Since Umberto Dubini founded DRM Architetti in Milan in 2006, he has witnessed the architecture firm’s expertise grow in various areas, including architectural projects and master plans for schools, universities, residential buildings, offices, shops, bars, restaurants, and hotels. Operating in various countries including Italy, Switzerland, France, and Kenya, DRM Architetti not only has the experience needed to provide complete architectural design services, from staging a design to supervising construction, but also the right tools, such as the Leica BLK360. The firm’s designers also focus on interior design, urban planning and design, landscape design, and exhibition design services.
The DRM studio specializes in historic buildings and has developed a particular expertise in combining classical and modern architectural styles. The team is constantly learning about new interior design trends and focuses on innovative eco-friendly materials, aiming to develop modern and functional buildings. They also strive to implement the latest technology to help them optimise their workflow.
“We had been looking for a scanner for a few years but the products that were available on the market, mainly tools for surveyors and topographers, were too expensive. When the BLK360 was announced we did some in-depth research and found it was the perfect value for money. We purchased it immediately,” says Dubini, who graduated from the Politecnico di Milano University with a thesis on the renowned Italian architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni.
Dubini has used the BLK360 to capture different types of architectural structures — farmhouses, historic villas, residential buildings, and even apartment interiors. “We’re lucky to have clients who own historic villas that are often quite complex to measure due to their morphology,” says Dubini. “With the BLK360 we are now able to scan them accurately, and are therefore able to carry out projects based on the data captured.”
“The BLK360 is a very effective and precise tool, and now that the team has fully learned how to use all of its functions, we can implement on any project,” Dubini adds. “The value of point cloud data, which represents the next step after taking the measurements on site and transferring to AutoCAD®, is now also being fully realised.”
The BLK360 is a tool that has allowed DRM Architetti to capture specific building finishes and materials. This process gives the team the opportunity to detect and communicate back to the office a whole new range of information that they would otherwise have to report with notes and photographs. “The thing that struck us is that this technology allows us to obtain a lot of information that we can later search and recover at any time, even years after the field survey,” says Dubini. “The BLK360 enables a very fast process that has accelerated our field work and allowed us to accumulate a greater amount of data compared to a traditional survey, with greater precision.”
Dubini can already predict certain ways that his business will develop due to the capabilities of the BLK360. “If I were to envision DRM Architetti’s evolution in terms of using the BLK360, I would certainly think of the way we capture building façades, the front of buildings to which we then add our designs,” he says.
Thanks to the BLK360’s ability to scan the state of building materials, we are able to find out whether a façade is ruined, whether there are traces of plaster, and even the exact balance between full or empty spaces.
Thanks to the BLK360, a great amount of precise and detailed data of previously unexplored buildings has now been collected. However, while this technology is widespread among technical firms that deal with topography and architectural surveys, Dubini claims that the BLK360 is still being introduced to traditional architecture firms and that DRM Architetti was one of the first to purchase it.
The DRM team is now working on an important historical preservation project: an architectural survey of a palace from the 1500s in the Italian countryside, between Milan and Bergamo. For this work they are using the BLK360 to scan both the interior and exterior façades of the historic building, which will digitally capture them for reference for years to come.