The team at designLAB, led by architect Sam Batchelor has been churning out quality projects since last we checked in on them. One of note is new Studio 5 Theater for the Walnut Hill School for the Arts.

Walnut Hill School for the arts is a secondary school established exclusively for the arts. The Studio 5 Theater project is designed to include a black-box studio theater, and a dance studio. The school was originally an all-girls prep school – and was transformed into an arts school in the early 70s. The task for this project was to design something that reflected the schools emergence as a premier art institute.

ArchiCAD BIM“We’re fortunate to be working with an amazing group on this renovation project. We have had one of our most fluid client relationships ever with this project. And while the task at hand was fairly straightforward – the biggest challenge was creating a space worthy of such a creative and special institution. We spent a lot effort making sure the building was heavily integrated into the surrounding landscape, sort of tucked in to the site, yet the main marquee is visible from the main road.”

The project is being managed in ArchiCAD 17 – which helps Batchelor oversee design and coordinate on of the various elements of the space. The arts school needed to have a black box theater, which is essentially windowless volume, a spacious dance studio and lobbies that could connect the existing building to the addition. In the center of the space, courtyards were designed to fit in as performance spaces as well.

ArchiCAD BIM“The building is designed around a sense of opening up and allowing people to move through the space freely. We let the design breathe but controlled it in necessary ways – especially in regard to the black box theater.”

The combination of having a tech savvy client with ArchiCAD 17’s incorporation of GRAPHISOFT’s presentation tool, BIMx the model of the school is going to assist the theater group beyond its construction phase. The theater group administrators have, with the help of DesignLab, come up with a unique way to secure funding for the school.

“The headmaster of the school is very excited about the potential we have with the BIMx model. He has downloaded it onto his iPad and shows the space to potential donors. It is a very eye-catching way to generate interest for a building that will need supporters and continued fundraising as the school begins its mission.”

Editor’s note: Courtesy of our friends at designLab, readers can download and view the Walnut Hill School for the Arts BIMx HyperModel by accessing this link: – you will need a copy of the BIMx viewer to access the model which can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play and you can get there by clicking here


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