Gbolade Design Studio develops its sustainable design practice with Archicad software

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Graphisoft UK offered new and existing customers an extended free trial of Archicad software

Some customers were new firms who took the opportunity to try the software for the first time, some were repeat customers who had used it in the past, and others took the opportunity to add licenses to the as their firm grew. In a series of interviews, we caught up with these firms to find out how they got on with Archicad, what they like about the software, and how it makes a difference in their practice. You can read the first of these interviews with Lanre Gbolade of Gbolade Design Studio below.

Gbolade Design Studio is a small practice working primarily in London and the South East of the UK, with a focus on sustainable design. Founded three and a half years ago, its projects include residential, cultural and community buildings with a focus on co-design engagement. More recently, the practice has expanded overseas and won a community project commission in Chicago, USA.

What prompted you to try Archicad software?

We already had a solo license, but as we grow the business and expand the team, we needed more capacity. For us, Archicad has more team building capabilities compared to other software applications in the market.

Have you ever used it?

Yes, we have been using Archicad in past practices for about 13 or 14 years.

How did you find using the software?

Archicad 24 and 25 are very powerful tools. The software helps us to control and standardize the quality of our company outputs. Archicad also has impressive visualization capabilities and the Twinmotion link for rendering is something we want to explore further and use for client and end user engagement.

Once our new staff members get into it, we find that most people enjoy using it.

archicad software

How did you find Graphisoft support?

Whenever we had general/technical questions, Graphisoft was very responsive and could find a solution quickly.

We have had our team take online training modules and every time we have a new beginner we ask them to do so, so that they dive straight into the basics of the Archicad software. Now, when we recruit, we identify candidates who have been exposed to Archicad whenever possible.

We also recently had a bespoke training session from Graphisoft on EcoDesigner, which is super powerful. As we focus on sustainable and low operational energy buildings, the capability of EcoDesigner becomes very important to our practice, and we have been really impressed with this feature so far.

Can you tell us about some of the projects you started using Archicad for?

We are currently on site with eight townhouses in Croydon which are designed to be highly sustainable – meeting RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge standards for embodied and operational carbon.

We inherited the project at the planning stage and thus developed the model from scratch, redesigning the interior spaces to optimize the homes for more efficient use, improved interior environments and providing our client with added value. With the help of Archicad, we were able to more seamlessly coordinate design team meetings and exchange IFCs with external consultants, including the structural engineer and MEP consultants.

We are also in the conceptual design stage of the refurbishment of the Lloyd Leon Community Center in Brixton. Known locally as the Dominoes Club, the center is home to Brixton’s famous soup kitchen and is a hub for the local community. Residents and building occupants, who have lived in the area for many years, are keen to see the Grade II listed building creatively restored and refurbished. We really enjoyed using the powerful BIMx and Twinmotion tools to showcase design proposals as they evolved through the design phase.

Do you think Archicad will make a difference in your practice? If so, how?

Honestly – yes it will. It is a powerful application. Archicad will make a huge difference in our standardization, quality control and models. We invest in the development of our own BIM models, creating standard planning for doors, windows, details, etc., all to be super efficient with our time so that we can be more creative and provide buildings and spaces of excellent quality – the capacities are enormous.

What are the best things about Archicad that you have discovered so far?

The best things we’ve discovered about Archicad so far include auto-planning features, visual capabilities, in-application rendering, and graphical override improvements. Many of these elements have also been improved in recent versions of Archicad. BIMx is also a great tool for communicating our work to our clients and project stakeholders.

Graphisoft UK Ltd

Tel: +44 (0)1895 527590

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