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for Urban Design

Lee Miller - HOK
Han Hsi Ho - HOK
David Light - HOK
AB208-3 Autodesk


for Urban Design will present a methodology using the Revit

Architecture platform that can enable project teams to quickly become efficient in a coordinated spatial
environment that has computable information. The class will demonstrate a developed and documented
process that can streamline workflows in Urban Design that are generally disparate and disconnected.
Although this class is created specifically for urban designers and master planners, its value is in the
provision of three-dimensional design information and may be suitable for other disciplines. The goal is to
convey some basic knowledge about the working methods and techniques required to generate rich
modeling content that is accurate, reusable, and graphically appealing. Included throughout the class,
there will be valuable insight from the methodology and process developed by CAD leaders and urban
designers at HOK which has proven to be successful and has demonstrated sustained value over time.

About the Speakers:
Lee Miller is currently a Firmwide BIM Manager for HOK. He has worked in the AEC industry for 14 years
and is considered an expert in the development and implementation of BIM platforms. He has worked
with a wide variety of projects, including commercial, health care, interiors, aviation, justice and urban
design. He travels to all of the HOK offices worldwide to provide implementation strategies and project
management solutions. Lee majored in Sculpture at the State University of New York at Albany for his
undergraduate degree and Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for graduate school.
Han Hsi Ho, an Associate in The HOK Planning Group, is an urban designer with architectural
background. She has designed mixed-use communities, corporate campuses, and new cities, with
project scales ranging from less than 10 to over 4,500 hectares in China, India, Russia, and the United
States. As an urban designer/planner, Han Hsi works closely with city officials, real estate clients,
sustainability consultants, and BIM experts to deliver the design. Han Hsi has a Bachelor of Architecture
degree from The Cooper Union and Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard GSD.
David Light is currently employed as the Revit Specialist for HOK London, focusing on Revit and BIM as
well as driving forward the HOK global Building Smart principles. In a previous life working for a Premier
Solutions Provider in the UK, David developed a reputation as one of the leading European experts in
Revit and is a popular speaker and blogger on all things Revit and BIM. David is also part of a team of
experts defining a UK standard for BIM protocols.
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Why use Revit?
Revit has allowed us to shift our focus from a traditional two dimensional design approach to
one that is an object-based parametric design process. It has also helped us to streamline work
flows in our planning group that are typically disparate and unconnected. This has resulted in
the generation of rich modeling content that is accurate, reusable and graphically appealing.
Other benefits include:
Eliminating redundant handling and recreation of project data
Reducing design and drafting time
Improving workflow
Exploring more design alternatives
Improving clarity of design intent
In order to take full advantage of the modelling environment, an effort was made to package
our ideas and offer them in a few templates.
Templates define a predictable starting point for all projects and may contain graphic
standards, settings and content. This helps reduce repetitive or redundant activity and sets the
project in a correct direction from the start with little effort in the beginning of the project.
The templates are generally designed for specific project tasks and have predefined settings
and views appropriate for most of our typical urban design projects. However, there are a few
items that a template cannot save, namely worksets.
Defining the Template
Many considerations need to be made prior to setting up the templates. Out of the box, Revit
Architecture is not really set up to generate large scale urban design models, or to deal with the
individual qualities of these projects. However, the settings are modifiable and with a little
effort a template can be produced to satisfy these needs. The first step is to determine what
needs to be adjusted.
The following items have been customized prior to starting an urban design model:
1. Settings
a. Line Weights
b. Line Styles
c. Object Styles
d. Materials
e. Parameters Shared and Project
f. Scales
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


a. Floor Plans
b. Elevations
c. Sections
d. Reference
e. Naming Protocols
3. Families
a. Mass Prototypes in-place based on building typologies
b. Annotations
i. Tags
ii. Arrows
iii. Symbols
c. Modified Walls as roads
4. Areas
a. Color Schemes
b. Area Types
c. Objects
5. Schedules with pre-set parameters and formulas
a. Area Land uses
b. Mass
c. Views
6. Levels for typical building types
7. Importing and Exporting Protocols
Views created in the project by the template include plan views, elevations, 3D views, drafting
views legends and schedules. View naming protocols are used to visually isolate views that
may be printed.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Area Plans
Also many types of Area plans, color schemes and area tags are pre-loaded in the templates.
These include Car Parking, Districts, Land Uses, and Open Spaces.

Five different level types, created in the template, display in the elevations. Level lines are finite
horizontal planes that are used to define the levels (stories) of the urban design model and to
calculate the GFA of all of the building masses.
The five level types represent typical conditions. They are offered as a starting point for the
development of the project and will most likely require modification to accommodate the
particular needs of the project.
Mixed Use A
Mixed Use B

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


As the model is designed and documented, content and reports, such as schedules and
legends, is readily accessible from the Project Browser.

Reference Views
A Site - Reference view was set up to describe some of the elements that have already been
loaded into the template. These include:
Prototypical masses
Annotations for mass objects
Drafting elements
They are intended to define most typical conditions and are expected to be deleted if not
Drafting Elements
These drafting elements are used in the production of analytical drawings.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Annotations for Mass Objects
This example displays the annotations used to tag the mass. Notice that the tags are able to
read different information about the same mass.

Prototypical Masses
These are prototypical masses set up to define typical building type conditions. They can be
copied and modified to fit the plan or used as reference to create new masses.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Since road tools do not exist in Revit, we have modified the wall tools to allow our designers to
rapidly place roads from a referenced link. Roads are created from a combination of modified
wall tools, floors and/or mass objects. For walkway curbs, slab edge profiles can be used.

This is a good tool to use to rough-in the road layout, but requires a bit of finesse and time to
create a graphically appealing look.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Creating the Urban Design Model
The Urban Design Model, or UDM, is started by using either a predefined template or
predefined project and modifying some of the settings to accommodate the individual qualities
of the project.
The following list describes the activity required to generate an urban design model.
Importing 2D CAD drawings / raster images
Creating site boundaries, road networks, and lots
Assigning names, land uses, FAR or GFA, and phases to lots
Setting general assumptions and standards (population, parking, unit size, etc.)
Generating information from lots (GFA or FAR, parking spaces, community facilities,

Creating building envelopes and/or building masses
Assigning land use , names, etc. to masses
Assigning floor-to-floor height to different masses based on use
Generating area schedules from masses and area plans
Creating design options
Accommodating design modifications
Presentation and Report
Generating urban design diagrams
o Land uses
o Plot subdivision
o Building footprint
o Building height diagram
o FAR diagram/GFA
o Open spaced
o Road hierarchy
o Analysis diagrams
o Sections and elevations
o Phasing
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Manipulating worksets
Use of readymade components/families
Controlling graphic quality (graphic override)
Exporting to 2d/3d software
Sheets setting/arrangement
Creating Building Masses
Prototype building masses, available in the template are used at the beginning of the project to
generate the masses, since they already have parameters and materials assigned to them.
The mass families are created similarly to other Revit families. They are created as mass
families within a project (in-place mass families) or outside of a project (loaded mass families).
In-place mass families are used for mass forms that need to be manipulated within a project.
Loaded mass families are used when the project is very large and when you need to place
multiple instances of the family in a project. However, you cannot manipulate the loaded
masses directly in the project.

Assign Parameters to Masses
It is not always possible to have prototypes created in advance for every condition. In this case,
parameters will need to be assigned to masses manually. The following information can be
considered a checklist for this type of activity.
Mass Family Types
Building Function - Shared Parameter - Materials and Finishes - Instance
Building Height - Shared Parameter - Dimensions - Instance
Building Levels - Shared Parameter - Identity Data - Instance
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Mass Element Properties
Extrusion End =Building Height
Material =Building Function
Subcategory =[Name of Building Function]
A schedule is a tabular display of information, extracted from the properties of elements in a
project. A schedule can list every instance of the type of element you are scheduling, or it can
collapse multiple instances onto a single row, based on the schedule's grouping criteria.
You can create a schedule at any point in the design process. As you make changes to the
project that affects the schedule, it automatically updates to reflect those changes. Also, you
can export a schedule to another software program, such as excel.
List of Urban Design Schedules
Several schedules are available in the template. Below is a list of the schedules and their
Building Footprint list of a) ground floor areas; or b) area under the horizontal
projection of the roof (in the case of setback and storm water calculations).
Building Summary list of plot/lot number, land use, FAR, building efficiency, gross
area, and net area for by building.
District Summary list of plot/lot number, land use, FAR, building efficiency, gross
area, and net area for by district.
Land Uses list of land area, FAR, and total buildable area sorted per designated
land use.
Open Spaces list of area and types of spaces that are do (typically with 0 FAR).
Open spaces can include but are not limited to: large municipal parks, small
neighborhood parks, greenways, urban open spaces, landscape areas, etc.
Parking Demand minimum requirement of number of parking spaces needed
based on gross building area and parking factor.
Parking Supply number of parking spaces provided. Parking supply may be
calculated based on a) parking gross floor area divided by parking factor (average
area per parking space and circulation, i.e. 350 m
); or b) number of parking spaces
actually drawn within site area.
Plot Summary a list of plot/lot number, land use, FAR, building efficiency, gross
area, and net area for each plot.
Property Ownership Gross land area sorted by land ownership.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


HOK Project Examples S-M-L-XL
At HOK, Revit has been utilized on urban design projects at a variety of scales. The following
showcase of recent projects not only exhibits the range in scale, typology and program type, but
also highlights the variety of design criteria and degree of attention to different model elements.

Small Projects: Less than 10 Hectares
Detailed terrain and existing conditions
Detailed massing
Potentially more involvement with architecture/structural
May involve Ecotect, solar studies, etc.

Medium Projects: 10-100 Hectares
More attention to code (height / setback)
Detailed area and massing calculation (gross-net / unit types)
May involve Ecotect, sun studies, etc.

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design



Large Projects: 100-1000 Hectares
Begins to address planning-scale issues
Mixed of simple and detailed massing elements
The size of model and number of elements may necessitate multiple linked models

Extra-Large Projects: Over 1000 Hectares
Significant elevation differences across design areas
Widest array of building types
May involve GIS or other BIM tools
This portion of the presentation will conclude with best practices when working in each scale

Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


HOK Project Examples: London Office
In the HOK London office we use many of the techniques outlined in this class to develop our
urban design and master planning schemes. The following is a review of two specific schemes;
one in the UK and the other in the Middle East, where a number of HOK offices around the
world contributed to the overall urban design scheme.
Based on these real world projects, we also use various other Revit tips and tricks to help the
team to meet their project goals. Often, these tips and tricks have other additional downstream
benefits to the team which were not even consider at the initial conception of the idea. For HOK,
this highlights how Revit can add further value to the design development process.
Residential Development, UK

Residential Masterplan development on a 40 hectares site
Typology of housing varies between townhouses, terraced houses, duplex units and
apartments; all buildings are between 3-7 floors high
A small mixed use retail core in the centre

Large scale Master plan, Middle East

Residential and mixed use Masterplan
530 hectares
7 districts
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Includes CBD, University campus, canal district, marina district, super tall tower
Typology of buildings varies strongly between villas, low apartment buildings (ca 6
floors) and high rise apartment buildings (10-20 floors) as well as office towers (up to
40 floors)
This was a large scale urban master plan where the London office collaborated with our Toronto
office Hong Kong offices in the development of the project. The project was broken down in
specific districts. These districts became the natural breaks for the three models that each office
worked on. The central files for each office where named in a similar manner and each office
agreed on how models would be exchanged, as well as using the HOK Firmwide collaboration
folder structure to mimic each other's location. We utilized software which replicated these files
on a daily basis, so each office always had the most up to date information.
Twisting Revit in a non-standard way
The London office has also developed a number of techniques utilizing some of Revit's tools in
a non-standard way to solve specific problems. Whilst as a tool, Revit is a piece of software
geared towards BIM (building information modeling); if you think outside of the box you can take
some of the tools and twist them to do other things to meet the needs of the designer. Whilst
some may consider this is breaking the purist approach to BIM, however even some of these
hacks or twists can allow you to extract information in a way which is not possible using a
traditional 2D CAD approach.

Some the additional techniques we use:-
Use the curtain wall tool to create inline rows of trees or other items; these items can be
scheduled if required
Use the railing tool to create in line items
Autodesk Revit for Urban Design


Understanding the massing differences between 2009 and 2010. Use massing families
created in 2009 in 2010
Using render techniques in Revit to create more dynamic renders