Possible Bodies


Item number: 094
Item title: BIM
Author(s) of the item: Douglas Engelbart
Year in which the item emerged culturally or was produced industrially: 1962
Entry of the item into the inventory: 27 February 2018
Inventor(s) for this item: Possible Bodies
Ignoring the representation on the display, the architect next begins to enter a series of specifications and data — a six-inch slab floor, twelve-inch concrete walls eight feet high within the excavation, and so on. When he has finished, the revised scene appears on the screen. A structure is taking shape. He examines it, adjusts it, pauses long enough to ask for handbook or catalog information from the clerk at various points, and readjusts accordingly. He often recalls from the "clerk" his working lists of specifications and considerations to refer to them, modify them, or add to them. These lists grow into an evermore-detailed, interlinked structure, which represents the maturing thought behind the actual design. (...) In such a future working relationship between human problem-solver and computer 'clerk,' the capability of the computer for executing mathematical processes would be used whenever it was needed. However, the computer has many other capabilities for manipulating and displaying information that can be of significant benefit to the human in nonmathematical processes of planning, organizing, studying, etc. Every person who does his thinking with symbolized concepts (whether in the form of the English language, pictographs, formal logic, or mathematics) should be able to benefit significantly.

Douglas C. Engelbart, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223. Prepared for: Director of Information Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Washington DC (1962) http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/augment-3906.html

"Contractors look to BIM to Streamline Construction". BIM Screenshot, DPR Construction

Building information modeling (BIM) is permeating the AEC industry at an escalating rate to the point where corporations and even countries are choosing to mandate the platform for large-scale projects.

(...) BIM isn't new. It first appeared as early as 1962, when Douglas Engelbart wrote his paper Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework and described architect entering specifications and data into a building design and watching a structure take shape — a concept very similar to modern parametric modeling.

The fallacy that BIM is just for architects stems from the simple fact that the construction and architecture industries were among the first to adopt the process. However, it may have started somewhere else entirely.

Visualising the BIM data-structure. Phil Langley, 2017

One could argue that structural [engineering] was using it for a long time as well,” commented Concannon. “Even before architects were building 3D buildings, structural engineers were building 3D buildings to perform analysis.”

"BIM is for everyone,” Concannon added. It can be used for just about anything in the built environment, including: Architecture and building design, Civil and structural engineering, Energy and utilities, Highway and road engineering, Landscape and land surveying, Offshore and marine architecture, Rail and metro transportation engineering, Tunneling and subway architecture, Urban master-planning and smart city design. There you have it — BIM is not just for architects.