Envisioning A Construction Project in 3D

February 13, 2017

Envisioning A Construction Project in 3D

When designing something new for clients, something unusual, design teams create a lot of data. Plan sheets depict every detail of the project to the fraction of an inch; it could be precisely constructed. But what will it look like when finished? How will it function? A designer or builder can interpret the plan sheets and CAD drawings, but how will the public understand what we as designers are doing for them?

To convey visual intent in the architectural field, designers rely on renderings to make a visual statement, selling their ideas to stakeholders and often, the general public. But how does an engineer create that kind of recognition on a miles-long stretch of roadway? Line drawings and elevations can give viewers a sense of the road geometry, but to truly convey the experience of driving a new roadway with new traffic patterns or unique amenities, designers were stuck.

But now, designers can create 3D models of projects that are geometrically and visually accurate, but even 3D stills sometimes don’t tell the whole story. On AMT’s Southgate Drive project at Virginia Tech, we needed a way to convey the experience of driving the roadway, including how to navigate the new double diamond interchange. Stakeholders were also interested in keeping a rural feel at the university and were concerned about what a major roadway project would do to the look and feel that they so valued. AMT’s Landscape Architecture Team developed a series of videos that allow viewers to virtually “drive” the length of the roadway. The videos include details such as traffic, landscaping, lighting, signage and viewsheds. They distill 1,300 pages of design documents into one complete, visually accurate representation of the project so that anyone who sees the videos will understand what the project will look like next year once the project is complete.

For more information on the creation of the videos and to see them, click here.

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