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Driving Innovation via Cutting Edge CADD Technology

The past two years have seen a dramatic advancement of technology at Aguirre & Fields. One of the places where this is most evident is in our CADD department.

“Overall, our CADD team has responded very positively in embracing new technology,” says Aguirre & Fields Research and Development Lead Eric Schluter. “They’re finding out that with a lot of the 3D modeling we are using, we are able to identify issues that might otherwise go undetected until the construction phase of a project.”

Technology such as Bentley’s ContextCapture creates “reality meshes” from photographs gathered by a drone flying a pre-programmed path alongside a project site.

“What we do is fly a drone in a sweeping pattern where the build will be,” explains Schluter. “While we’re doing this, it’s taking thousands of photos which are seamlessly meshed together to create a 3D rendering of the environment on the computer. The CADD team can then design their project in that same environment to easily visualize how the build will look in the end.”

Aguirre & Fields Research and Development Lead Eric Schluter

Beyond the benefits of visualization, the technology also allows for assessment of the design.

“We can run all kinds of simulations with cars, bikes, and even pedestrians,” says Schluter. “It gives our designers a real edge in evaluating the efficacy of their design.”

The technology can also help designers more effectively collaborate on projects.

“Right now, we are looking at virtual reality in the design phase,” says Schluter. “It allows designers to work together, immersed in a digital environment at the same time, each from their own perspective. It allows for critical assessment and detailed adjustments to be made to the designs in real-time.”

Use of innovative technology such as Augmented Reality (AR) also allows for our clients to effectively communicate to the public the impact their projects will have on affected communities.

“I think AR is the most effective technology to present at public meetings because it shows what the project will look like in its actual environment,” says Schluter.

Aguirre & Fields CADD Group Lead Todd Kattelman

Augmented Reality immerses the user by displaying digitally rendered designs over what their camera displays on their phone. When utilized effectively, the 3D models seamlessly track the camera’s movement and can be viewed in their entirety as the user alters their vantage point.

“Being a smaller firm has allowed us to embrace this technology at a faster pace than many of the bigger firms,” says Aguirre & Fields CADD Group Lead Todd Kattelman. “In fact, for many of the projects we sub on, we’re being asked to do all the 3D modeling work because we have been early adopters of the technology.”

Embracing new technology supports Aguirre & Fields’ commitment to drive innovation in the industry.

“One of the things I love about Aguirre & Fields is that we are always doing what we can to stay ahead of the curve,” says Kattelman. “We watch where the industry is heading and make strategic decisions that place us in leadership positions.”

In addition to driving innovation, Aguirre & Fields is committed to cultivating a culture where everyone feels valued and included.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done with our technology over the past few years,” says Schluter. “But the truth of the matter is, we can’t implement these advancements throughout the firm without valuable feedback, which is why inclusivity and collaboration are so critical. Thankfully, we have some very forward-thinking people that work at Aguirre & Fields that are happy to embrace this technology, especially after they experience the benefits it provides for them.”