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DesignLAB uses ArchiCAD to design Top 10 Green Building

DesignLAB wins multiple honors with innovative BIM project on Cape Cod. Using ArchiCAD the Boston-based architecture firm created a Top 10 Sustainable Building.


DesignLAB of Boston has designed a Top 10 Sustainable Building of 2009 for the International Fund of Animal Welfare Headquarters. The building is located on Massachusetts’s Cape Cod and is 54,000 square feet. 

DesignLAB implemented a Building Information Model (BIM) using Graphisoft’s innovative ArchiCAD software. 

Controlling Cost and Schedule

Using ArchiCAD helped to accelerate the schedule of the project and ensure accuracy with early building estimates. The project manager, contractor and architect/engineering team formed an early partnership to fast-track the process and control cost. A 3D BIM model that integrated delivery system approvals, pricing, and early release packages enabled the team to condense what would have been a 37 month design and construction process into 26 months. 

Increasing GREEN Design

The technology also helped the team raise the project’s LEED rating. While the design initially aimed for LEED Certified or possibly Silver status, the project team continuously monitored project costs, procurement, and materials use throughout the construction process. As the project neared completion, the team realized it had achieved more LEED points than previously expected. When presenting this information to IFAW, they identified several areas where small additional expenditures or efforts would put the project over the Gold threshold.

We used ArchiCAD for the design of the IFAW headquarters in part because our structural engineer partner on the project already used BIM for all of its designs, and working with one BIM model facilitated work between our two firms,” said architect Sam Batchelor of DesignLAB. “The ability for both architects and engineers to access the same product database and to collaborate on the 3D model saved time and money, a bonus for the client.”

Designed to minimize impact on the natural environment, the IFAW world headquarters was designed conserve water resources, monitor and implement energy efficiency and restore the natural habitat. Three simple, clean structures are arranged around a reclaimed brownfield site, establishing a central gather space reminiscent of a coastal ridge or rural Cape Cod meadow.

To fit in with the local Cape Cod architecture, the building utilizes iconic elements of the simple, unadorned barns that abound in this rural area, incorporating two-story, barn-like structures, white clapboards, and even a coastal meadow in the design to recreate the natural beauty of the Cape Cod landscape. 

In addition to the COTE award, the IFAW headquarters received the AIA award for interior architecture and three additional awards from the Boston Society of Architects, including an honor award for design, an interior architecture award and a sustainability award. 

To learn more about Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD go here:

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