Frank Gehry, Tech Entrepreneur: The Starchitect's R&D Firm Debuts Cloud-Based Design Software GTeam
When Frank Gehry planted his shapely Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, he changed the field of architecture forever. The architect’s portfolio and his clout have grown considerably since then, but it appears that perhaps the most recognized name in the field is seeking to revolutionize architecture in a new way: Gehry Technologies (GT), a company founded in 2002 by Gehry Partners’s research and development team, has announced a free preview period for their latest off-the-shelf product GTeam. The new cloud-based software described by Gehry as “Google Docs for 3D models” automatically translates files from AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, Google SketchUp, and other professional modeling software into a common format, which can then be easily accessed and shared online.
“We were hearing from our customers that collaboration is difficult,” said GT director of research Andrew Witt in Cadalyst. “It’s hard for people to get data in the same place at the same time.” Presentations among designers and construction professionals are surprisingly archaic, often requiring time-consuming printouts on different colored paper to keep track of any modifications to the design. In response, Gehry Technologies turned to the cloud — GTeam creates a web-enabled shared space for architects, engineers, and construction specialists to upload and manage documents ranging from PDF files to computer-generated 3D models. Not only does GTeam enable multiple users to access project files from any Web browser, but it also offers different levels of security for folder sharing, clash detection for real-time editing, and an internal social media platform for easy correspondence, all contributing to a significantly streamlined design process.
“My team and I rely on a technology-driven approach that is deeply rooted in collaboration,” said Gehry in a press release. The architect experimented with the technology now made available by GTeam to realize some of his most iconic recent designs, including 8 Spruce Street in New York City. In the past six months, firms like Safdie Architects, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, UNStudio, and hundreds of other firms have been toying with the new software, made available in a private offering. “I am proud,” Gehry added, “to have contributed to the creation of technology that will facilitate better communication and collaboration in building.”