Powerful architectural design package used to solve 'Gaudí mystery' and help bring unfinished Barcelona landmark a giant step closer to completion
Designers working on the Sagrada Família Cathedral, started in 1882 by Antoni Gaudí, are using IBM and Dassault Systèmes product lifecycle management solutions to rapidly advance completion of the cathedral.
Since the celebrated Catalan architect's death in 1926, work on the highly-complex stone structure - considered one of the most mystical constructions in the world - has been under the auspices of the Sagrada Família Foundation. For more than a century, work has been on going to complete Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece interpreting the large-scale architectural models he prepared during the architect's final years.
The Sagrada Família Cathedral
IBM business partner, gedas iberia s.a., an IT consulting and solutions company, and the Sagrada Família Foundation are now using the virtual product design application, Catia V5, an IBM PLM solution developed by Dassault Systèmes, to aid in the construction of the unfinished church. The Foundation commissioned gedas iberia s.a. to incorporate new approaches to CAD into the construction process. With Catia V5, the company has overcome obstacles such as the challenge of 'linking' the software to the tools used to prepare granite from a local quarry.
"The granite used throughout the church poses a real challenge," says Juan José Blasco, operation manager, gedas iberia s.a. "Because of this, we needed an intuitive software that would enable machining tools to react to the hardness of the material. Using Catia V5, we were able to create a reliable rendering of a drawing, which offered us unlimited three-dimensional movement for the tools."
Pillar designed with Catia V5
The new technology represents an important, evolutionary step for Gaudí's design because, prior to the introduction of advanced design software to the project in 1989, work had been undertaken painstakingly by hand. The recent introduction of Catia V5 enables virtual models to be converted directly into actual stone prototypes, eliminating the need for additional steps and thus achieving greater efficiency and precision. This specific application of Catia V5, which has been customised by gedas for the project, is the first of its kind to be implemented and has raised the bar for new techniques and standards that can be deployed on other architectural and construction projects.
Pillar designed with Catia V5
"We still have a lot of challenges ahead, and we have not found answers for all of Gaudí's proposals - such as the cross that will top the cathedral," says Jordi Bonet i Armengol, chief architect and project manager, Sagrada Família Temple. "It will probably take another 20 years before we reach this phase, but by that time, I am convinced that even more advanced technology from IBM, Dassault Systèmes and gedas will be there to assist us and help us move much faster."
"PLM is synonymous with product innovation. We are honoured that the designers chartered with the completion of the Sagrada Família have chosen our PLM solutions to accelerate the construction of this unique and incredibly innovative example of Spain's cultural heritage," explained Raoul Van Engelshoven, vice president EMEA, IBM Product Lifecycle Management.
"Architecture is a fusion of science and emotion," says Denis Senpéré, vice president of PLM, Europe, Dassault Systèmes. "The use of Catia V5 in this massive project demonstrates the flexible and extensive architectural design capabilities of PLM Solutions from Dassault Systèmes. We are honoured that our solutions are being used to complete this unique example of Gaudí's genius."
The leadership position of IBM and Dassault Systèmes in the architectural industry is extensive. The software is also used by one of the world's most innovative and celebrated architects, Frank Gehry. He is best known for his unique brand of modernist works, which feature curvaceous forms of metal structures made from bent and twisted steel. Like Gaudí, Frank Gehry has left his mark on Spain with his famed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Another application of Catia V5 can be seen across Malaysia, where dome maker Dian Kreatif has used the software to create high-tech composite domes for religious and public buildings. In this case, the software has reduced construction time of the domes from six months to six weeks and has helped increase sales for the company by 40%.