Jackson Hole, Wyoming based Chris Lee of Design Associates Architects has been relying on ArchiCAD since the late nineties – to design residential, commercial and industrial projects. As a sole proprietor, Lee says he is always looking for ways to be efficient and help his practice thrive. Lee takes advantage of the powerful combination of his skills and ArchiCAD to be the most efficient and compete with firms of larger size. One of his go-to features of ArchiCAD is BIMx and he exploits it to his advantage time and time again.

ArchiCAD “Back when BIMx was called Virtual Building Explorer I began sending models to clients.  The feedback I got was great – for them to be able to experience the design in their own place and time was huge”.

Most recently, this technology proved valuable on a current project he’s managing for an executive client. Lee recently competed with nine other firms, “powerhouses” as he put it, to win a high end residential project. In this type of “David and Goliath” scenario, Lee says he credits his triple threat of “killer tech”, namely ArchiCAD, BIMx Docs and his skills with the win.

ArchiCAD BIM“When we got the RFP for the project, I got to work pulling together a proposal and summary that expressed our biggest strengths.  I highlighted how great software, namely ArchiCAD and BIMx support me in modeling and providing visual interaction to my client, even including a recent BIMx on a flash drive.”

Lee says he believes that kind of presentation which shows how he can involve owners in the design process in a way they can understand sealed the deal.

“Being able to show the model and renderings so a client can see your designs and really understand them, makes me look huge. When you factor in BIMx – where I can hand off my design and let them take it home, play with it, think about it – there’s another mark in the plus column. BIMx helps clients make that leap of faith, building trust and letting them really fall in love with the design.”

ArchiCAD BIMLee’s current client especially appreciated the wow factor of the technology in ArchiCAD and BIMx.

“This particular client is a Silicon Valley professional, and he completely gets it.  It’s the culture of the place that smaller, faster, smarter and better wins. Using BIMx, I’ve kept him up on all the adjustments and developments in the model as we went along.”

Lee adds that the mobile-friendly aspect of BIMx was an added bonus for this project.

ArchiCAD BIM“My client can show his new home to his friends on his iPhone.  This makes him the coolest guy in the world and when he looks good, I look good. I can’t overstate how important the BIMx was and what it has done to help me communicate with this client.

Lee has also multiplied his efficiency by taking full advantage of the priority based connections found in ArchiCAD 17.

“The way in which priority based connections enhances my productivity, blew me away.  In about an hour working in one particular model, I reattached the drawings and had all my sections (more than 20) modeled perfectly.”

Lee used the ArchiCAD model to specify all materials and finishes for the home as well as scheduling everything that had parameters.

“This project is the most detailed I’ve ever done. In addition to that, it’s all accurate.  At more than 180 sheets it’s all “live”, which means that if there’s an error, it’s in the model and won’t be overlooked.  There’s very little chance something got ’drawn incorrectly’ or didn’t get updated.”

ArchiCAD BIMConstruction crews broke ground on the home several weeks ago. The value of using BIMx Docs to managed construction documents was another added bonus for Lee’s client.

“This was not his first time hiring an architect and going through the process of building something from plans. He has, in the past, paid between 5 and 6 thousand dollars for printing the construction document sets. For that, he could have gotten everyone their own iPad and a copy of BIMx Docs and still come out ahead, way ahead.”

The home is located in a new subdivision of Jackson Hole, Wyoming – which is currently divided into some 100 lots, most yet to be built.

“It’s a really amazing place right at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.”

Lee expects that the success he’s had in designing this project will translate into subsequent projects in the area.


  1. Link Ellis

    Awesome article! A true testament to your passion, integrity and hard work. Well done Chris. Keep up the great work!


  2. Todd Hotchkiss, AIA

    Nice! The software is great, but it’s all in service to the talent, and you have that in spades. Kudos!
    Did you use ArtLantis for the renderings? I may have to steal your red trees with no leaves idea.


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