You want an example of a firm using ARCHICAD that is successfully taking on multiple large projects? Look no further than Seattle-based, Rutledge Maul Architects (RMA). This award-winning powerhouse firm has been churning out projects in ARCHICAD since the early 90’s. One of the keys to their success has been leveraging small teams on large projects nimbly and efficiently.  RMA performs feasibility and site-selection analysis, as well as master planning for commercial, multifamily, residential, and institutional facilities. One look at the RMA project portfolio and you’ll see a range of upscale corporate buildings to custom homes with a wide range of budgets and architectural taste.

Because RMA relies on a team based approach as the best way to construct successful projects, the Teamwork feature and BIM server in ARCHICAD help them be successful.

Willard Williams explains, “We benefit from repeat business because we are good at what we do. The strength of our firm lies in our ability to manage multiple projects of varied scale. We may have as many as five other massive multi-family projects in progress being handled by our staff of ten. ARCHICAD and the BIM server helps us deliver and our clients see that.”


Such was the case when the Stratford Company sought an architect for the Nesbit multifamily project in the Licton Springs district located in Seattle Washington. RMA is managing the design of the 74-unit building located close to the University Washington, otherwise known as the U District. Once constructed, the building will be geared toward students and young professionals to answer an urgent need for smaller, more economical housing. Efficiency units are the smallest units you can get into these buildings and so the units feature an open plan. Residents will have access to a rooftop garden and deck, as well as an amenity space with lots of bike parking in the basement.  The target date to start construction is this October to at least get the groundwork done; then Williams says they anticipate an 18-month construction phase.


“Seattle is building at a fast pace to address a low housing availability rate. Developers are trying to build multi-family residential projects that follow this new fad of micro-dwellings,”


That project is just one of several that are a result of busy building conditions at Rutledge Maul and throughout the region.

“The city is seeing unprecedented growth; Seattle has more cranes in this part of the country than anywhere else to keep up with the demand.”

There were some challenges – and the team dealt with them expertly, co-locating their BIM server on an independent server to enhance its effectiveness and increase its stability. Nesbit is just one of several projects Rutledge Maul submitted to various Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), in the last two weeks totaling around one million square feet throughout the Puget Sound area. Williams gives credit to his colleagues, the project manager Karen Biran, intern-architect Johnathon Nelson, and president of the firm, Dave Maul for the firm’s recent successful push of projects, but also ARCHICAD gets a nod.

“We worked hard to get those projects in before the July 1st code change. Now we are focusing on the next 10 projects in various phases of design. While we meet and often exceed our clients’ expectations, we are looking to expand our range, and get into a more high-rise projects. Washington State amended its wood construction code to allow for 5 stories of wood construction instead of the 4 stories dictated by the 2012 IBC (International Building Code) and now permits five stories. We have a specialization in wood structures, and we ‘re exploring clients with mid to high-rise projects throughout the region.  By leveraging ARCHICAD efficiently, even after the many years I’ve used it, it is still amazing to me to see how much we accomplish with small teams and tight deadlines.   ARCHICAD’s Teamwork as a productivity tool is unsurpassed. You can bring in additional team members as needed, and they can jump in and support the projects during crunch time with little to no on-boarding issues. It works for us.”

DPD COVER IMAGE copyThe firm has become adept at making use of the rendering engine in ARCHICAD which harnesses Cinema 4D’s technology, to present cohesive design ideas and take advantage of the fact that Seattle accepts digital design submissions.

“The project was submitted electronically, allowing the design review board to look at all the renderings produced in ARCHICAD prior to the actual building permit review phase. Then in meetings with our client and contractor we use the fly arounds to show them everything, handle quality control, etc… the change tool also comes in handy to mark up the drawings digitally. Then, when we tackle any corrections we can itemize and use that tool to insure we have picked up the corrections and they are well documented within the set. We use the model pretty holistically, it is critical to our ability to understand the project what it looks like and represent it to our clients and contractors.”


  1. Michael Doll

    Some very responsible, thoughtful and creative work going on at Rutledge Maul in Seattle. Interesting how their addressing the housing issue in Seattle with creative talent.

    • willard williams

      Yeah there are a lot of multifamily projects in design and coming out of the ground. It’s interesting to drive into Seattle and see a crane on every block building the future.


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