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BuildingSMART International News Extra May 2013

The future with IFC4

Interview with Christopher Zoog, HOK
The IFC4 Special supplement, published in March 2013, featured a box on early adoption of IFC4 and the pioneering work being done by Christopher Zoog of HOK in New York a subject of wide interest. Chris is an HOK buildingSMART specialist an architect who works on key projects around the firm ensuring compliance with its HOK buildingSMART initiatives. Here he answers questions from newsletter editor Betzy Dinesen. BD: When hospital building in New and how did York City. you become aware of IFC4? What benefit did CZ: Ive been following the making the connection development of IFC4 for quite a while bring to you? now. I became interested in IFC about In the early design phase three years ago when I arrived at our primary BIM tool HOK, which has a strong presence in was not flexible enough the buildingSMART community. to handle the complex What is your role with HOK? geometry and the many design iterations in a fluid way. It can be thought of as an applied Normally we would devise a design research role: I research new algorithm to create the geometry in technologies and workflows and apply Grasshopper/Rhino and perhaps them to the projects I am working on. create a .dwg or .sat file that can be I am also an expert in model-based imported into Revit and referenced a co-ordination, model checking, design dumb piece of geometry. algorithms and pedestrian simulation. I typically take on the more complex portions of the building, particularly building enclosures, such as curtain walls. Most of the projects I work on are in the commercial, healthcare or aviation markets. IFC4 and the Geometry Gym plugins allow us to create an IFC model in Grasshopper and then import/ merge that model into Revit, where they become proper BIM elements, panels, columns, floors, etc. We can also pass that same information on to structural analysis programs, such as Tekla. It was very easy not only to embellish this geometry in Revit, but also to update each elements position and orientation without overriding the edits we made in Revit.

This workflow ensured that all users are working from the exact same set of points or skeletal wireframe that can be further enhanced and defined in their BIM authoring application: in other words, updating without losing information. How do you see the potential of IFC4? As BIM is now the norm in many parts of the world, I anticipate that the adoption of IFC4 and development of new model view definitions will further revolutionise how building stakeholders collaborate and communi cate with each other. Its an exciting time for the AEC community. This is a fuller version of the news story that appears in bSI Newsletter No 12, May 2013.
Newsletter editor: Betzy Dinesen (

Can you tell me something about the project where you did the early IFC4 connection between Rhino/ Grasshopper and Revit? This example of IFC4 integration is a complex faade study for a major new

(Top left) Christopher Zoog; (top right) Grasshopper algorithm for a faade study is converted to Revit adaptive components via IFC4, allowing for design interactions to be vetted in HOKs primary BIM application (Below left and right) Massing study in Grasshopper is converted to Revit walls, floors and rooms viaICF4