Architect Models Energy Efficient Home in ArchiCAD
A picturesque piece of land nestled in the town of Mendham, New Jersey stretched for seven acres. Architect Andrew Passacantando, AIA was tasked with renovating the existing property to meet the needs of his client. When the project first began, Passacantando says he investigated renovating the existing house, but after a walk-through of the property, decided it would be best to start over.
After the home was torn down, he used ArchiCAD to create a different configuration for the home, making the building much taller. The home features double-walled construction as well as other energy efficient design aspects such as geo-thermal wells, low voltage lighting and Marvin windows. It became a much larger home, but one that uses little energy. Passacantando says he relied heavily on ArchiCAD software as a design tool to create the initial concept for the home.
“When we started out – at first glance, we had a simple renovation on our hands. It soon transitioned into a rather complicated project. I was again reminded of how valuable BIM is to me as an architect, and I stress this to anyone considering making the transition to using BIM. By the time we were actually building the home, we were building it for the second time, and as a result, this house went up without a single hiccup.”
No hiccups is putting it mildly – there were no framing issues in building the six-bedroom home. The first and second floors are super insulated with 100% radiant concrete slabs, modeled entirely in ArchiCAD. The front of the home also has a porte-cochere leading to a three-car garage and an extra, heated, single sports car garage with sloped stone walls and a high cathedral ceiling. Every detail of the home was modeled in ArchiCAD.
“The amount of useable data that we can extract from my accurate model is extremely valuable. It helps us avoid mistakes and removes the mental issues that can sometimes arise when changes are made. ArchiCAD automatically updates window lists, door lists – if a door is removed, it comes off the schedule. I am able to get comfortable working with the model and spend less time updating sheets.”
ArchiCAD is BIM software that offers everything an architect needs to virtually build a home. This particular model was created in ArchiCAD 14 – and as such, provided Passacantando with an advantage when the home’s sections and scaled walls needed to be explained to the builder.
“Every iteration of ArchiCAD just gets better from my viewpoint. Granted, this home was designed a few years back with an older version of ArchiCAD, but even so, I was able to use it to a degree so that the builder fully understood the unique framing needs that the home required. We brought Virtual Building Explorer (the first iteration of ArchiCAD’s BIMx) to the builder’s office and walked him through the house. We later moved the model into BIMx and used it as a presentation tool.”
The layering capability of ArchiCAD was also a helpful tool for Passacantando. “Depending on the role the project member had, I was able to strip away information from the model that did not pertain to their role and give them the data they needed. This was especially helpful for the framer. I managed to work out the mouldings to scale, anything with a radius that they custom made for the home, so that they had their instructions clearly spelled out.”