when gehry partners started work on the Fondation Louis Vuitton contemporary art museum in Paris, which will debut its cataclysmic facade in 2013, the 400-member team was scattered around the world. A simple way to share project documents was needed, yet no suitable solution existed. So Gehry Technologies, the firm’s software arm, spent 18 months developing a cloud-based platform that could be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device, by architects, contractors, engineers, even clients. Called GTeam, the software received rave reviews when tested out by such equally innovative firms as Coop Himmelb(l)au, Safdie Architects and UN Studio. With a bit more fine tuning since then, GTeam will be available for purchase this month.
The subscriber-based platform can best be described as Google Docs meets Facebook Fan Pages. Project teams can log in to gteam.com from desktop and mobile devices and access anything, from a single floor plan in Revit to an entire building section in CAD. The interface resembles popular social media platforms, to simplify interaction, and a detailed sidebar provides an overview of project events. It also tracks the history of data changes, to ensure transparency and accountability. The thumbnail feature allows users to preview documents and rotate models in the central frame. The most advanced feature is GTeam’s ability to reconfigure 3‑D files from standard industry software to any format a user requires. In essence, architects can draw in CAD, and then engineers can translate the data into their software.
The platform needs no heavy IT policing. Instead, an appointed administrator determines security levels, and specific documents can be assigned one of three sharing permissions: public, private or released. Users can add notes and tag others involved in a particular file; they can even call each other up via the built-in Skype capability. After documents have been downloaded and edited, they can be synced back into the cloud, and automatic email integration notifies everyone when a change has been made.