Based in the Netherlands, PLAN34 is a 2D/3D design visualization agency for urban development, landscape, and infrastructure projects. The studio specializes in the visualization of 3D models to strengthen the process in all phases of design.
Real-time architectural visualization tool Twinmotion has become a vital part of PLAN34’s armory, enabling the studio to turn around projects at short notice—sometimes in a matter of days. "That’s when you’re happy you work with Twinmotion and can deliver on time!” says Ronald van Bommel, founder of the company.
Interactive visualization for design review
PLAN34 creates 3D visualizations and animations of unbuilt developments for projects both large and small. The studio’s visualizations enable stakeholders to better understand designs by creating a realistic digital 3D representation of the project that can be experienced in VR or via a screen.
Van Bommel has been working with Twinmotion for around four years, and taught himself how to use the software in less than a month. “Through self-study, I was able to apply Twinmotion in my projects within a few weeks,” he says.
Often, PLAN34 is brought in early on during the design review phase of projects. Its visualizations are leveraged at stakeholder meetings to help designers and clients go from first sketch to final design in 3D.
The ability to create a standalone viewer comes in particularly useful during these participation evenings, enabling Van Bommel to take stakeholders through the project in real time and show designs from different viewpoints.
Image courtesy of PLAN34
Previously, PLAN34 would use BIMmotion in Twinmotion 2019 to share an interactive executable file with clients so they could explore the project on their own.
With the release of Twinmotion 2020, BIMmotion has been replaced by the new Twinmotion Presenter. This also enables you to share individual projects in a standalone viewer, but in executable files that are significantly smaller than previous BIMmotion equivalents.
New supporting features in Twinmotion 2020 such as the Note tool also now make it much easier to provide feedback for design review. The Note tool enables you to add comments or capture non-visual data such as brand names or pricing, and then export them to BCF format (IFC standard) in a zip file which can be loaded into Revit, ARCHICAD, or many other BIM packages.
PLAN34 presents stills, video, or VR depending on which phase of design the project is in and whether the presentation is for internal use or for a larger audience. “Stills are often sufficient in the preliminary design phase,” says Van Bommel. “For something like a presentation to residents of a planned project, an animated video is often chosen.”
Scheveningen Boulevard reimagined in immersive 3D
In 2016, The Hague embarked on the redevelopment and revitalization of the boulevard area in Scheveningen, the city’s seaside district. This large-scale undertaking comprises several smaller projects, and has seen the municipal council invest €25 million, alongside financial contributions from various private investors.
PLAN34 was asked to visualize the design of the proposed redevelopment in 3D for four of the sub-project locations; Noordboulevard, Middenboulevard, Zwolsestraat, and the area surrounding the Kurhaus.
The visualizations were used to assess proposed designs and for presentations to the mayor, aldermen, project developers, residents, and local business owners.
As the redevelopment progressed, PLAN34 merged its visualizations of the four sub-projects to provide a complete picture of the area. This amalgamated Twinmotion model has been used to provide a more holistic sense of the proposed design to stakeholders. In addition, PLAN34 has delivered 3D animations along with high-resolution renders for project booklets, newspapers, building boards, municipal websites, and social media.
Image courtesy of PLAN34
Twinmotion’s day and night settings came in particularly useful for testing the placement of public lighting on the proposed plans, as did the ability to merge multiple files from different software packages using the import function.
For the urban planners, having PLAN34 onboard helped avoid potentially costly mistakes. "During the design process, a few imperfections in the design became visible in Twinmotion,” recalls Van Bommel. “These could be adjusted in time to prevent disputes and objections from stakeholders, which undoubtedly saved time and money.”
Spotting costly design errors with archviz
On a smaller project in Tjalleberd, a village in the province of Friesland, PLAN34 was called in to visualize the plans for the redevelopment of public space and a new school designed by Twinmotion user Penta Architects. “Residents were given the opportunity at the information evenings to get acquainted with the plans individually and thus assess the new situation,” says André Gout, a PLAN34 client and urban planner for the municipality of Heerenveen-Tjalleberd. “Everyone was able to view the project from different positions.”
Van Bommel has a tried-and-tested process for working on small-scale projects like these. “The client sends me 2D drawings, high-resolution aerial photographs, a reference list of materials to be used in the design—such as paving materials and street furniture—and the planting plan describing which trees and plants will be used,” he says. “Based on this information, I make a 3D model in SketchUp.”
This SketchUp model provides the basis for the presentation Van Bommel creates for the client. The renders and video taken from the presentation are used for media publications or on the project website, as well as on information evenings.
On the information evenings for the Tjalleberd project, PLAN34 used Twinmotion Presenter to take stakeholders through the proposed plans. “The client and those involved were very enthusiastic about the realistic images,” says Van Bommel. “With this way of presenting, there are significantly fewer questions and even fewer objections to the new plan afterwards.”
Image courtesy of PLAN34
What’s more, Van Bommel reports that moving from Twinmotion 2019 to Twinmotion 2020 has come with a cost-saving benefit. “What definitely saved me time and money is the improved video and Presenter feature,” he says.
Saving time on archviz projects
While the ability to create a standalone project viewer is Van Bommel’s number one Twinmotion feature, he also highlights many others that make his life easier. “The materials, object replacer, weather simulation, and paths for traffic are some of my favorites,” he says.
Van Bommel is often asked, “What will my design look like in reality?” To answer this accurately, he needs a method of working that enables him to quickly make adjustments and variations to designs. “Twinmotion helps me with this because I can quickly and easily exchange, adapt, and combine multiple designs and 3D models,” he explains.
When they get to see their designs in full real-time immersion, reactions from clients are telling. “My clients are very enthusiastic about this way of presenting,” says Van Bommel. “Especially about the clarity and recognizability of future situations in public space. They are equally enthusiastic about the user-friendliness of navigating through the plan.”
The frequently asked question, "If I'm standing here and I look that way, what do I see?" can be answered quickly and effectively. “My clients find communication with stakeholders clearer, simpler—and sometimes objections have even disappeared,” says Van Bommel. “After experiencing this type of presentation, there’s often a follow-up assignment for new projects.”
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