Transforming Architecture through Building Information Modeling with Saurabh Goenka| AG 18

Building Information Modeling

This week we go in-depth with Saurabh Goenka, a senior Architect & BIM Lead at S9 Architecture as he shares his journey in Architecture, right from his days studying at School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi, to the various learnings he has had as an Architect in India, to completing his Masters at Carnegie Mellon and landing a highly coveted role in a top firm called S9 Architecture.

We also go in-depth on topics such as Building Information Modelling, Adaptive Reuse, the role of BIM in the construction industry, how BIM is the most efficient way to build and more.  –

One of the big philosophies that we work or I rather promote as an Architect and BIM lead is to separate the known from the unknown.” 
~ Saurabh Goenka

About Saurabh Goenka

After completing his Bachelors at School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, he worked at Abhimanyu Dalal Architects for two years. Wherein he learned the importance of taking responsibility and not always waiting to be told what needs to be done. 

He also built an interest for Urban Design through the various Urban Design projects he had handled at ADA. This led him to pursue a Masters in Urban Design from Carnegie-Mellon University. This was an intense 15-month program which further infused his love for Architecture.

He worked for Ismael Leyva Architects in New York after his Masters, where he was exposed to the world of BIM (Building Information Modeling). And it was during his time at Ismael, when he got an opportunity to join S9 Architecture as a BIM lead. He has led his team to design & build some of the tallest skyscrapers and landmark projects in New York.

S9 Architecture


S9 Architecture is an 80+ firm and growing based out of New York City. They believe in the concept called “Modern Contextualism”. It is a design approach which they follow in most of their projects and you will get to listen to more about this in the episode.

S9 primarily works on High-Rise mixed-use Residential, Retail & Office, Hospitality and Institutional projects. Most of their work is based locally in New York city and surrounding cities such as Jersey City, Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh and also in Canada.

Some of their biggest landmark projects are as follows:

 New York Wheel – The Next Big Landmark in NYC
-at 630 feet, it would be taller than the London Eye.
-Expectation of about 5 million visitors every year once project completes.
-a 40-minute ride to complete one circle
-at one point, about 1200 passengers can ride the wheel

Empire Stores – An Adaptive Reuse Project by the Brooklyn Bridge


Dock 72 – A Project by a former Shipyard developed in conjunction with WeWork, Boston Properties and Rudin Development. A 650,000 Sqft mixed-use Building.

Notable High Rise Projects

111 Varick Street
Neptune and Sixth
160 East 22nd Street
205 Water Street
Park Liberty North aka Vantage Point
Capitol at Chelsea

Notable Urban Design Projects

Industry City
Ponce City Market
Lansdowne Park
Midway St. Paul

Head to for more!

Connect with Saurabh Goenka & S9 Architecture

Episode Jargon

What is BIM?

From Wiki

Building information modeling (BIM) is a process supported by various tools and technologies involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. Building information models (BIMs) are files (often but not always in proprietary formats and containing proprietary data) which can be extracted, exchanged or networked to support decision-making regarding a built asset. Current BIM software is used by individuals, businesses and government agencies who plan, design, construct, operate and maintain diverse physical infrastructures, such as water, refuse, electricity, gas, communication utilities, roads, railways, bridges, ports and tunnels.

Let’s get this clear. BIM is not only used for Buildings but also for other infrastructure projects like roads, railways, bridges, and so on. It gives you the overall picture of the project through a detailed 3D model which not only helps you in understanding the services that the building entails but also stuff like schedules, project cost, life of the project, and more. Models can be detailed to the rod level if the project demands it.  

What is a BIM Lead/Manager?

This is a highly coveted role these days and they’re the guys who manage the projects that fall under the auspices of Building Information Modeling. Their role is to make sure that the building models are modelled accurately, to check clashes with services like Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Systems, create Building Execution Plans (BEPs), coordinate with different other BIM consultants, check if the models are healthy, manage the people that work on the project, create project delivery list along with a time schedule, implement changes, implement BIM standards, and ensure the smooth running of a project. 

What is Point Cloud?

From Wiki

“A point cloud is a set of data points in space. Point clouds are generally produced by 3D scanners, which measure a large number of points on the external surfaces of objects around them. As the output of 3D scanning processes, point clouds are used for many purposes, including to create 3D CADmodels for manufactured parts, for metrology and quality inspection, and for a multitude of visualization, animation, rendering and mass customization applications.”

Point cloud is a great space to get into. They give you the existing overall model of a particular site or building. It helps identifying and pinpointing service issues, better problem-solving while creating new designs, easily visualising the spaces inside and outside and more. Point cloud is a great service to avail while doing Adaptive Reuse projects. And they also help restore historic projects, a good example being that of the recently damaged Notre Dame because of a fire breakout.

It is paramount that we ensure historic places in India like Hampi, etc. have a digital archive and Point Cloud is the best way to get it done.

 What is PlanGrid?

 What is Navisworks?

Navisworks is a 3D review software from Autodesk that helps you to review your 3D BIM model in order to check clashes with other BIM models and also to visualise your 3D model. It is used extensively in a BIM project and helps in identifying and removing unwanted objects and clashes which helps in keeping the model healthy.


What is BMS?

From Wiki

“A building management system (BMS), otherwise known as a building automation system (BAS), is a computer-based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilationlightingpower systems, fire systems, and security systems. “

Episode Takeaways & Extras

  • You need to build a sense of responsibility once you become an Architect and not wait for orders to be taken.
  • BIM is the Future and BIM better be part of your firm’s arsenal, if you want to stay competitive in this already competitive industry.

Podcast Shownotes

3:00 Saurabh’s introduction to Architecture
“One thing that School of Planning & Architecture thought me was not how to design but how to think.”
5:00 Working at Abhimanyu Dalal Architects and the 45-minute lecture that changed his life for the better.

“If you could live the rest of your life as somebody who is told what needs to be done, or somebody who finds things and figures out and improves the process rather than following it all the way.”

7:30 Interest in Urban Design was generated at ADA 
“One of the reasons I did Masters in Urban Design was to inform my Architecture.”
8:30 Pursuing Masters in Urban Design at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. 
10:00 Exposure to BIM during Masters
“BIM, first of all, is not a software but a process. 
11:15 Landing a job at S9 Architecture and working at Ismael Leyva prior to joining S9
12:10 Exposure to BIM at Ismael Leyva and being part of the DD (Design Development) to CD (Construction Documentation) process. 
14:10 Background of S9 Architecture
“There’s a few things about every project –
There’s a client, client’s needs, the project site, the environment around it, the economics of the project, the program requirements.”
17:00 Type of Projects S9 works on.
19:00 S9’s role in the New York Wheel – The next big landmark in New York City and the role of BIM
22:00 The scope of work for a Senior Architect or BIM lead in firms such as S9
We mentioned about models being healthy at this point. What we meant was that in a BIM project, there is a 3D model which consists of not only the Architectural part but also the services. We make sure the model is healthy by making sure there are no model clashes, duplicates, heavy Revit families, and so on. It is crucial to large projects as sometimes the BIM models get very heavy and can hamper the workflow process.
25:00 The Empire Stores – An Adaptive Reuse Project
28:00 Separating the known from the unknown as a BIM lead.
“One of the big philosophies that we work or I rather promote as an Architect and BIM lead is to separate the known from the unknown.”
31:00 How does BIM help in making changes on the go?
“When we create these Residential Towers, a typical construction set would be anywhere from 200 to 300 Architectural Drawings.” 
34:00 Dock 72 – A mixed-use Building
38:00 BIM Interiors
“The power of BIM is not only in construction documentation but what you do after that.”
38:00 BIM also predicts the life of a building.

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