Lighting Design and Revit: Part 2

By Justin Brown

Continued from Lighting Design and Revit: Part 1.

Earlier versions of Revit were not really optimized for use in a linked, work-sharing environment; even so, architects, engineers and other consultants in the design trades quickly recognized its value. Strategies for linking each other’s models together efficiently and effectively had to be worked out very early on in a project to keep the design process unimpeded. Later improvements in the software indicated that the developers were aware of the demand for better work-sharing tools and implementation. Now in version 2012, Revit has many new features and functions that greatly improve the ability to host elements to linked geometry.

This makes hosting light fixture families to the geometry of an architect’s model vastly easier, however, it also points out areas that still need attention, namely the fixture families themselves that manufacturers are making available. Previously, before work-sharing was prevalent, many lighting fixture manufacturers only offered ceiling- or wall-hosted families that would not work within a linked model. As it becomes understood that outside consultants now have the ability to host fixtures to linked models, manufacturers are beginning to offer face-based fixture families as well.

Despite all these recent improvements, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do and uncharted territory for lighting designers to navigate. Fixture families from outside sources almost always require modification, shared parameters need to be established with the electrical engineer, a usable fixture schedule needs to be generated, and in-house standards are needed that can be easily adapted for various projects – these are just a few examples. Each project team is still going to have a unique dynamic, with each team member offering different skills, so some flexibility is necessary to truly optimize workflow.

After recently completing what can be called our first Revit project, I realized that we provided all the same information to our client as with previous non-Revit jobs, but in a format that required a lot more upfront consideration and a more thorough understanding of the building’s geometry. Stepping back, I can see that our design is cohesive and well-considered; there’s a connectivity throughout that I think is due in part to the nature of the software.

Now to work on customization and templates to get Revit to better match our project management style!


Image credit: Jenny Cestnik


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