When Design is a Passion, ARCHICAD is a Key Tool
Design is a passion for Knoxville, TN-based Jonathan Miller Architecture & Design. Led by Jonathan Miller, AIA, the firm recently received recognition as the Best Residential Architect in their region by Cityview magazine. Throughout the past fifteen years of the firm’s existence, Miller has developed a reputation for creating inspired architecture based on traditional forms.
It should come as no surprise that this firm received this acknowledgment. Miller describes his passion for design in his own words here. Miller and his team put equal focus on design, the client’s needs and their budget – always keeping in mind that it is a privilege to design a space that people will live, visit and dwell in.
The firm’s chosen tool for design has always been ARCHICAD – Miller recalls when he realized he needed to switch to a software that worked with the way he did. ARCHICAD provided a fully integrated system for architecture. The demonstration he saw showed mechanical duct work, bar joists and the presentation showed how the architect could cut through areas of the structure and spin it around to see different views.
“AutoCAD drove me nuts. I was detailing a window on a floor plan and I had to do fifteen commands to get a window casing put in. It felt archaic at the time – so when I saw the ARCHICAD presentation, I quickly became convinced it was the perfect fit for our firm.”
The ability to respond to changes seamlessly as a project moves through its phases is a key aspect of designing in ARCHICAD that Miller finds most useful.
“ARCHICAD helps us be profitable in many ways. It solves problems such as when a window placement on a floor plan changes late in the project, we don’t have to update every sheet, all of the drawings are simultaneously updated. It eliminates openings being framed at the wrong location in the field and those calls saying, ‘well why is this here?’ As a business owner, I worry less about coordination issues.
That confidence translates to dealing with challenging site plans, which are common in Tennessee. Many sites have sloping characteristics that can present design constraints. Miller uses ARCHICAD to work with this aspect of the region by bringing topography sites and places directly into the ARCHICAD models so that his team can figure out how to step the structure into the site.
When pressed to choose a go-to feature of ARCHICAD Miller would need in order to maintain his firm’s efficiency and design process – he chose the Roof Builder.
“The Roof Builder is one of the coolest, most intuitive, easy to use tools in ARCHICAD. It solves so many problems. We would sit and rack our brain on a pitched roof structure drawing it in 2D, trying to figure out roof plans and elevations. ARCHICAD lets us put together roof plans quickly and intuitively and it allows us to mass things out quickly and study scale and proportion and see where we have problem areas and find solutions for them in short order.”
Miller would never discount his ability to draw or draft designs “old school” – yet he recognizes the advantage technology brings to the process.
“Knowing how to draw and how to draft it just from the old school way is super valuable because of what you’re doing in ARCHICAD is essentially that. It has the extra element of it being in 3D, having all the data, and the documents to back it up.”