News from AU
July 14, 2021

Olga Kerkhanidi Discusses BIM for Heritage Buildings, Coding, History, and More

This interview is part of a series featuring the members of our diverse AU community, from speakers and conference attendees to authors, forum participants, and online commenters. You are AU.

Olga Kerkhanidi

1. What’s your current job role?
I’m an architectural technician at DMA Architects in Montreal, Canada. I provide BIM coordination, create models in Revit, and develop Dynamo procedures for quality control and data processing for our projects. I also participate in developing workflows.

2. What are your main areas of expertise and interest?
BIM for heritage buildings is what I’m really interested in.

It’s a challenge to find the best approach and to adapt modern technology solutions to the reality of centuries-old structures. I would love to develop more workflows specifically for heritage buildings.

3. What made you want to do this job—when and how did you fall in love with the possibilities?
I have an engineering background, but when the opportunity came, I went back to school for architectural technology. For me, architecture is a perfect pairing of technology and art. There are formulas and standards and strict rules but also a pure concept—the idea that gets form. And I really enjoy being part of transforming those concepts and ideas into an organized form of objects and families, and sometimes just zeros and ones.

4. Who in your industry has inspired you or had the most influence on you and your work?
The work of Paul Aubin and Andrew Milburn. Their classes and books and blogs inspire me a lot. Paul Aubin’s Renaissance Revit: Creating Classical Architecture with Modern Software is one of my all-time favorites. I look up to them. Their passion to make a difference in the AEC world, to teach and share their knowledge, is amazing.

5. Describe a favorite project you’ve worked on using Autodesk software.
A difficult question, since it is possible to find something interesting in every project, but amid the ongoing projects, it is the windows replacement and masonry project in the main pavilion of University of Montreal, the Roger Gaudry building. The building itself and the project are complicated, and we had to develop quite a few procedures that allowed us to have an accurate model with all necessary data in it. I wrote about our process in Improving Efficiency: Dynamo for Existing Buildings.

6. What recent trend or technology has most influenced your work?
I think the trend is using coding more, from generative design to picking up all possible data from the model. Now it is more about the data behind the model than the actual plans, details, etc. There are still drawings, but for large-scale projects, the effectiveness can only be provided by using automation and interoperability tools like Dynamo, Grasshopper, and Rhino.

Model
Revit model and graphic representation of data behind it in Dynamo.

7. What’s your all-time favorite AU class and why?
Apart from Paul Aubin’s classes, I would say any class from Marcello Sgambelluri. If I have to make a choice, it would be Marcello’s 8 Years' Worth of Dynamo and Revit Classes from One Speaker in 60 Minutes. The examples he presents are like a fitness for the brain—a number of exercises with sometimes nontrivial solutions—and within just 60 minutes.

8. Where do you see your industry in 10 years?
We might be using augmented reality and virtual reality in the AEC industry more. For now, it is still in an early stage, sometimes quite basic, but the potential and advantages (considering the global pandemic situation, too) are incredible.

9. If you could contribute one thing to making a better world, what would it be?
To promote deeper learning of history, teaching it maybe. I believe history repeats itself, and that we can find patterns in the past that can help us avoid errors in our present and improve our future.

Check out Olga’s profile (and follow her) to learn more about her work and contributions to the AU community.