The Advanced Technology Studio dream team
In order to perform the R&D and project development tasks necessary, the Advanced Technology Studio relies on employees with a diverse set of abilities and educational backgrounds. The studio employs more traditional members of the glass business: people from project management, architecture and engineering backgrounds. However, the team also leans on individuals from other disciplines to fill out its staff. For example, the team includes a mechanical engineer—"when you're dealing with thermal concerns, you need a mechanical engineer," Patterson says—and an industrial designer, "a different breed of designer, who is rooted in materials and process. They bring a design contribution that is distinctly different from what the architect does," he says.
The studio has its "visualization guys," pulled from an art institution. "This is an area in which architects or designers are not schooled," Patterson says. "Now that we have a visualization specialist, an animator, we are able to provide our own visualizations and other building information modeling that has made a big contribution to the work of the studio."
The studio relies on its software engineer to act as its expert in Revit. "In a very short period of time, we went from not being a user of Revit to using it on every single project. We even use it as an estimating tool, and have integrated it into our standard process," Patterson says. "But you can't just buy Revit and expect that level of integration. That's why we have our software engineer. He's the one responsible for developing that level of integration." The team also has a computer engineer, who is automating the studio's work process.