with our forward-thinking implementation of peripheral technology. We leverage the core collaboration framework within Archicad as the foundation for our approach to all projects. We have found that we can scale and tailor our implementation of Archicad from the smallest remodel project to a large multi-building development.

Building on our desire to communicate solutions with our clients, consultants, and construction teams, we strive to get the virtual project into the hands of these team members as we share information and help our project teams “walk inside before you break ground” (TM). We do this through file sharing that leverages the power of the portable devices that are so integrated into our lives. Several built-in and directly connected solutions are part of projects we engage in. These include: Archicad’s built in BIMx for documentation, visualization, model sharing, and project updates (Video 1); Unreal Engine’s Twinmotion through the direct Archicad connection (Figure 4); and dRofus through a direct connection to Archicad (Figure 5).

Video 1. Use of BIMx for documentation, visualization, model sharing.

There are a number of additional technologies that we connect into our workflow depending on the size, complexity, and specific needs of a project. These include VR, Point Clouds, Drones, Lidar, Thermal, Rhino, Grasshopper, and X-ray Scanning (see Videos 2 and 3). These technologies help us accurately capture, integrate, and convey complexities of projects that historically have been challenging. As we gather more accurate information, we are able to reduce the number of assumptions and more confidently develop specific design solutions.

At RESIN, we are not waiting for the industry to dictate to us what our best workflow should be. We are looking at the tools we currently have. We are striving to master the implementation of those tools and to recognize new ways for implementation.

Video 2. Bringing a Matterport point cloud into Archicad and using it to model an existing building.

Video 3. This video show’s RESIN’s workflow from Grasshopper/Rhino to Archicad and then to Twinmotion.

What are some of the main challenges the firm faces in its implementation of AEC technology?

One of the most significant challenges we face in implementing technology is that we are setting the precedent in our local market and even beyond our immediate locality. We find that as we introduce our workflow and the tools we use, this is received with enthusiasm, however not necessarily with an immediate comfort level. Our clients and contractors are not accustomed to such an advanced workflow, and we find ourselves having to training them.

We also experience a challenge training new employees and even consulting engineers in the diversity of technology tools in our workflow. Technology and workflows that have become common to us are new, strange, intriguing, and exciting for individuals who aren’t familiar with those tools and methods. We find that we initially need to take time to explain the “why” and the “how” associated with these tools and workflows. We also then need to remember that some additional guidance will be needed along the way. We find, however, that as we take time to train, we are adding to our team of powerhouse individuals. We want to advance workflows permanently, not just for the moment or for a single project. As we raise the bar, we raise the industry (Figure 6).

We are located in a market where projects are consistently smaller than the high-rise developments often featured in marketing and training for AEC technology. Within the AEC industry, technology is often evaluated based on ability to scale large. We find that we often also need to make sure technology and our workflows will scale both directions.

How does the firm see AEC technology evolving in the future?

Technology moves fast and we don’t generally know the roadmap that technology developers envision. These roadmaps are often planned out years before we catch a first glimpse of where things might be leading. RESIN has been inspired through glimpses of really incredible developments that build upon existing technologies. These developments include systems for automation of repetitive tasks, such as the automation of annotations and documentation based on accurate BIM project development.

RESIN anticipates that some technologies and processes that are now only available through the use of an API may likely be developed as part of base technology or software functionality. We also anticipate that we may see increased framework for more robust access through APIs or for additional and deeper tailoring of workflows within our office. One example of such a framework is “Classifications and Properties” within Archicad that has become more robust during the last several years. Our anticipation is that these kinds of systems within the software will become even more robust and will allow for deeper or broader reach into the intelligence defined in the virtual building. As we are permitted to reach deeper, we will define additional powerful implementations within the bounds of the framework.

In terms of technology evolution, however, we also want to address where we hope it doesn’t move!

As technology advances, there is a potential for loss of the inspiration and craft that historically has been part of the architectural profession. It is not a new realization that the architect is rarely involved in projects to the same level today as 100 years ago. Continuing advancements in technology are needed, but these advancements should not alienate the roots of the architectural profession. A student today may not often have the opportunity for creating a physical model or conducting a light study on a physical model, for example. We believe that there are certain observations made by the architect while engaged in actual physical development of portions of the design such as when sketching an idea, developing a detail, or building a mock-up. These are a valuable part of the process and we should take care to not lose them.

Our current technology already allows for highly realistic virtual models. VR allows us to experience these virtual environments as though we are in an actual physical space. Psychologically and emotionally, we may have a response as though the environment is real. But when we leave the virtual environment, we are back in the real physical world where the laws of physics apply. There are standard material sizes and properties. These limiting factors can be avoided in the virtual environment where we can model whatever we envision.

At RESIN, we hope to continue in a way that keeps us rooted in what reality allows us to do. We are however actively seeking new combinations, new assemblies, new implementations, and that a-ha moment when we know it is just right and not just some derivative of things done before. When that moment comes, it is often as a result of combined use of technology and traditional exploration. These kinds of moments may inspire advancements in building technology that then open even more opportunities for creative exploration and development — the cycle continues.

If the firm had a wish list for AEC technology, what would it be?

We often discuss things we wish were more readily available for integration within our workflow as architects. Part of pushing boundaries at RESIN is that we often discover just where those current boundaries or limitations exist. We then explore alternate workflows in hopes of finding a way around the barriers we encounter.

Our current wish list items include:

  • Increased compatibility of tools with the Mac platform. As an example, we currently use dRofus, Rhino, Grasshopper and Bluebeam in our workflow; however, due to limitations of these software packages on the Mac platform, we cannot fully capture potential functionality of these software platforms.

  • Additional functionality and tools for architects, clients, and other project team members to view, participate, interact, and provide feedback on development in a project through applications for mobile devices. Archicad’s BIMx is a great tool that has potential for even greater opportunities. We hope for more functionality in this kind of workflow.

  • The ability to more easily project or view a building on a site through AR/VR technologies. There are many rumors of developing AR technologies. As these develop, we hope for functional integrations with BIM standards and in ways that don’t require major computing hardware for effective visualization.

  • A software integration of functionality for BIM software applications to track documents issued throughout a project and facilitate identification and tracking of changes through the duration of the project. There are several programs that have limited functionality along these lines, but none that function for the workflow we envision.

Are there any additional information/observations/insights on AEC technology from the firm that you would like to share?

Technology is so vital to what we as Architects can do, but we have to be willing to venture out of our comfort zone. As a profession, many firms are seemingly caught in a deep rut of tradition. Those ruts exist when we are comfortable doing things the way they have been done for the past several years or sadly, in some cases, decades. The opportunity for us to work differently, to innovate, and evolve the architectural profession exists. Technology advancements allow us so many exciting opportunities that help us better serve our clients.


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