Reflecting on the Pool House

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018


Having recently been awarded BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification by the BRE, there is no better time to look back at the first project where we realised the value of building a fully integrated digital model from which we could directly draw construction information.  This was ‘pre-BIM’, when David, in the early days of having set up the practice, was acting as a consultant to a number of firms, using his expertise in the design and construction of complex 3D buildings to help them realise complex 3D projects. David worked with Ushida Findlay in this capacity and this led to DMA completing the concept design for a curved, thatched pool house that links two Grade II listed farm buildings.

The building is an apparently freeform curve with an undulating thatched roof. A major task was the form finding and defining that form for construction, which was a hybrid of traditional techniques – thatch, stone and lime mortar brickwork – and high tech materials – steel frame, stainless steel pool and structural glazing. The glazing consisted of 98 unique double glazed panels, the majority of which were curved. The internal lining to the ceiling is a double curved, seamless, fibrous plaster shell. It became clear that the only way to make sure that the complex geometry of the Pool House worked in a coordinated way was to model it in 3D, then flattening views to extract construction information.

Some of the work flows from the Pool House are still with us today in projects like Orchard Village where we have resolved geometric and coordination problems, then communicated directly with specialist subcontractors using the digital model.

Click here to see an animated model of the Pool House.