KOZ architectes: The innovational journey with BIM and ARCHICAD
Central Innovation • 19 May 2015
Winner of ArchDaily Building of the year 2014
Christophe Ouhayoun and Nicolas Ziesel founded Koz Architects in 1999 with the goal of developing expressive and cheerful architecture, founded on discussion, experimentation and “creative democracy,” open to any situation that drives social and environmental innovations ever further.
Fifteen years later, after 75 competitions and tenders, 27 of which were wins and 18 that were built, Koz Architects relies on a 13-member team and solid partners like PLAN01, which is a group of five architectural firms and an environmental study office. “We do not ask people who work with us to design our fads or obsessions, but to contribute real value through their know-how,” Christophe Ouhayoun points out. “A need, a demand for collaborative work is what led us to choose ARCHICAD back in 2009.” It was a rapid switch: they had barely six months to equip and train a team to use a tool they can rely on. KOZ Architects works today with Teamwork with eight ARCHICAD licenses.
KOZ architectes – Tête en l’Air
“The idea of designing a project in plan, then modeling it for communicating the project seemed completely absurd…especially with the additional requirement of making a specific model for thermal simulation.”
– Nicolas Ziesel, architect
Previously working with 2D design software that was fast and effectively used by the team, Christophe Ouhayoun and Nicolas Ziesel still came to a different conclusion. “We produce a lot of images ourselves, and the idea of designing a project in plan, then modeling it for communicating the project seemed completely absurd…especially with the additional requirement of making a specific model for thermal simulation,” says Nicolas Ziesel. This need to evolve towards using 3D for conceptual design was confirmed with the “Tête en l’Air” project, which is a tough combination of rehabilitating a social housing unit and creating another 15 new, wooden buildings. Koz shaped a new concept of high-density living by creating multiple, small, “intermediate spaces” around the plot out of wood.
Tête en l’Air, photo © cecile septet
The project was awarded the 2nd National Prize of Wood Construction in 2013 as well as the ArchDaily Prize for “Building of the Year 2014” in the Housing category. In addition to being a “flagship” project that brings Koz architects recognition, the collaboration with carpenters on this project was the deciding factor in their move towards ARCHICAD. “It’s the same work, but carpenters think in 3D from the concept to execution. Their 3D attitude really prevails until the very end; this is a real value. It’s not only about the object as training but an object that actually has to be built. On ‘Tête en l’Air’ we were still in 2D: we had nothing to show them and nothing we could do with the models they gave us,” regrets Christophe Ouhayoun.
Tête en l’Air, photo © cecile septet
ARCHICAD has thus emerged as a particularly tailored tool. “In contrast to concrete structures, wood structures integrate an enormous amount of elements that have real sensibility through space and if the project is not modeled intelligently in 3D, we cannot understand it,” said Christophe Ouhayoun. “What is interesting with this experience with wood is that the project is accepted with the help of a digital model, and not just a flat drawing,” he added. In addition to designing in 3D like carpenters, ARCHICAD also helps communication with them. “Carpenters use design software that are very specific and sometimes even rare… but data exchange is achieved perfectly thanks to IFC,” confirms Nicolas Ziesel. “Finding a common language for different file types is the future! If there is no agreement on the common format, everyone will lose for sure,” predicts Christophe Ouhayoun. Interoperability: a title shared mutually by Koz and all ARCHICAD architects.
KOZ architectes – B4B
Since 2009, Koz architects has used ARCHICAD in all phases of their projects, never looking back to designing in 2D. The B4B building in the IDZ (Integrated Development Zone) of Trapeze at Boulogne was their first project using ARCHICAD: a small slice of a larger plot, which still had to incorporate three different programs (a specialized kindergarten, a medical center and social housing) whose entity and functionality are identified by three large terraces, gaps and different material types (white and smooth plaster, rough wood). A rough idea was experimented with and developed entirely in ARCHICAD with the support and guidance of Brenac et Gonzales, the coordinating agency of the macro-plot, who were also equipped with ARCHICAD – an “in the field” exchange of experience that confirmed ARCHICAD was the right choice, pushing Koz even further in its use.
“Collaborative design: it seems obvious today… but it’s still something like a phenomenon — everyone working on the same document without any worry.”
– Christophe Ouhayoun , architect
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