Introducing Research & Innovation (R&I) at AtkinsRéalis

Sukhmit and David are part of the Research & Innovation team in the Building Design department at Atkins. This department was established five years ago to enhance the traditional skillsets of mechanical engineering, architecture, and sub-disciplines, creating hybrid skillsets and offering the team a wider coverage when it comes to the challenges their clients are facing.

The Building Design practice focuses on the following:

  1. Applied Research: developing new knowledge or evidence-based position following global, national or regional trends
  2. Experimental Technology: to enable creativity beyond imagination
  3. Analytics: harnessing data analytics and insights to tackle client, project, and team challenges
  4. Innovation Facilitation: fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration to solve challenges and leverage opportunities to create a better world for tomorrow.

Making the Designer Experience More Efficient

The team at R&I spent some time trying to understand the designers’ experience, how they used to work, how they are currently working, and how they want to work in the future.

A key challenge the designers were facing was working in silos, which affected their decision-making process. The team decided to build connectivity between these tools, to focus on tasks and what needs to be delivered through continuous data access, multi-disciplinary transparency, and a complete picture referred to as “Data Chain”.

Data Chain at Atkins

Data Chain is a collection of tools and processes, including external and internal, integrated to shift between the right tools and tasks at the right time across different disciplines. Speckle was instrumental in the implementation of Data Chain, which led to the creation of the R&I Labs, a single portal offering a development framework and enabling data connectivity and reuse.

Solution Architecture: Designing R&I Labs

The team at R&I wanted to communicate with all tools and software. Thanks to Speckle, they did not have to manage all aspects of the data flow. Insights were delivered to users and project managers in real-time, enabling them to develop better designs.

R&I Labs Home Page

R&I Labs is an internally developed website that hosts 18 tools delivered by the R&I team from architecture to engineering. It enables communication with users and consolidates applications across the organization. Speckle enabled the connectivity between these different tools and applications.

R&I Labs: Hosted Tools

Case Studies and Applications

Case Study #1: Designing with Content

Roots, Dandelion and Sycamore

Roots is a registration app, offering an interactive interface using the data from Sycamore and Dandelion, by leveraging the connection offered by Speckle. Dandelion produces lots of nested data that makes it easy to retrieve and isolate and send it to other analyses and building services.

Case Study #2: Designing with Intent

Bamboo, Acorn and Evergreen

Bamboo is a web app that ingests rooms and all the information needed for architects to create topological maps of these rooms. These data are sent to Speckle so that Acorn (room and space data tool) ingests all parameters set to be applied to Revit for rooms and spaces. Evergreen (embodied carbon internal tool) picks up all rooms and spaces, different elements in the model, and runs embodied carbon analyses for all of these elements.

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You can watch the real-time demos delivered at SpeckleCon below.


Overall, the R&I team aims to create and deliver the following value points:


Sukhmit and David showcased the value of being proactive and reactive on what design teams need to support their journey and evolution successfully. The design team at Atkins is seeking for more task-based tools to support their designer experience. Going through this journey alongside the design teams and understanding their problem statements and challenges to then addressing them with different tools augmented the designer experience.

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