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PER/FORM: a live performance-based design competition with SketchUp and Sefaira

A few weeks ago, we blogged about how information modeling works in SketchUp. A data-rich .skp can pull off some complex feats, but we prefer to think about an information model as a simple relationship: graphical geometry with any kind of data associated.

With no data, the model is only a design (and maybe a very good one). Without the model, the data is, perhaps, only a math problem (and maybe a pretty smart one). Put them together, and you have the basis for one incredibly powerful output of information modeling: performance-based design.

Architects who practice performance-based design are often trying to measure, adhere to, or optimize building performance: the measurable index of a building’s energy efficiency or operational cost.

The folks at Sefaira are pretty keen on this idea. Their plugin -- Sefaira for SketchUp -- helps architects make decisions that optimize building performance while designing in SketchUp. So now imagine understanding how early-stage conceptual (or practical) choices might affect a building’s ability to retain or dissipate heat throughout the day. We think this is a powerful way to think about design, so together with Sefaira (and some other friends), we’re hosting a competition focused on performance-based design. We call it PER/FORM.

PER/FORM: a live performance-based design competition

You can learn all about the PER/FORM competition on this site, but here are the basics: After an April 2nd registration deadline*, the competition starts with a design brief and three weeks of access to Sefaira for SketchUp. You’ll also have support from the Sefaira team so that you can learn the ins and outs of performance-based building design.

We’ll select 30 winners from the online round, and -- here’s the kicker -- those finalists will have the opportunity to compete live in the final round at the Pratt Institute's Manhattan campus on May 17th. That’s right: this is going to be a real-deal, big city SketchUp shootout.

The top three designers will take home cash prizes, and the winner will see his or her design featured in Metropolis Magazine. What’s that? You don’t have much experience with energy or information modeling? Well, three weeks of free access to a SketchUp energy modeling plugin sounds like a good place to start, right?

*We’re sorry to say that this competition is only open to U.S. and Canada participants. Stay tuned for future contests that don’t have this restriction.

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