Module 2 - Design Project Brief:
Field Research Station

Module 2 - Design Project Brief: Field Research Station


In this assignment, you’ll create a building model of a simple, wood-frame structure using Autodesk Revit.

Your task is to design and model a small field research station that could be built to provide a workspace for the student researchers at a local biological reserve.  Your clients would like it to be a shining example of sustainable design principles and feature passive solar design features.

Design Program

Your proposed design for the research station should provide the following:

  • Total size of the building should be about 500 SF.
  • Workspace for the researchers – say 3 or 4 desks and chairs. Try to provide about 40 to 50 SF of space for each desk -- the desk and the space around it.
  • An 8’ long lab bench for instruments and a small sink.
  • A small meeting area for whiteboard discussions – a small table and 3 or four chairs would work.
  • A small storage room for supplies and equipment – about 80 to 100 SF.
  • An ADA-compliant bathroom with a sink and a toilet – about 6’-6”’ x 7’-6’ with a 5’ diameter clear space for a wheelchair to turn around. Please check the web for design guidelines or use the following image as an example:
  • Lots of operable south-facing windows to capture light and heat during the day. There will be no active heating and cooling – just heat from the sun and cooling thru natural ventilation.
  • Surfaces for mounting photovoltaic panels.

Construction Planning / Methods

A simple, wood frame structure that can be built entirely by hand would be appropriate for this environmentally sensitive sight.  Given the tight budget for the project, it will probably be built by the students; so, keep the structure pretty simple.

  • The floor can be a simple concrete slab – that’s easy to build. Let’s use a 6” thick slab – that’s a little thicker than absolutely necessary for the loads, but the extra thickness will add some thermal mass to help capture heat and maintain an even temperature.
  • The walls should be 2x6 light frame wooden construction. Wooden studs are readily available and easy to work with. Using 2x6 (actually 1.5” x 5.5” vs. 2x4 studs will give us room to provide R-19 (a higher grade) vs. R-13 or insulation.
  • The roof should use 2x8 or 2x10 wooden rafters depending on the span. If the span is less than 16’, 2x8’s should be OK. If longer, use 2x10’s. The structural soundness of your choices will ultimately be checked by one of our engineers. These are really just starting assumptions to facilitate your early design.
  • For ADA compliance, all of your doors should be at least 32” wide, and no hallways should be less than 36” wide.

Important:  These notes about how the structure will be built are provided to help you have a better understanding of the building elements that you’ll be modeling.  You won’t be modeling all these elements in detail  -- for example, you don’t need to place individual wall studs or roof rafters.  But you will be making choices about the wall, floor, and roof construction as your choose the Types for each of these elements using the Type Selector.

Getting Started

Use this Revit project file (.RVT) as the starting point for your work:

This project contains some standard wall, door, window, floor, and roof types to help you get started.  You can use these pre-loaded types or customize them as desired --  feel free to define or load additional types and elements into your model as needed.

What’s Expected

  1. Illustrate your proposed design using a building model that the basic elements of the building envelope:
    1. walls
    2. doors and windows
    3. floor
    4. roof
  2. Add furniture and fixture objects to your building model to help create context and illustrate the scale of the rooms and the building. It’d be nice to add elements representing:
    1. plumbing fixtures
    2. furniture (check the Revit library and online sites to see what’s readily-available)
  3. Add annotations to your floor plan view to help explain your design:
    1. dimensions
    2. text
    3. door and window tags
  4. Place views of your building model on the provided sheets to “tell the story” of your proposed design:
    1. floor plan
    2. roof plan
    3. exterior elevations (all sides)
    4. one or two building sections
    5. optional: a 3D default or camera view

Some tips for placing views:

  • You’ll probably need to crop your views to fit them neatly on the sheets.
  • Leave the scale of the plan, elevation, and section views set to ¼”=1’-0. Although the views may seem small relative to the size of the sheet, this is a standard scale that is typically used for plotting and submitting design documents -- so, easily recognized and understood.
  • Add additional D-size (36” x 24”) sheets as needed to place all the views that you’d like to share.

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) and create a new post sharing your project on this linked Notion page:

Points to Ponder / Wrap-Up Questions

Please also share your comments on 3 of the Points to Ponder questions listed below in a new posting on this linked Notion page:

🤔Module 2 - Points to Ponder