Tempe, AZ-based Spiral Architects, received the 2017 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference this summer, for the restoration of the Louise E. Glaus Residence in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Designed by noted 1930s architect Robert Evans, the 4,500 SF main house was constructed in 1931, and later owned and modified by famed Southwestern Modernist architect Bennie Gonzales from 1967 to 1972. A detached garage, and two guest “casitas” (Spanish for – little houses) bring the total project area to approximately 6000 SF.

Spiral Architects used BIMx visualization – the award-winning presentation app in ARCHICAD – extensively in collaborating with the home’s current owner, to buck the recent trend of “large lot tear downs” in the community, and arrive at a design that embraced the home’s storied past, including re-visualizing many significant architectural features and details that had been lost to extensive modification through the years.

As one of 10 projects to receive this prestigious award, Spiral Architects’ work on the Glaus Residence demonstrated the impact BIM visualization powered by ARCHICAD can have on renovation projects.

Following his receiving the award, Gene Kniaz, Architect at Spiral Architects took time out of his schedule to discuss how ARCHICAD and BIMx provided clear images of how the historic home would be revised.

“BIM visualization made it very simple for me to determine with the owner what we wanted to do and then present that vision very convincingly,” Kniaz explained. “With filters set to show areas for demolition in red and new construction in green, the process and the final vision become very clear.”

Kniaz also relied on BIMx to easily share the model with the owner, and keep it continuously updated throughout the demolition and construction process.

“Weekly changes, some of which were dictated by what we were discovering each day during the demolition phase of the project, were updated easily in ARCHICAD and shared via BIMx with my client who had downloaded the app to his phone and tablet.”

Early in the design process, BIMx was used almost exclusively for client input and feedback.

“I was happily surprised by how precise the feedback was from the owner – in terms of addressing fenestration sizes, the design of decorative elements such as wrought iron – it speaks to how accurately and convincingly BIMx presents a design to an owner”.

ARCHICAD’s Renovation Filters were also a key benefit to the process, allowing the integration of information gleaned by other technologies, into the project’s construction documents.

“We used a thermal camera to locate the old window openings that had been plastered over in the 1960s, and dropped that information into the model, which meant we could confidently order windows right away, and not wait for the demolition sub-contractor to expose them – which helped move the project forward.”

Kniaz modeled all the home’s wrought iron in ARCHICAD as well and took great pains to ensure that the home’s original character was maintained.

“We had instances where we were using old photos of the Robert Evans’ other work to determine architectural details – ARCHICAD allowed us to refine the scale and dimensions of those features until both we and the owner were confident we’d arrived at the proper result”.

“It should be noted,” added Kniaz, “that wrought iron is a design sub-discipline that is notoriously difficult to illustrate to an owner. We developed a technique based on ARCHICAD’s morph tool that allowed us to model all those elements three-dimensionally – which the owner then examined in BIMx. The owner was thrilled that the final product was exactly as he’d seen it in BIMx”.



  1. Bill White

    It is amazing what we can do with modern technology. I love how BIMx fostered such great collaboration between the owner and the architects.

  2. Dave Allen

    Definitely agree with Bill. This stuff is more advanced than what we used back in the day 😉


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking to meet other ARCHICAD users? Why not come along to one of our upcoming User Groups!  VIEW DETAILS