9/11 A Decade Later: 3D Imaging Aids WTC ConstructionMay 26, 2011
They look a lot like they’re from a video game, but images created with a special kind of software are being used to design new World Trade Center buildings.
The software renders the environment that’s under construction and places the model of a person within it for navigation.
At 7 World Trade Center, contractors working for Silverstein Properties are using this software to advance construction on three skyscrapers in total.”So you can actually go worm’s eye or sky-high views and look down or look up,” says Serge Demerjian, project manager. “And it’s just completely virtual. You can work yourself all the way around the model.”The 3D model allows contractors installing plumbing, electrical, fire safety and other systems to see exactly how their various parts fit or don’t fit together. They can then design solutions virtually.It’s a far cry from the days when architects and engineers had to make fixes on paper.”So if somebody’s gotta move a pipe, then they erase it, and draw it manually again, and hopefully it’ll work,” says Demerjian. “Now this, they just ask the computer to move a couple things to the right, couple of things to the left. And then they can see it on the screen, and it’s there and it’s ready.”Silverstein’s architects and contractors are using 3D imaging on all three buildings they’re constructing on the site, including 4 World Trade Center, which has already reached 23 stories, as well as buildings two and three, where construction work is still below street level.”Contractors like Scott Wood say the software streamlines the work and makes it a little more fun. You can even choose your avatar, with or without hardhat.”I do get accused a lot of playing Xbox with what we do,” says C. Scott Wood of Tishman Construction. “And I can’t deny that there’s some level of enjoyment in what we do with this. And I think maybe that’s part of the attraction to a lot of people, is that it gets you more involved. You know, it gets you into what the building will be.”When all the buildings will be finished in the real world remains to be seen. 4 World Trade Center is scheduled for completion in 2013. The timing of the other two towers depends on financing and the ability to find tenants.