Module 6 - Design Project Brief: Workspace of the Future


In this assignment you’ll design a new multi-story building of a much larger scale – a commercial office building in the Bay Area. The focus of this assignment is on:

  • learning to explore and develop a design using a top-down approach
  • using that conceptual model to quickly place the essential features of the building shell

The focus of this assignment is to quickly generate and explore design ideas keeping in mind the program requirements. Masses are a great tool to exercise this, and this assignment will give you the chance to experiment  with how to design with them.

Getting Started

There’s no specific starting point file for this assignment. You can use Revit’s default Architectural Template.

Design Approach

For larger scale buildings, we often begin the design process by exploring very high-level design decisions (including the overall shape and orientation of the proposed building) by looking at options for how the program requirements for creating a needed amount of space can be addressed within the constraints and taking advantage of the unique opportunities available on the project site.

You can think of this approach as top-down or outside-in.  Either way, the point is to make informed choices about the big, impactful design decisions early on – saving decisions about the smaller design details for a later iteration/design phase.


Your client – the fast-rising social media company TwitBook – has asked you to propose a design for a new commercial office building or a campus of smaller buildings to meet the needs of their employees and of their expanding business.  To enhance the creativity of their young workforce, they’re looking for a very dynamic, fluid series of workspaces that will encourage informal meetings, spontaneous collaboration, and employee well-being.

TwitBook has asked you  to create a space that’s a bit different and more daring than the somewhat classical design of most office buildings. This project should be a landmark building that clearly reflects their forward-thinking vision and the cutting-edge work that their employees are doing.

Design Program

Your task is to come up with a proposed design for this new office building or campus.

Your design should include approximately 100,000 SF of useable floor area.  Although you won’t be designing the interior spaces in detail for this assignment, you can imagine that they would include:

  • Workspaces -- a mix of walled offices, cubicles, and open workspaces.
  • Lots of meetings rooms and informal collaboration / project spaces
  • A welcoming lobby space for clients and guests with many conference rooms nearby for meetings and seminars
  • Cafe spaces where employees can get some food or coffee right in the building.
  • Informal kitchenette / lounge spaces strategically placed near work areas
  • Other amenities to support employee wellness
    • Gym / workout areas
    • Locker room space for bikers and runners
    • A day care center
  • Open exterior spaces -- for example, terraces and patios -- to take advantage of the favorable natural environment and boost employee productivity

In addition to these programmed spaces, you’ll also need to provide space for the building infrastructure and utilities to support the building users.  These spaces typically add about 20-25% to the total building area (bringing your total floor area up to 120,000-125,000 SF).  As you design the overall building forms, also model these key building infrastructure features:

  • Stairs (2 or more for emergency egress) and an elevator -- create the shaft walls
  • Restroom walls on each floor level -- there will likely be several restrooms on each level to handle employee needs
  • Utility/mechanical room space for mechanical and electrical equipment

What’s Expected

  1. Set up your modeling environment for creating a conceptual mass model of the building form or forms.
    1. Create a new project using Architectural template
    2. Set up the modeling environment
      1. Set the Project Location to Mountain View, CA
      2. Use the Levels tool to create 10 floor levels with a 15’ floor-to-floor height. You may not use all of these levels in your design, but this will give you elbow room to experiment
      3. Use Visibility/Graphics overrides to turn on the visibility of Mass elements in your design views
      4. Create some mass forms representing the overall shape of your proposed building.
  2. Create some mass elements to model the form of your building or buildings.
    1. Experiment with using the pre-defined mass families in the Revit Library. You can flex the parameters and use these shapes as a starting point, then join (to add) or cut (to subtract) from them as needed.
    2. Also, try creating some in-place mass families to create the form of your building(s).
      1. Start by creating simple forms that can be extruded from the ground plane.
      2. Reshape those forms by dragging faces, edges, or points to customize it.
    3. Be creative as you explore your design ideas -- for example, can the shape of the buildings be influenced by the company logo? Or could it look like a giant spaceship? Or some other form that will make it a distinctive landmark?
    4. Be sure to check out these examples of some noteworthy building forms in the news for inspiration:
      1. Salesforce Tower
      2. Apple Campus
      3. Twisting Torso
      4. CMG Headquarters
      5. One World Trade Center
  3. Divide your masses into mass floors to model and tabulate the floor area created in your proposed design.
    1. Select the masses, then use the Mass Floors tool to divide the masses at each level in your project.
    2. Create a Mass Floor Schedule to report and sum the square footage of the floors in your current building forms.
    3. Reshape the forms as needed to create the desired floor area. You can tile your 3D view and schedule view side-by-side to watch how the total floor area update dynamically as you reshape the forms.
  4. Convert the faces and mass floors of your conceptual building model into building elements using the Model by Face tools.
    1. Start by converting the mass floors to floor elements.
  5. Convert the mass floor at the ground level to a floor type that is appropriate for being placed on grade -- for example, you might duplicate a generic type and create an 8” Concrete Slab floor type.
  6. Convert the upper level mass floors to a floor type that is typical for floors above grade -- for example, LW Concrete on Metal Deck.
  7. Convert the top surfaces of your conceptual masses to roof elements.
    1. Open the Roof by Face tool.
    2. Choose a Roof type for the roof elements to be created.
    3. Select the surfaces to be converted to roofs.
  8. Convert the vertical surfaces of your conceptual masses to wall elements.
    1. You can convert vertical and sloping surfaces into basic wall types or curtain wall types using the Wall by Face tool.
    2. Surfaces that have a compound curvature cannot be modeled using the basic wall types. For these surfaces, use the Curtain System by Face tool.
  9. Place additional elements within this building shell to indicate the locations of the key infrastructure features.
    1. Model the building stairways using:
      1. A multi-story stair to span all the required levels.
      2. A shaft element to cut openings in all the floors.
      3. Walls around the stair shafts.
    2. Model the walls around the restroom and utility/mechanical room spaces at each floor level.
    3. Use the Shaft tool (or edit the floor boundaries) to model any atriums or openings between the floor levels.
  10. Create views to showcase and share your conceptual design model.
  11. Create a few exterior camera views at the ground level to show the appearance of the buildings from a street view perspective.
  12. Create a few 3D views to share aerial/birds-eye view perspectives.
  13. Create a building section view to show any special interior relationship between the floor levels -- for example, at an atrium or floor opening.
  14. Place these views on sheets.

Sharing Your Project

Please follow the instructions in the Canvas assignment to upload your building model to your folder on Autodesk Construction Cloud (BIM 360) Documents and create a new post sharing your project on this linked Notion page.

✏️Module 6 - Design Project Submissions: Workspace of the Future

Points to Ponder / Wrap-Up Questions

Please choose 2 of the following Points to Ponder questions and share your comments on this linked Notion page.

🤔Module 6 - Points to Ponder