Panorama City


Architectural Design Office Pluss from Estonia is designing Panorama City - a fashion and fashion and entertainment center. They are also coordinating the work of all the MEP & HVAC consultants and overseeing the permitting process. Tekla BIMsight with its shared project folder is at the heart of the project's design coordination process.

Panorama City – Excellent design with collaborative BIM

About the project

Since the start of 2012, Architectural Design Office Plusshas been designing Panorama City – the largest fashion and family entertainment center in Estonia to be opened in spring 2015. With a total area of 93 350m2 (1 004 810 sq.ft) the mixed-use development will include 200 shops, many restaurants, sporting facilities, an entertainment center and a cinema complex. With growing environmental awareness in the building sector, it has become increasingly important to minimize the ecological impact of large scale developments. As a result, the Client (Panorama City OÜ) decided at the start of design to implement certain guidelines set by BREEAM. When completed, Panorama City will be the largest BREEAM certified project in Estonia.

In addition to the architectural design, PLUSS is responsible for coordinating the work of all the design consultants (heating, ventilation, cooling and plumbing design from the company Projektbüroo Teinos, electrical design from Melior Projekt and Teleprojekt and structural design from Neoprojekt).

During the permitting process it became evident, that due to the scale of the shopping center it was going to be very challenging to meet the standard set of requirements outlined in the local fire safety norms. Therefore the Client contacted a fire protection engineering office Markku Kauriala in Finland and commissioned a comprehensive evacuation and fire safety simulation.

Managing errors with BIM

From the start of preliminary design, the project team has been utilizing multiple BIM modeling tools, including Autodesk Revit, Tekla Structures, CADS Planner and MagiCAD to name a few. The aim of Architectural Design Office Pluss has not only been the identification of conflicts before they reach the construction site, but also to pioneer the use of BIM models in the longest project phase – maintenance. Therefore they set out to model as much of the building systems as the current technology allows.

Tekla BIMsight has a central role in the design and construction coordination part of the project. The Project Manager, Tanel Friedenthal from PLUSS explains: "We decided to use Tekla BIMsight as the central platform to manage the design process for three reasons: 1) fast navigation when working with large models; 2) cloud-based project folder support; 3) very short learning curve, which is especially important for non-professional project parties. At the moment, near the end of the design development phase we have imported close to 800MB of subcontractor IFCs and 3D DWGs to create the centralized building information model in Tekla BIMsight."

Due to the large amount of data present in a 3D BIM model, PLUSS had to invest in liquid-cooled 12-core PCs to maintain the architectural Revit models. In comparison, thanks to the multi-core capability of Tekla BIMsight the Client and the general contractor are able to view the centralized Tekla BIMsight model on their office laptops.

Everyone has access to the models

The project folder function of Tekla BIMsight has been utilized effectively. Everyone in the project team, including the Client, the construction contractor Merko Ehitus Eesti AS and most of the designers have access to the centralized model. Although they have a traditional online file exchange service to keep track of all the drawings, it is no match to the shared cloud based project folder feature in Tekla BIMsight. The use of Dropbox to exchange large scale IFC files in real-time is a quantum leap forward in project collaboration. After adding a new model or updating an existing one, Tekla BIMsight notifies you of the changes and enables with a single mouse click to update the project model. After weekly clash-detection meetings, the most recent notes are also uploaded to Dropbox for everyone to use.

Performance is not an issue

Tekla BIMsight team was interested in the performance experience with such a large project - 800MB and large amount of models. Tanel Friedenthal wasn't concerned with performance:

"Depending whether I am in the office or on the move I use either my desktop PC (i7 2.9GHz CPU with 8 virtual cores, 8Gb RAM, 64bit Win7) or a laptop (Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz with 2 virtual cores, 8Gb RAM, 64bit Win7) to maintain the central Tekla BIMsight model. For my 2009 laptop it takes approximately 3 minutes to open up and load 44 referenced models close to 800Mb in total. At the same time the desktop workstation performs the same startup procedure in 1min 50s. It is very important to try and keep file sizes as compact as possible (2Gb free Dropbox account) and that is why we use IFC optimizer to rearrange the file structure before uploading to Dropbox. This procedure can in certain cases reduce the file size by a factor of 2, while still maintaining all the relevant information. I would always recommend compacting the IFC files, because the import time to Tekla BIMsight remains the same compared to the original file, but you save valuable cloud storage space. The size of the central file itself is currently 220Mb, which is wonderful considering that the raw reference models take up close to 4 times as much space."

What the future holds

Architectural Design Office Pluss has been using Tekla BIMsight for 1,5 years. "During that time we have seen numerous updates and customer requested features being added to the software. We hope that the Tekla team will continue to develop this software and make it even more powerful," says Tanel Friedenthal.

"From our experience the most requested feature by the clients is the possibility to create printouts, currently we have to rely on the Snipping Tool in Windows 7. From the general contractor's point of view, it would be great if it were possible to export quantities as an Excel or CSV file. And finally from the Project Manager's viewpoint, we would appreciate an elevation tool to measure the height of objects from the sea level. When working in orthogonal view I find myself often trying to line up the view perpendicular to an object – a view cube would come in handy," Friedenthal requests.

Tekla BIMsight 2nd Anniversary contest: Winning project

This success story was entered to the Tekla BIMsight 2nd Anniversary contest for Tekla BIMsight users. Panorama City is one of the two winning projects because of the extent of Tekla BIMsight usage and the extent of the entry.

We decided to use Tekla BIMsight as the central platform to manage the design process for three reasons: 

  • fast navigation when working with large models
  • cloud-based project folder support
  • very short learning curve, which is especially important for non-professional project parties.
Panorama City
Tanel Friedenthal
Project Manager
Architectural design office Pluss