4D CAD Research

Product Model 4D--Construction Pilot

Research Performed by Calvin Kam
Main Advisor: Martin Fischer
Sponsored by CIFE (US), TEKES (Fin.), Senate Properties (Fin.), Olof Granlund Oy (Fin.), and YIT (Fin.)
The Final Report is currently available for download. Please send us your comments.


Left: The main building in HUT was designed by Alvar Aalto. Middle: Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation of indoor temperature. Right: Lightscape visualization of auditorium.

The Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) is located in the city of Otaniemi in Espoo, Finland. The masterplan and the main buildings of the HUT campus were designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), widely regarded as one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century. In 1997, HUT decided to build a new multipurpose auditorium as an extension that would be linked to the existing Aalto main building at the northern end. Since the new auditorium, the largest on the HUT campus, will be capable of accommodating 600 people, the construction project is also known as "HUT-600".

4D model showing construction target on August 13, 2001 from the exterior view (Left) and on August 28, 2001from the auditorium interior (Right).

Product Model 4D, a concurrent development project that paralleled the construction of HUT-600, was initiated and fully supported by a coalition of the facility owner (Senate Properties) and the primary project stakeholders (A-Konsultit, Granlund Oy, and YIT). Through a committed collaborative effort, the development project extensively combined and tested state-of-the-art product modeling, visualization, and analyses systems. The project team experimented with 3D stereoscopic virtual reality, the 4th dimension, sustainability, life cycle cost and impact analyses, project databank, and Industry Foundation Class. Both the breadth of product model information-based data and the depth of research experimentation were exceptionally unique in such an active construction project. The PM4D Development Project was one of the pioneering projects that employed IFC as the primary standard for information exchange and, hence, was a pilot development project.

The project team integrates various product-model based tools to an active capital facility project commissioned by the Senate Properties. Such product-model based tools include the virtual reality visualization environment-CAVE-developed by HUT-EVE (Experimental Virtual Environment) and modeled by A-Konsultit; the cost and production modeling system-COVE-developed by YIT Corporation; the 4D CAD tool-4D VIZ-developed by CIFE and Walt Disney Imagineering; the HVAC design and analysis system-RIUSKA, the product model server-BS-Pro, and the computational fluid mechanics analysis software-CFD, developed by Olof Granlund. All product models and associated data are based on the IFC standard. Hence, the goals are to help the owner, design and construction team to improve their performance; and to show the practical benefits and limitations of the IFC and the integrated suite of product model-based tools.

Research Collaborators:

Owner: Senate Properties

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Design Consultants: Olof Granlund Oy

Construction Manager and General Contractor: YIT


Introductory Presentation at CIFE Summer Program, September 2001 (PPS 6,265K)

Progress Presentation at VERA Seminar, November 2001 (PPS 3,222K)


The National Technology Agency of Finland (TEKES)

"Information Networking in the Construction Process" Technology Program (VERA)

Helsinki University of Technology (HUT)

The Experimental Virtual Environment at HUT (EVE-HUT)

Project Website (In Finnish)

Web-camera at Construction Site

Kronodoc Project Databank

YIT Concept Press Release


Please direct inquiries to Calvin Kam . Thank you.

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This page last modified Friday, 15-Nov-2002 16:31:30 PST .