The college received the Autodesk BIM Experience Award in October 2009 for their education efforts and research, said Nancy Clark Brown, senior manager of Autodesk education programs for the Americas.
“There is one award for each region given to the school or university that has acquired expertise of using the software’s technology,” she said.
Cal Poly was honored for the Americas region, she said. The Asia-Pacific region award was given to South China University of Technology and for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, RWTH Aachen University located in Germany was recognized.
There are approximately 30 schools in the United States that use BIM, she said.
BIM is a tool, but a powerful one, changing the industry every day, CAED Dean Thomas Jones said.
“In a digital world, we use BIM for a better sense of reality,” he said. “It doesn’t just draw a building, it provides intelligence making the building look incredibly realistic.”
BIM software allows for someone to analyze environmental performance of a building, do mock construction work, and calculate costs, he said.
“Using BIM, someone can tell how much energy a building will use over 20 years,” he said. “Before BIM, we had no tool that could do this. It’s like we got jumped into the future.”
Cal Poly students could create a project without the constraint of the tool, Brown said. The students had control over the software.
“The fact that the students have been exposed to these tools and use them with a high level of performance demonstrates the quality of education they are getting,” she said.
One thing Cal Poly’s CAED did differently was to get students from different disciplines to work together, she said. Normally, this isn’t done successfully.
“The 10-week quarter is very short,” she said. “By maximizing the collaborative opportunities with the CAED majors, the students were able to create a lot of meaningful information in a short amount of time.”
For winning the award, Cal Poly received a framed certificate, but more importantly recognition, Brown said. The award is very telling to future employers.
Autodesk has international customers who are always asking what schools are integrating the technology into their curriculum, she said.
“Cal Poly is at front and center with regards to demonstrating how qualified the students are at collaborating, they want people who can work in teams and groups,” she said.
CAED faculty are working with Autodesk software people trying out the new software with students, Jones said.
“We can expect to get insights and partner with Autodesk to try new ideas in the classroom,” he said. “Cal Poly students just love to think and are experimenters by nature.”