References

Examples of Allplan Engineering and impressive projects around the world.

Develop the best possible solutions thanks to model-oriented 3D planning

Biomass receiving and treatment plant “Ara Region Bern AG”

“Ara Region Bern AG” is one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. With the construction of a new receiving and treatment plant for biomass on the site of the former sludge drying plant, “Ara Region Bern AG” will be able to increase the future production of biogas by around 25 percent.

The challenge:

“On the one hand, we had to align the new building with the structures present on the existing foundation walls, but on the other hand, we had to coordinate the operational requirements with the entire receiving area as well as the process technology for treating the biomass,” says project manager Hans Peter Bütikofer from “ingenta ag ingenieure + planer” as he describes the challenges.

The solution:

"We use Allplan Engineering to develop 3D models and exchange data in BIM projects. We also use the openBIM solution Allplan Bimplus, says Andreas Liesen, referring to the current uses. For the new building of the biomass receiving and treatment plant, ingenta submitted


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Dry Dock in Duqm Port, Oman

The construction boom on the Arabian Peninsula has reached another country: Oman. The Sultanate, from which Sinbad the Sailor once set off on his famous journeys, wants to revive its seafaring tradition and is developing several coastal areas into new port zones. One of these is Duqm Port, in the south of the country. Close to international shipping lines but also far from the notorious Strait of Hormuz, this desert-like region is to be developed into a new port with an adjoining industrial zone. The core of the new development will be two gigantic, 1,350-foot dry docks capable of servicing supertankers with a load capacity of up to 350,000 metric tons.

The challenge:

The gigantic dimensions of the project alone make it a real challenge. The two mighty dry docks and an appropriately large pump station are just one part of the project. The 250-acre area will also have various dockyard and crane installations, deep water anchorages, storage areas, accommodation and office buildings, a quay wall nearly 2 miles long and an offshore breakwater. According to the Omani government, the entire installation needs to be ready in just three years—leaving the planning of this project (with no room for errors) to be completed in a very short period of time.

The solution:

The experts at Daewoo E & C agreed that this could only be achieved using the most up-to-date methods: using Building Information Modeling as an efficient design method – and with Allplan Engineering as the best tool for the job. The system for three-dimensional general arrangement design and reinforcement detailing enables an integrated approach with a virtual structure model. The 3D model serves as the basis for the general arrangement design and reinforcement detailing from which all the other designs and schedules are derived. This enables a very efficient working method, avoiding duplicate data entries and data redundancy.


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Pumping station in Katwijk, Netherlands

Built in 1954, the pumping station in Katwijk can currently transport 54 cubic meters of water per second, which corresponds to a volume of a room of around 13 by 16 feet. Even though the plant already offers impressive output, it no longer meets future requirements. In an expansion measure, the output of the pumping station will be increased to 94 m3/s and thus almost doubled – on the one hand by upgrading the three existing pumps from diesel to electric motors, but primarily through the construction of an additional, fourth pump unit.

The challenge:

The building, the details of which were designed by Tauw based on the basic draft by architects Aletta van Aalst & Partners, has a whole series of unusual building elements. For example, in addition to the trapezoidal exterior walls of the new pump housing, there is a cylinder-shaped trough, in which the rotors of the pump move, a pump gear and round flow openings out of which the water flows. The building also has elliptical platforms on which the cleaning cranes the for the dirt collection grate will later be mounted. These are all complex forms that are difficult to cope with in 2D.

The solution:

Integrated 3D planning on a virtual building model as propagated by the BIM principle was exactly the right solution for a project of this complexity. In a first step, a complete 3D model of the new building and adjacent parts of the existing pumping station was created. The basis for this was two-dimensional plan data from the architects, which was imported to Allplan in DWG format, and scanned plans of the existing pumping station. Using this basic data, the planners generated primarily 3D solid bodies – since there were practically no standard building elements such as walls, ceilings, windows or stairs. In order to further increase the understanding of such a complex structure, visualizations were frequently calculated. As a result, problem areas could be identified more easily and corrected immediately on the screen.


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Hydroelectric Power Plant in Marsyangdi, Nepal

Alternative, environmentally-sound energy systems are gaining momentum in almost all countries in the world. This has led to a need to exploit and develop renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics, solar heat, wind and hydro power. The construction of the Middle Marsyangdi Power Plant in the Lamjung District of Nepal (around 105 miles west of Kathmandu) has made it possible to utilize the country's central hydro power resources. Klaus Klafke, Project Manager at DYWIDAG International GmbH, relied upon Allplan Engineering for the planning phase of this major project.

The challenge:

The Middle Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Power Plant consists of a number of structures, some above ground and some below the surface. In order to make this possible, the planning and construction phases had to run smoothly in addition to being coordinated precisely with each other. Planning the construction of a dam in this geologically recent mountain region entails considerable difficulties. Intense monsoon rainfall also complicated the construction project; it was only possible to undertake their construction during the dry season, leading to significant delays.

The solution:

“Without Allplan, we would not have been able to handle the specific characteristics of this project as well as we did,” comments Project Manager Klaus Klafke. In the Middle Marsyangdi project, the use of Allplan Engineering significantly optimized the creation of the reinforced concrete plans. “We can only complete complex construction projects on schedule and on budget by using a professional, reliable software package. The Nepalese planners on site were also highly impressed by the sophisticated reinforcement program and the intuitive user interface,” concludes Klafke.


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Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland

The Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen is being expanded in two different planning and construction phases. The first phase, "Haus 10," will serve as the staff offices for the main reconstruction of the hospital and is located in the former parking area of the Böschenmühle, which was partially demolished. The entire project has a total construction cost of nearly 600 million dollars. The six-story building, with a ground plan area of 184 by 56 feet, is connected to the hospital courtyard by an aerial walkway, bridging both the distances as well as the level difference between Haus 10 and the hospital courtyard.

The challenge:

 “We did not have a contractual requirement from the client to plan this project with BIM,” says Andreas Haffter, project manager and BIM manager of WaltGalmarini AG, “but due to the size and complexity of the project, this was obvious to us; also because quality assurance was important to us and we wanted to document the model comparisons.” Christian Mathies, the design engineer at WaltGalmarini AG, remarked, "With this project, we did not just want to do it internally, but also wanted to go out there and collaborate. We asked ourselves how we can easily bring models together so we can view them and review them. We wanted to know what the engineers have and what the architects, company technicians and designers need, and what we need to adjust. Every single project participant should be able to store data centrally, even while on the go, and also access this data in the same way. We were therefore looking for a web-based coordination tool." 

The solution:

WaltGalmarini AG gained its first experience using Allplan Bimplus as their openBIM solution with the Haus 10. “We executed the tasks, made cuts, wrote comments and the tree structure within the individual models and building structure was helpful for us. We were thus able to go through the building floor by floor and coordinate in detail," says Andreas Haffter. 


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Tamina Bridge in Switzerland

In 2007, an official competition was advertised for the Tamina Bridge project, which was won by the engineering office Leaonhardt, Andrä und Partner (LAP). With an arched span of 869 feet, a superstructure length of 1,368 feet and a height of 722 feet above the valley floor, the Tamina Bridge is the largest arched bridge in Switzerland.

The challenge:

Numerous stresses had to be tested, including stresses from wind and earthquakes during construction and operation, and the failure of a tension cable. Due to the plan having circular arcs at the ends of the structure, it was necessary to design a variable cross-slope of the roadway, which leads to torsion of the pavement structure in some areas of the bridge.

The solution:

As a result of their experience with many bridge construction projects, Allplan Engineering was also used as planning software from the start. Th extensive 3D functionality in particular greatly contributed to the success of the holistic planning of this very complex structure. In this way, many potential problems can still be solved in the planning phase, especially in critical areas such as intersections with very high reinforcement ratios or in anchoring areas of the pre-tensioned cables.


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Eppenberg Tunnel and road extension between Olten and Aarau, Switzerland

By the end of 2021, the four-track extension of the Olten-Aarau route is expected to relieve one of the most severe bottlenecks on the east-west axis of the Swiss rail network. The project, consisting of ten subprojects and costing approximately 865 million dollars, is a key project for more efficient passenger transport and provides sufficient capacity for freight transport in the long term. The Eppenberg Tunnel, which is just under two miles long, is being excavated from east to west with a tunnel boring machine to create the access routes and portals necessary for this expansion.

The challenge:

“The geology is very problematic, and the spatially very complex shape of the excavation pit is a major challenge for us,” explains Rainer Hohermuth, a civil engineer who works at ACS-Partner AG in Zurich. The topmost twenty feet of the excavation pit are made up of slope debris, located above rock with very deep fissures. The comprehensive excavation support with anchors ensures that these “vertical rock formations” cannot slip. This also explains the small-scale anchor arrangement with a standard distance of 5 feet in both directions. The spatial shape of the excavation pit was the second major challenge, as its lines in the plan have very different radii but are practically never straight.

The solution:

Rainer Hohermuth explains the principle as follows: “When it comes to complicated and extraordinary geometric shapes, we are much more efficient in 3D than 2D. We also have the great advantage of visual, special checks in 3D.” The project managers turned to an Allplan tool, which included the function of parametric anchors, as the draftsman could use it to assign all the desired data and descriptions to every anchor and could also use it to spatially position the anchors. In the second step, the tool applied this information to generate the list of anchors, which could be transferred directly to construction without further editing.


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The Circle at Zurich Airport, Switzerland

A high-quality superstructure is emerging at the foot of the Butzenbüel hill and within walking distance of the terminal. This is the result of a three-stage public architecture competition, the “Divers(c)ity” project, with over 90 applicants from 12 countries. The winner, Riken Yamamoto, was a 70-year-old star architect from Yokohama. With a total investment cost of around 1 billion dollars, it will provide a usable area of approximately 1,937,504 square feet. The first and second stages are expected to be completed at the end of 2018 and in 2019, respectively.

The challenge:

This new service center is expected to be brought to life by two hotels, a convention center, a medical center by the University Hospital of Zurich, retail shops, restaurants, as well as art, cultural, entertainment and educational offerings. Four buildings, including the P5 and P40 parking garages, were demolished, and the main drainage pipe from the town of Kloten, which ran through the new development site, had to be moved. “The major challenge is building these structures during normal operation, which is only possible in stages and by performing individual activities overnight,” explains Oliver Müller from dsp Ingenieure & Planer. 

The solution:

The smooth import of 3D data for the existing structures and the planned building complex meant that there was an ideal starting point to integrate the new access structures into these layouts. Although both this data and the digital terrain model were partially developed using software from other providers, the data was exchanged without any problems. Development in the 3D model was particularly useful to ensure the central ramp bridge was ideally placed and, thanks to the systems’ visualization feature, various components could also be optimized in terms of their aesthetic design.


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Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland

The scheduled commissioning on December 11, 2016, marked the end of the project of the century – the Gotthard Base Tunnel – after nearly 20 years of building time. Its route length of 57 kilometers through the Saint-Gotthard Massif between Erstfeld and Bodio makes the Gotthard Base Tunnel the longest rail tunnel in the world. Up to 2,600 people were involved in the implementation of the construction project of the century during the main construction phase. “For many employees, the Gotthard Base Tunnel has been their life’s work,” says Raphael Wick, overall project manager of the engineering consortium GBT Nord and representative of Gähler und Partner.

The challenge:

To enable operation of the system with two single-track tunnels, each 35 miles in length, more than 93 miles of tunnels, adits, cross-passages, and shafts had to be excavated during construction. To save time and money, the construction work on the different sections was coordinated and sometimes carried out simultaneously. The entire base tunnel, including cross-passages and multifunction stations, is double-walled. After the excavation support, a seal and an insituconcrete tunnel lining were installed. In the Erstfeld and Amsteg sections, the contractor used three formwork units, each with two 32-foot long formwork carriages, for the cladding and tunnel lining. In an ultimate feat of logistics, up to 197 feet of cladding was concreted per day. That is to say, for every ten months of building time, over 13 miles of tunnel lining were laid per tube.

The solution:

Thanks to the geometric optimization of the tunnel lining and the support from Allplan Engineering, a total of 3,143,005 cubic feet of concrete (amounting to almost 20 million dollars), was saved in the Erstfeld and Amsteg sections. The engineers from Gähler und Partner used planning in 3D anywhere there were difficult sections or problem areas, to be able to best edit these components with the help of visualizations. Also, in the cooperative relationship within the engineering consortium and with other project partners, Gähler und Partner AG profited from the reliability of Allplan Engineering when exchanging data.


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Queensferry Crossing Bridge in Scotland

A special kind of infrastructural requirement can be found in central Scotland at the Firth of Forth estuary. Three bridges in the immediate vicinity of each other span an estuary here, which reaches about 50 feet inland. The Forth Bridge, a steel bridge from 1890, has served rail traffic, while the Forth Road Bridge is a suspension bridge built in 1964, and from the summer of 2017 is to be used exclusively for bus, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. The new Queensferry Crossing bridge now supplements these two bridges. It will be used for road traffic alone, with two lanes and an additional hard-shoulder in each direction. Towering over 656 feet in height, it is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe.

The challenge:

Transport Scotland’s consultants from the Jacobs Arup joint venture were not given an easy task in developing a concept for the new bridge. The bridge has to be an equal counterpart to the world cultural heritage of the “Forth Bridge.” The result was a cable-stayed bridge over a mile long with three pylons in the water. The middle pylon of the three pylons proved to be particularly challenging. In the case of traditional cable-stayed bridges, the center pylon is back-anchored via rigid side sections located at the edge. However, this approach was not possible with a three-pylon bridge, due to the very high bending moments.

The solution:

The reinforcement of the individual pylon segments had to be placed precisely in the space due to the upward-tapering cross-section. This method placed high demands on the CAD software used. That is why planners from LAP also relied on Allplan Engineering for the reinforcement and design planning. The Queensferry Crossing is the largest bridge for which 3D reinforcement planning was entirely created using Allplan Engineering. It was possible to meet deadlines and costs thanks to accurate and collision-free planning.


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Sava Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia

For years, expansion of the northern suburbs of the city of Belgrade has been hindered by the limited capacity of the three existing bridges over the Sava river. In order to expand the capacity of the transport network, a fourth bridge is currently being built. This will link the district of New Belgrade on the northern bank with the city center on the southern bank. With a total length of 3,163 feet, a structural height of 148 feet, and around 466,938 square feet of surface area, the new bridge will be the largest river crossing in the Balkan region.

The challenge:

The project is a complex one, and not only because of the dimensions involved. In order to ensure uninterrupted shipping movements during the construction period, the main section spanning the Sava must be erected in the river without temporary supports. In addition, construction will be going ahead on different sections simultaneously, under time pressure. The schedule calls for the new bridge to be handed over to the people of Belgrade after a construction period of just three years.

The solution:

LAP Consultants have benefitted from the reinforcement model integrated in Allplan Engineering. This solution, designed for interactive formwork and reinforcement planning, is particularly useful in building projects with complex geometries and reinforcement arrangements. Other important areas included the reinforcement planning of the very complicated intersection area between the superstructure and the pylon, and the planning of the anchoring of the 80 steel cables connecting the bridge decks of the main and retention areas to the pylon. Thanks to three-dimensional planning, the runs of the cables and their anchoring points could be precisely determined and visualized.


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Versamertobel Bridge in Switzerland

As an example of steel bridge-building at the turn of the century, the former Versamertobel bridge is of considerable historic value, but is no longer up to the demands of current times. The old bridge has now been bypassed and supplemented with a modern, high-capacity, post-tensioned concrete structure that spans between elegant combined abutments/inclined piers over the Versam Gorge.

The challenge:

The brief had to consider the dramatic surroundings, the slender lines of the adjacent existing steel bridge, the difficulties of construction and the requirements for durability. The impassable, steeply sloping landscape required the engineers to think clearly through the construction process. The inclined piers had to be tied back by tension rods during construction. The bridge was built from both ends without the use of intermediate temporary supports, and the bulk of the superstructure was built in three stages.

The solution:

All the drawings were prepared using the BIM solution Allplan, which confirmed its credentials as an easy-to-use, intuitive 3D design tool. The dimensions of the details—in particular, those of the inclined piers—were carefully checked against 3D simulations in Allplan and using physical models. Oliver Müller of dsp Ingenieure & Planer said, “Allplan was a great help to us in this challenging bridge project. It was particularly useful for the 3D depictions of the design of the foundations in steeply sloping ground, as well as for the complex geometrical details and for eliminating reinforcement collisions.”


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Campus Bridge at the University of Würzburg, Germany

The state of Bavaria commissioned a very special pedestrian and bicycle path bridge to be built between the old and new campus of the University of Würzburg to protect drivers from increased traffic (that would be caused by pedestrian crossing). The new university campus Hubland North is located on a former US military base: the Leighton area. After the US forces left this in 2009, the state of Bavaria purchased part of the land for the university and had parts of the former military facility converted for academic use. According to a framework plan developed for the conversion of the former military terrain, a “green belt” was meant to connect this new campus to the old campus, now Hubland South. The campus bridge, as an accessible connection between both campus areas, was to blend harmoniously into the green and urbanistic landscape as a gateway to the city.

The challenge:

The design consists of two narrow concrete strips converging into a small square above the street. Due to the two different bands, the bridge has a short staircase and a long ramp on each side. This results in a side view of a liquid, wave-like motion, reminiscent of a sinusoidal curve. In addition to the special aesthetics, the four different ends also serve a pragmatic purpose of opening up different paths to the campus grounds. Inward tilted steel bar railings equipped with LEDs contribute to the flowing dynamics of the bridge as well.

The solution:

Dr. Schütz Ingenieure used Allplan Engineering to model the iconic structure. With Allplan Engineering software, it was possible to optimally illustrate the complexity of the bridge in the 3D model. In the process, the 3D modeling reinforcement drawings allowed for clarity and accuracy, which also facilitated sufficient control for laying the iron before construction. Thanks to the existing terrain, a simple terrain model was created within a very short period of time, and work on the bridge was overall easy and straightforward, thanks to the showing and hiding of layers.


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Limmat Tower in Dietikon, Switzerland

The Limmat Valley in Switzerland has its first skyscraper, which could become the landmark of the town of Dietikon, or the whole region. With its unconventional geometry, the 262-foot-high Limmat Tower provided the engineers of Synaxis AG with a few challenges, which were efficiently overcome with Allplan Engineering.

The challenge:

The challenges mainly related to the folding of the façade and the building recesses in the 10th and 15th floors. Robert Sigrist, Chief Engineer at Synaxis AG in Zurich, lists the major challenges encountered during the Limmat Tower project: “Direct force transmission was impossible in various places due to the façade folding and the projections and recesses. The support forces also needed to be absorbed or diverted at the building recesses. And, in terms of fire protection, in high-rise buildings the fire must be prevented from spreading by the circumferential parapet.”

The solution:

When it came to planning the supporting structure, Allplan Engineering proved that it was the ideal solution to spatially present sophisticated details and to optimally plan the reinforcement in a way that suited the construction site—and it was all thanks to its 3D visualization, model-based shell, and reinforcement planning features. Thanks to Allplan Engineering and the model-based work method, the Swiss civil engineering firm Synaxis AG significantly reduced the number of error sources during the Limmat Tower project, and thus achieved a high level of planning quality in a complex project with unconventional building geometry.

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Software-Assisted Planning Assures High Quality Project Outcome

When compared internationally, engineering offices are expected to cope with high demands. This can only be achieved by maintaining permanent willingness to innovate and it demands continuous examination of the latest technical trends. MUCKINGENIEURE has an excellent track record when it comes to planning complex building structures using Allplan Engineering.

The challenge:

MUCKINGENIEURE relies on the complex use of Allplan software in the office, since economic and efficient building is only possible if the planning process is efficient from the start. The common aim is to produce a construction plan that is an economic success—3D-assisted planning helps the engineers achieve this aim.

The solution:

The solution was to develop organizational structures to expand the high planning quality that exists in an engineering office and maintains this for all projects. MUCKINGENIEURE works using a 3D BIM model and stored attributes to increase flexibility in the face of requested changes and as a reliable method of verifying their feasibility. The engineers normally draw up lists and attributes themselves, since Allplan Engineering offers the opportunity to program individual reports or save components and their properties. The advantage: the component parts used can be renewed at any time.

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The Aviatica office building in Prague, Czech Republic

Investment management group Penta Investments is planning to build a new city quarter with three office complexes and various residential complexes in the coming years. The first phase of this “Waltrovka Development,” totaling over 227 million dollars, was concluded in June 2015 with the completion of the “Aviatica” office building. Viewed from the eastern end, the ground plan is an oval, the entire area of which is used in the two lower floors as an underground car park. Above ground, the building encloses an oval green inner courtyard, which on the eastern side opens out onto a large public square in front of the building.

The challenge:

From the prestressing of the concrete beam and the vibration isolation through to the different pillar patterns between the underground and over ground stories, the project involved many technical construction tasks that the engineers would normally have tackled in separate teams with different software solutions. However, the building client expressly wanted the BIM working method to be applied so that the building data and building model could be subsequently used for facility management and adjustments in line with customer requirements.

The solution:

The company used solutions from Allplan and SCIA from Nemetschek. The shell or reinforcement plan was created with the help of Allplan Engineering, and modeling and calculations were carried out in SCIA Engineer. The OpenBIM format IFC was used for data exchange between the two programs. In this way, the different processes could be ideally linked with each other and project progress synchronized accordingly.

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Hydroelectric power station in Kempten, Germany

The new run-of-the-river power plant on the Iller river at Kempten impresses the viewer with its dynamic, elegant form. The nearly 328-foot-long sculptural shell conjures up numerous associations: from whales or waves, to polished boulders. The multiple award-winning structure was the result of a competition requesting a building design to harmonize with the protected group of buildings opposite, comprising the former Rosenau spinning and weaving works. The power plant replaces a building from the 1950’s, and currently supplies around 4,000 households with a capacity of around 14 gigawatt hours per year.

The challenge:

The architects wanted to create a highly differentiated, organic form that on one hand, blends in with its environment, but on the other, is perceived as an independent building thanks to its design. Ultimately, a concrete structure was chosen to enable the organic form enclosing the plant.

The solution:

The civil engineers first used hand drawings to determine the points at which the structure can be supported by the existing technical installations. In the next step, the engineers developed a rib structure for the concrete construction. It had to fit in with the overall image, but it was also necessary to be able to split it into six segments. Models of the concrete shell were then created with a high level of geometric detail in Allplan Engineering to serve as the basis for the reinforcement and shell design.

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The A2 Freeway between Stansstad and Beckenried, Switzerland

Between 2013 and 2017, a heavily-trafficked 7.5-mile section of the A2 freeway will be redeveloped in three construction stages, costing around 283 million dollars. Between 2013 and 2017, the individual section of road, which has been in use for 40 years, will be redeveloped in three construction stages at a cost of around 280 million dollars.

The challenge:

The repair work must be carried out within a short space of time, among traffic, and in very tight spaces on site. To meet these demands, the repair work on the Stansstad section to freeway exit Stans Süd, including the preferred measures, has been divided into six phases. It is only necessary to close freeway entrances and exits for a short time during resurfacing work. Patrick Zumbühl, a graduate engineer specializing in civil engineering, explains the structural engineering features of the A2 repair, “The existing surface of the northern and southern lanes will be replaced completely and strengthened by means of milling and resurfacing. The existing longitudinal slope is between a 0.25 and 0.7 percent gradient, and therefore places high demands on the accuracy of the installation of the new road surface.”

The solution:

The project placed high demands on the accuracy of the installation of the new road surface—with Allplan, it was possible to meet these demands very efficiently.

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Aare Bridge in Olten, Switzerland

Olten has a new landmark: the Aare Bridge, which was given over to traffic in April 2013 as part of the "Olten Region Relief" (Entlastung Region Olten, ERO) project. The new Aare Bridge design was the result of a winning competition entry; with a width of 341 feet, the Aare Bridge spans the river without supports.

The challenge:

The main challenge for reinforcement and pre-tensioning was at the highest point of the structure: The longitudinal beams (which act as a link to the cut-and-cover tunnel), the angled support (which stands on the abutment), and the concrete sail (which braces the bridge's longest support) come together here on both outer sides. These construction parts are not only reinforced for strength but are also pre-tensioned and come together in a knot, which becomes the element under the greatest stress in the whole structure.

The solution:

Thanks to the 3D visualization, the planning association commissioned to manage the project was able to show that the main intersections of the static system could meet all requirements relating to the installation of reinforcements and pre-tensioning measures, despite their minimal dimensions. For bridge construction engineer Rudolf Vogy, one thing is clear: “The reinforcement and pre-tensioning plans for this level of complexity in the structure could only be tested in the 3D model.”

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Three bridge project in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Just across the border from Germany in the Lower Rhine, Europe's largest flood protection project is under construction. It is called "Ruimte voor de Waal" – literally "more room for the Waal" – and is intended to create more space for the biggest river in the Netherlands, the Waal. For the town planners, its primarily about better flood protection: changing the course of the river by building a side arm to reduce future high-water peaks by about a foot. Extensive reworking of the city infrastructure is needed to make the project a reality.

The challenge:

The current Waal bridge will be extended by several hundred feet to span the 656-foot-wide arm of the river. Two new bridges will also be built; the Citadel bridge, which will connect the mainland to the western part of the island, and the Promenade Bridge, which will connect the mainland with the center of the island. For the engineers in charge at Witteveen + Bos, bridge building on this scale is an enormous challenge, especially as the timetable has been tight from the start. Planning such a major project without errors in such an incredibly short time is only possible – and the Dutch engineers were in full agreement – with hard work and the latest software and equipment.

The solution:

With Allplan Engineering software, the BIM system for 3D formwork and reinforcement planning enabled integrated working between the team of 10 designers and 10 engineers on the virtual support structure model. The project team was able to work simultaneously on a building model and accurately coordinate the various planning steps. “We have to create hundreds of plans for every structure in the shortest possible time,” explains Marcel Linderman, project manager at Witteveen + Bos. “We can only achieve this because we can work effectively with Allplan from the start. Thanks to integrated planning, we are able to deliver on time, and what’s more, without any errors.”

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The Elephant House at Zurich Zoo, Switzerland

The new Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at Zurich Zoo is a fine example of the international change taking place in zoo philosophy: More space for the animals, more proximity for visitors. The new home for a family of eight elephants extends over an area of more than 118,403 square feet. This is approximately six times the size of the old facility and provides the animals with more space to roam and move about.

The challenge:

The project was a daring experiment because a roof structure like this, with spans of over 85 meters, had never been built before. The roof, with its leaf-like appearance, is made up of many superimposed grid-like rays, resulting in the complete absence of timber columns or other supporting elements from the interior.

The solution:

Thanks to the proven expertise of the engineers and the use of the powerful software package Allplan Engineering; all the geometric challenges presented by the structure of the Elephant House were overcome with flying colors. The 3D preliminary design check also proved to be extremely practical for the Elephant House, as this allowed the Swiss engineers to identify component collisions and other errors immediately.

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Grubental Bridge in Germany

Situated just over 3 miles southwest of Goldisthal in the Thuringian Forest, this 705-foot-long structure spans the Grubental Valley at a maximum height of 115 feet, connecting the Goldberg Tunnel with the Dunkeltal Bridge. The Grubental Bridge owes its slim design to a semi-integral construction method, almost without bearings and joints between the superstructure and the substructure. It is the first of its kind in Germany.

The challenge:

The goal of the project was to plan and build a bridge in the valley which would obstruct as little of the landscape as possible. Additionally, it had to be built with stiffness, vibration behavior, and load-bearing geometry in mind so that the tracks could be guided over the joints without rail expansion joints. Keeping these important factors in mind while navigating the narrow valley bordered by steep slopes proved difficult, indeed.

The solution:

Allplan Engineering made it possible to record the terrain in a digital terrain model with precise measurement data. The 3D model also allowed for collision tests with the horizontal element foundations. As a result, the geometrically-challenging excavation planning and mass determination were easy to deduce and integrate into the design.


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Airbus Production Hall in Stade, Germany

In Stade, SHI Planungsgesellschaft mbH (SHI) the Oldenburg-based urban planning, structural and civil engineering company built a modern production hall for a single aircraft component – a 56-foot long, 13-foot wide fuselage shell. The Oldenburg-based designers are experts in their field; SHI has been working for aircraft manufacturer Airbus for ten years now. They used the CAD platform Allplan to design the hall. The various parts of the aircraft are being prefabricated in different locations across Europe to then be assembled in the delivery center in Toulouse, France.

The challenge:

The aircraft is developed in parallel to the production hall, and vice versa. The designers need to be able to design and react with the greatest flexibility. “A production facility for aircraft components is not just a hall with four walls and a roof. It has to be modular in structure in order to allow expansion at any times,” adds Mr. Wilken, one of the SHI architects responsible for this project. In addition to the sustainability requirements, the design company had to overcome a number of logistical hurdles during construction.

The solution:

For professional implementation of their designs, the SHI team relied throughout on object-oriented work in 3D. “From the outset, Allplan provides us with a transparent design system capable of supporting us through even the most complex tasks. It is not without good reason that we have been using this software for 15 years,” explains Mr. Wilken. The designers create a three-dimensional model right at the start of the design process. Based on the design data entered just once in the model, all relevant types of plans can be derived at the click of a button.


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The Centre Pompidou in Metz, France

Not only is the Pompidou Center in the Metz the centerpiece of an extensive redevelopment project in the capital of the Lorraine region, but it is the first decentralization project carried out by a French cultural institute. With its own exhibitions and events, the new art center will give a wide-ranging audience the chance to see things previously only available at the main Pompidou Center. The architects won the international architecture competition in 2003, with a floating design of concrete, steel and wood that was inspired by the straw hats of Japanese rice farmers.

The challenge:

The groundbreaking nature of the building made the structural design a particular challenge: Firstly, the three materials – metal, wood and concrete had to be combined and their static interdependently taken into account. And secondly, the architectural design was very complex due to the optically individual, yet statically overlapping interwoven elements.

The solution:

Two-dimensional planning was not sufficient for the challenges of this project with the complexity of the intersections and the connection points;3D tools were vital for the reinforcement planning. The interactive functionality of Allplan Engineering software allowed the CAD designers to work with floor plans, isometrics, views and sections to create the spatial model. Changes to the reinforcing body were then automatically transferred by the system to all plans and lists. In terms of cooperation, CHP also benefitted from the international nature of Allplan Engineering. CHP designers were able to create reinforcement plans compliant with French standards, while working with their German user interfaces.


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The Harrer Chocolate Factory in Sopron, Hungary

A building is more than just a structure. It is a complete work of art, created in harmony between visionary architecture and innovative engineering. One excellent example of a timelessly elegant building that deserves the description “work of art” is the Harrer chocolate factory located in Sopron, Hungary. The factory, which includes the office and shop, is essentially comprised of three rectangular building complexes, “floating” like chocolate boxes on and next to each other without central displacement.

The challenge:

There were many technical obstacles to overcome, particularly during shell planning. As the construction site previously contained the clay pit of a brickyard, the engineers were required to develop a sophisticated foundation. A 16 to 23-foot thick, non-tight filling layer meant a pile foundation was necessary for the project. To meet the building client’s requirements regarding a short construction period, the experts decided to use a fast production-enabled construction method using cavity wall elements, hollow-core planks and tensioned slab floors.

The solution:

The upper and lower slabs of the protrusion were made of cast-in-situ concrete. The upper slap spans 23 feet in one direction and 30 feet in the other. With the help of a high reinforcement content in the lower and upper position, the engineers were able to adhere to the prescribed deflections. Engineer Tibor Gábor Báthory comments, “With the Allplan Engineering software, even the complex shell details could be created with ease.” He adds, I think we have been able to build a classic here, a building which will bring pleasure to the Harrer family and visitors alike for decades to come.”


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The Helsinki Music Center in Helsinki, Finland

Finland, a country which has given the world many famous musicians and composers, is known as the land of music. However, the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1970‘s, exhibits some serious acoustic drawbacks. The Helsinki Music Centre, a new concert hall with sophisticated acoustics, has now opened in the Finnish capital. Upon its completion, the building has a large concert hall with 1,700 seats and fie smaller halls, each with up to 400 seats.

The challenge:

The shape of the building itself presents another difficulty. The architects at LPR Arkkitehdit designed the Helsinki Music Centre using the “box in a box” principle, where all five smaller halls and the central component of the large concert hall are “suspended” with the aid of vibration dampers as a separate space within the surrounding building. At the same time, the building shell is extremely complex. The extensive glass façade and the 40-meter span of the roof, which is extremely heavy due to the acoustic requirements and the suspended panels of glass.

The solution:

When the Helsinki-based Vahanen Engineering firm took on the contract for the Helsinki Music Centre, the client had only one condition: project realization should be achieved on the basis of building information modeling. This would ensure that the building met requirements regarding its design, its function, the costs and deadlines. The 3D design allowed the engineers to better understand the building and maintain an overview in order to recognize and eliminate design mistakes on-screen.


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Theater at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria

The Austrian Federal Real Estate Company (BIG or Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft in German) commissioned the construction of a building for music and musical theatre (or Mumuth for short) for the Graz University of Music and Performing Arts. Planning activities for the building began in 2005. The right-angled plan of the music theater consists of the foyer area at the front and the theater area at the rear. The latter contains an events hall with 5,705 square feet of floor space, multiple rehearsal rooms for orchestras and musical theater, dressing rooms, storerooms, repositories and study rooms.

The challenge:

One challenge during planning was posed by the “Twist,” a freely-defined spiral element, which is the central component of the supporting structure in the foyer. This steel and concrete composite structure begins on the ground floor and spirals upwards through the first and second floors before merging with the ceiling above the second floor.

The solution:

Because the entire geometry consists of free forms, also known as non-uniform rational B-splines (NURBS), it was not possible to only replicate the Twist in a 3D model, it also had to be imported into the spatial building model via a less direct route. “We got around this difficult situation by diverting the Terrain module from its intended purpose and using it to model the complex, 3D entity. We then integrated this 3D data with the digital building model later on,” sums up Helmut Scharzl, project manager at convex ZT.


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Consulting Center in Roermond, Netherlands

The inspiration for this building, designed by architecture firm Engelman Architecten in Roermond, was a work by American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The work of art evokes a snake whose outstretched neck and head reach high into the sky. The architects turned this idea into a two-story building at the end of which a seven-floor tower boldly extends diagonally. The slanting façade elements and the oblique roof areas, which have the same finish as the facades, are particularly striking.

The challenge:

A closer look at the building immediately reveals the challenges this original design posed for the engineers from van der Werf en Nass BC in Masstricht—nothing on the building is at right angles, which meant a very unusual load transfer was necessary. In addition to the fact that the sculptural form required an innovative approach for the correct calculation of the main load-bearing structure, another major challenge was ensuring the dimensional accuracy of the precast parts and assembly drawings.

The solution:

To solve these two problems effectively, the designers decided to work in a virtual 3D environment. The shape of the entire shell was then modeled with the help of 3D CAD software Allplan Engineering. Various drawings needed for production of the precast parts could then be derived from this 3D building model with ease. As a result, the designers were able to meet the high requirements relating to the dimensional accuracy while ensuring maximum clarity.


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The Orchidea Tower in Bucharest, Romania

In Bucharest, a red dot on a map is not a good sign. It indicates buildings that are particularly under threat from earthquakes. If a new building is constructed in Bucharest, planning must not only take account of the usual requirements relating to building form, functionality or costs, but also resistance to earthquakes and natural disasters.

The challenge:

Planning was made more problematic by the difficult structural conditions: on the one hand because of the poor quality of the ground close to the river, but above all because of the risk of earthquakes, which had to be taken into consideration in the calculations. These are particularly demanding tasks given the size of the building, with an effective area of 828,821 square feet over 3 levels below ground and 19 above.

The solution:

For engineers to retain an overview in a project the size of Orchidea Tower in Bucharest, with 19 stories above ground and 3 below, working with 3D models is practically a must. From the very beginning, this complex structure was modeled by Inginerie Structurala with Allplan in 3D, using special templates from Scia Engineer designed for steel and concrete construction. The engineers took account of the unfavorable ground conditions by designing the entire subterranean area of the building as a stiff box. Office owner Diana Sagaican explains, “Where conventional project processing only uses lines, circles and dots, 3D modeling of structures and reinforcement in Allplan provided us with a much better understanding of the building, and reveals design errors early on.”


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