DIRTT Agile Architectural Solutions

Last week, Doing it Right This Time (DIRTT) came into our office for a lunch and learn covering their line of modular wall systems, and I have to say that I was very impressed. The whole idea behind the company seems to be taking a fresh look at traditional office environment and using design and technology to improve it. There were three things that really impressed me about the company and their products:

  1. The modular wall systems have a great aesthetic that is nearly endlessly customizable due to an on-demand production system
  2. The company has a great philosophy regarding sustainability from reducing waste during construction, using environmentally preferable materials, and most importantly, tackling the problem of frequent office churn and renovations through a re-configurable, modular systems that can greatly reduce waste.
  3. The company has created a design tool suite called “ICE,” that lets designers design modular panels, layout spaces and create price lists for their DIRTT designs. The tool is very much like many of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) platforms out there like Revit and Bentley (although strictly limited to use with DIRTT products), in that you design using data rich components. Once you have created the system you want using ICE, the company uses the database outputs from ICE, which contain all of the information about the panels you have designed/selected to actually manufacture the products as needed. There is also a sister product that is called “ICEberg” that will provide even more data on the design you created in Ice, such as cost comparisons between hard wall construction and the DIRTT system you designed. The program is so data rich that you can actually input your project location so that it will use actual local labor rates to make the comparison as accurate as possible. The software will even analyze the carbon emissions and construction waste your design may reduce if you input the expected churn rate for the project and can also analyze things like the carbon produced in shipping the DIRTT panels to your job site.

Overall, I was impressed with the innovation that was used in the design of the DIRTT product line and the design/production tools the company has created to support their product line and guide their production process. It is immensely refreshing to see such a great integration of design, efficiency, and sustainability!

Photos courtesy of DIRTT

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