Redefining housing with Cano y Escario Arquitectura


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Source: Cano y Escario – Photo: Álvaro Viera

BIM transforms residential architecture

BIM transforms residential architecture

Construction not only evolves with time and the consequent changes in the architectural style in houses. The profile of the buyer, the work processes, and the technologies applied to development projects also hint at a new reality in architectural studies and a redefinition of architectural concepts. Thanks to the BIM method and Autodesk solutions, the Cano y Escario practice has been a key agent in this redefinition of residential architecture.

The path to BIM methodology

Cano y Escario Arquitectura was founded in 1988 by architects Benjamín Cano Domínguez and Diego Escario Travesedo. Their works convey a strong, friendly, integrating, and personal architectural language.

Since the end of 2013, Cano y Escario Arquitectura, being aware of the advantages that the BIM methodology can offer, have made an enormous investment both in technical and human resources. From this point forward, the growth in usage of this method has been unstoppable, with Revit becoming the tool of choice in over 70% of the studio.

The path to BIM methodology

They are collaborating now with ACG, the AYRE, CHAMBERLAIN, GAUNT ARCHITECTS Studio in London, where working with BIM is a must.

During the 30 years of Cano y Escario’s career, the world of architecture has undergone multiple changes and crises. COVID-19 and the so-called new normal have been a challenge that, fortunately, they were prepared for.

Despite all the difficulties inherent in adapting to remote and family circumstances in work teams, they have kept the pace of the studio at 100%. In this situation, the flexibility of BIM 360 Design has been helpful for the continuity of business and achieving their goals.

Exterior view of the Alea Homes Project
Source: Cano y Escario – Photo: Álvaro Viera

A substantial challenge: Collaboration and coordination between teams

As Diego Escario, Managing Partner of Cano y Escario, explains, Revit, Dynamo, and Navisworks are used as a base for the realization and coordination of the projects. Revit is already the usual working tool for most of the study, allowing them to develop increasingly consistent projects and discover potential deficiencies earlier. Dynamo has also helped change the way they create documentation, so that very tedious, time-taking processes are now done in a simple or automated way.

Navisworks’ interference detection function eases Cano y Escario’s reviews of the models received from the engineers. They have protocols for the internal control of their architectural models and the verification of their coordination with external models. Different coordination tools are added to this software set, which are used with BCF formats for incident reporting.

BIM model of the Alea Homes project. Source: Cano y Escario

“In the relationship between the architectural studio and the developer, BIM allows us to have a great consistency where graphic representation, surfaces, commercial documentation, and measurements extract information from a unique and coordinated source. From the beginning, our stake was set on BIM.”

Diego Escario, Managing Partner, Cano y Escario Arquitectura

Alea Homes, a new architectural benchmark

The 84 homes that make up the Alea Homes development by Grupo NEINOR in San Sebastián de los Reyes are arranged in two volumes where the envelope curvature is vividly displayed, providing the building a sculptural presence.

Both buildings are erected on a common foundation slab that provides continuity to the lower level of the development, accommodating the common services and integrating them into the natural shape terrain while respecting the original slope.

The building envelope is wrapped by a double facade. The inner skin delimits the interior of a wide and functional housing with double orientation. The outer skin is made up of prefabricated panels that surround the curved terraces, creating a transition space between the interior and the exterior, which provides energy efficiency, and shapes high environmental value areas.

The architectural ensemble of the Alea Homes project
Source: Cano y Escario – Photo: Álvaro Viera

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The flexibility allowed by using lightweight GRC panels on the facade has made it possible to materialize the curved surfaces that characterize the project by optimizing efficiency during the construction process.

Cano y Escario believe it is important to emphasize that these designs would not be possible without developers like NEINOR, who show a firm commitment to innovation in the design of their housing projects.

“Since the very beginning of the project, the information provided by the BIM model has proven decisive to solve the unique issues that have arisen during the design phase.”

Diego Escario, Managing Partner, Cano y Escario Arquitectura

BIM technology in the Alea Homes project

Using the BIM methodology, which allowed integral management of the construction project through virtual models, was essential for the development of Alea Homes. The handling of shapes with Revit has been instrumental in the geometric definition of the panels and the contours of each one of the levels, which show variations because of the plasticity of the project.

The shared use of the model with the rest of the stakeholders and trades has allowed precise coordination with the collaborators and effective communication in the worksite. In this case, the construction company CLASICA URBANA implemented the resources needed to make this coordination perfect.

As Diego Escario says, “Working in the cloud is enabling us to keep all agents informed of the current status of projects in almost real-time, facilitating the tasks of monitoring, review, audit, and assessment”.

BIM model of the Alea Homes project. Source: Cano y Escario

Sustainable architecture

Sustainability has become an implicit requirement in architectural projects, and Alea Homes is no exception. To meet the high standards of sustainability and comfort, they chose to naturally integrate Breeam's sustainability requirements in the project, which were embedded as design premises from the onset stage.

As a means to support decision-making, they prepared ecological and erosion control, low carbon technology feasibility, and flood risk reports, as well as a biodiversity management plan.

In the Alea Homes project, the double skin for sun control, wide terraces with clotheslines, and the choice of efficient materials and lighting systems were included to help meet the sustainability requirements. Revit was used to help shape the design of the building's exterior skin, providing a study of the effectiveness of its sun-shading function.

Within this same framework, they worked on correct management of energy and water, and parking for electric vehicles and bicycles was included to ease sustainable mobility.

Details of the terraces of the project Alea Homes
Source: Cano y Escario – Photo: Álvaro Viera