CJMW’s Hotel Indigo Project Calls for IFC Exploration

Hotel Indigo ArchiCAD

ArchiCAD Hotel IndigoCJMW Architecture is a full service architectural practice headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The firm is currently designing Hotel Indigo, a boutique hotel with mixed use retail which spans an additional 27,000 Sq feet near the Wilmington convention center site in Wilmington, NC .

As described by Bradley Madison, BIM Manager for CJMW, the Hotel Indigo hotel presented challenges and opportunities for CJMW to explore the many features and IFC capabilities of ArchiCAD. CJMW has been successful in managing this as an Open BIM project, as other team members have been employing other BIM software methods. CJMW relies on ArchiCAD for the full architectural design and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing – all in house.

Hotel IndigoArchiCAD’s IFC data capabilities give CJMW an edge. When the firm has to exchange architectural information from ArchiCAD to other BIM software, Madison says he relies heavily on ArchiCAD to create a successful workflow data exchange. “Without the built-in IFC translators found in ArchiCAD – the file exchange would be significantly more cumbersome.” Madison attests, “I can create the files from ArchiCAD and pick and choose what information I want to share. Consultants want modeling and data information, but a contractor needs quantity and take-off information. All I have to do is click a couple of boxes and take out just what I need.”

The project was begun in ArchiCAD 15 and Revit 2012, but has since been converted into ArchiCAD 16 and Revit 2013.

The Hotel Indigo hotel is not situated on a flat site. The location slopes 14 ft. The primary entrance is located on the high side of the site with the secondary entrance on the lower side. The firm considered the roof overhangs a challenge that had to be mitigated. The hotel has a two-story retail component adjacent to it and is going to be equipped with a full kitchen, full laundry, and a restaurant on the lower level. The building involved new construction of a 9-story hotel that has 136 rooms, plus a retail outlet. It will feature a bar and prefabricated four-foot pool situated on the uppermost level.

ArchiCADThe firm had only one month during which to provide initial costs on such a complicated building given the sloped site and extra retail components and roof overhangs mentioned before, so the owner could create and manage the budget.

CJMW has been working with JM Wilkerson Construction as the contractor on the Hotel Indigo project. JM Wilkerson had experience working with more than 100 BIM projects in the past – yet this would be one of the first in which they made use of the architect’s model. On the other projects, the contractor was rebuilding from drawings, creating an opportunity for error. CJMW issued them three models, concept, schematic design and design development which proved helpful in terms of putting a quick estimate together for JM Wilkerson, according to project manager, Ryan Sullivan.

“After a bit of manipulation we were able to pull basic material quantities right out of the model along with general areas and volumes that would normally take quite a bit of time at a digitizer or onscreen take-off software,” Sullivan explained. “We also applied materials to the model and put together a presentation for the owner with a nice walk-through to go along with the renderings.”

Madison has been an ArchiCAD user since version 6.5, and has since that time come to rely on the software to carry out every assignment he’s worked on. Yet he maintains a diplomatic attitude toward other software platforms. “I believe in the capabilities of ArchiCAD even more now, because of the fact that other team members use different software. ArchiCAD works brilliantly under any circumstances and I consider it the best tool possible to get the job done.”

ArchiCAD hotel indigo“As a firm, we are able to make decisions more quickly because the ArchiCAD model gives us all the information up front,” explained Madison. “We had only a month to build a macro BIM model that encompassed the majority of the architecture, which is an accelerated timeline. Still, the general contractor was able to price it.”

To maintain momentum and work quickly, CJMW is employing the technology of GRAPHISOFT BIM Server to manage to project as well. Their project team is logging on from different locations, even having a contracted team member access the model from his home office three days a week.

“We are certainly reaping the benefits of working with a fully integrated model within ArchiCAD. On this project we had to make sure a piece of mechanical equipment – which is the size of a school bus – could fit in the basement. ArchiCAD software made it possible for us to determine if we needed to add in a larger door to accommodate machinery.”

Since CJMW transitioned from 2D AutoCAD and adopted ArchiCAD, team members have been continually and pleasantly surprised to see the workload it can handle. The firm has noticed an ability to be more efficient and track changes as they go along, especially on this hotel project.



  1. mcas_8 (@Earth_Architect)

    “ArchiCAD works brilliantly under any circumstances and I consider it the best tool possible to get the job done.” as stated in Mary’s article. Scarmack Architecture agrees

  2. Charles Flatten

    This is such an awesome project! There’s a great benefit of using ArchiCAD.



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