Showing all articles with tag User stories — Found 45 result(s). Cancel
2014 Nov 19

New town center will attract the butterflies it resembles

ArchiCAD and Artlantis overcome design challenges.

Weatherhead Architecture
Name of project: Butterfly Square
Type of project: A new town square comprising residential and retail units
Location: Allarp master plan,
Skummeslövsstrand, Sweden
Size: 5800 m2 / 62,431 square feet
Software used: ArchiCAD 17 / Artlantis Studio 5

Project overview

Butterfly Square is a landmark building, which provides a new urban center in Halland, on the West coast of Sweden. The building was designed based on the client’s desire for a new town square that comprises 30% external space, more than 80 apartments, as well as retail areas and parking. We spoke with David Weatherhead of Weatherhead Architecture about this fascinating project.

“The building is shaped like a butterfly with the large planted roof rising out of the nature park. The roof aims to grow the local flower of the region,” Weatherhead explained. “The hårginsten flower is sadly becoming increasingly rare in the area. The beautiful yellow flowers attract the ginst butterflies (ginst fjärilar), which are also endangered,” he added.

The residential development provides a series of spaces for people of all ages and abilities. By raising the building up to accommodate parking, the space allows connection to the nature park and creates a series of zones for various activities to take place. The design is part of the Allarp master plan, phase 1 of which is currently under construction.

Butterfly Square by Weatherhead Architecture; ArchiCAD 17, Artlantis Studio 5

Design Concept

A series of spaces linking to the nature park through a building that presents itself as the open wings of a butterfly.


“The design evolved through thinking about the range of spaces we felt the master plan would benefit from,” Weatherhead said. “We wanted the spaces to be a pedestrian, child-friendly environment made up of a small series of spaces that could work together. We also wanted the square to feel different, and in many ways feel part of the nature park flowing in,” he continued.

The Buildings

The buildings have been designed to be a part of nature and add to the beautiful surroundings. To achieve this, the design firm took the entire building footprint and filled it with landscape. The footprint then is lifted to form the roof of the buildings. As the planted roof rises out of the nature park, which runs through the master plan, it offers views of nature to everyone in the area.

The roof raises from the level of the nature park up to a maximum height of 18m at the building corners. Views are opened up towards the sky and the nature park, making the space inside feel less enclosed. The roof form also allows views into the central space from more of the wider master plan. The form enables the buildings themselves to be the local landmark – a distinctive element for master plan and beyond.


The building is set with a simple material palette that aims to integrate with nature and maximize daylight. The raised main body of the building is clad in glass and timber. This helps make the building respond to its location and create privacy, while also maximizing the daylight and flexibility that glass buildings enable. Perforated metal panels have been incorporated on the ground floor to increase permeability, while offering screening benefits to the cars.

The main square materials are a mixture of stone and timber. Timber has been incorporated to give a warmer, more child-friendly feel to some of the spaces. Strip lighting has been incorporated within the stone tiles.


As with most any project, there were several design challenges the team at Weatherhead Architecture had to overcome. According to Weatherhead, “Parking always creates inherent problems when trying to design successful pedestrian spaces.” To address the parking requirements, the buildings were raised by one storey, and parking was tucked away under their footprint. This allows a totally pedestrian central space, which also eliminates the privacy problems normally associated with ground floor apartments.

Weatherhead reminds us that design challenges are present in every project and become the opportunities if approached properly. “I find the greatest challenge is to create a fully working BIM model, one which produces beautiful informative drawings, while also offering realistic visualisations.” he said.

To overcome this particular challenge, Weatherhead models every object in ArchiCAD, and couples this with Artlantis to create the renders. In order to minimize abortive work, he creates different visualization modules that he turns on and off as required. This allows him to export modules and import them in Artlantis as objects. “For example, I can model the shell of all of the apartments in the main model, but I create a specific module of the detailed information for one or a few of the apartments that I want the visuals to be taken from,” he explains. “This is a simple thing to do but extremely effective in minimizing modeling time while keeping the detail where I want it.”

About Weatherhead Architecture

Weatherhead Architecture is a new, London-based architectural studio led by Architect David Weatherhead.

2014 Sep 08

ArchiCAD and Artlantis for small firms

ArchiCAD and Artlantis give small firms a significantly larger footprint

Project name: Gallello Residence
Location: California, USA
Modern House Architects
Size: 4,295 ft2 / 400 m2
Designed using ArchiCAD and Artlantis

We recently caught up with Curt Cline of Modern House Architects in Burlingame, California. An award-winning architect, Curt draws inspiration from Mid-Century or Classic Modern architecture, blurring the boundaries between the natural world outside and the created world inside. He masterfully brings these early “green” sensibilities into the 21st century, incorporating the latest ecofriendly building solutions.

Curt’s designs combine the deep knowledge that comes with over 25 years of experience, and an innate ability to make each space a personal reflection of its inhabitants. His work has been recognized in numerous architectural journals, including Architectural Record and California Home & Design; his commissions have included Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the renovation of an historical home by renowned architect, Julia Morgan. Whether residential or commercial, Curt designs living spaces that are unique, personal and respectful of the environment they share. Our discussion focused on the Gallello Residence, a recently completed project in California’s Silicon Valley. True to Curt’s style, the Gallello Residence is owner- and site-specific with a distinctly “Modern House” design vocabulary. The building site is located in the foothill town that is considered the birthplace of the silicon revolution.

The site provides a spectacular close-up view of the “Valley.” The most challenging part of the design, however, was not negotiating the steep slope or adhering to the owners’ design program; rather, it was designing a modernist home in a planning jurisdiction, which had ordinances more or less prescribing typical, traditional, pitched roof homes.

“We were fortunate to have a great client with the patience necessary to get the home that was finally constructed. Thanks to the client’s efforts, along with my office, we were able to design and build a house that has removed some of the local planning prejudice around modernist homes.” Curt Cline, Modern House Architects

Once the planning impediments were negotiated, the firm focused on the openness this home required to capitalize on its easterly views; this meant finding the right structural engineer to allow for the glass walls designed for the home. As luck would have it, there were new structural products coming to market that the architects were fortunate to have access to, eliminating the need for oversized frames.

“As with most good residential commissions in our office, projects as successful as this one only come to pass when we are commissioned by great clients such as the Gallello’s.” Curt Cline, Modern House Architects

As long-time users of ArchiCAD and Artlantis, this house, too, was designed using both applications. According to Curt, the most important feature in ArchiCAD is “that it is the best program for those architects like us, who are not technophiles and want to concentrate on design instead of the software interface.” The small team of three at Modern House Architects must be proficient in a variety of areas necessary to win, design, and see to completion their commissioned buildings. ArchiCAD allows the team to model many schematic ideas quickly, and generate the associated planning documents required for project submittals nearly simultaneously. “We highly recommend modeling to completeness and maintaining a live model through the entirety of your project, which will save you a lot of time in the drawing process,” Curt stressed.

As with ArchiCAD, working with Artlantis is easy for someone with limited software skills and allows Curt’s firm to produce photorealistic renderings that enthrall their clients, and demonstrate with completeness the design intent and finish quality of what they can expect in the built project. “We routinely will generate our renderings from set-up with objects and textures to final renderings in a matter of hours instead of days,” Curt said. In addition to client presentations, Curt uses Artlantis to effectively communicate with city planning and other project approval departments. Using Artlantis renderings together with their submittal drawings offers a much clearer understanding of the proposed design. This results in smoother approvals and, at times, without the necessity of finish materials submittals, saving time and money.

“It is the best program for those architects like us, who are not technophiles and want to concentrate on design instead of the software interface.” Curt Cline, architect

Curt is convinced that using both ArchiCAD and Artlantis together make small firms like his appear to have a much larger footprint. They can move their project through as quickly as offices twice as big, and provide their clients with the highest quality drawings and renderings in a fraction of the time. Working with ArchiCAD in conjunction with Artlantis also allows Curt to continue refining a design without disrupting the flow of ideas or interrupting the evolution of a project.

Click here for more great images and the original post on


2014 Sep 03

Karel Keuler | Blue Hills Project

Karel Keuler Architects
Blue Hills Show House Project
South Africa

We recently caught up with one of our power users in South Africa, Karel Keuler.  He told us about the Blue Hills Show House Project and shared a few stunning images with us. 

Karel Keuler Architects are long-time users of both SketchUp and Artlantis.  “We have been using Artlantis for approximately five years now with great success,” Karel told us.  They use SketchUp for modeling and devised a system called ‘Color Assignment’; they color all the planes in their SketchUp models with different colors and rename them before exporting to Artlantis.  A list is created that shaders can be added to with a simple drag & drop.


About the Blue Hills Show House Project

Johannesburg-based Century Properties has launched a new, up-market residential estate, Blue Hills, in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, and invited nine architects to design nine show houses.  Karel Keuler was among these nine architects:  The concept for the recently-held Home Show is that these nine houses will be designed and illustrated but will not be built. As such, these designs can only be presented by means of 3D renders at the home show and the display modules of each house rely on 3D renderings for display purposes.

Karel Keuler’s show house design totals 1 148 sqm; the architectural style of the house is described as Contemporary Farmhouse with modern elements.

The layout is reminiscent of a farm complex with ‘barn-like’ structures in differential juxtapositions connected to create the inside-outside movement between the house and the outside living areas. The main outside living area being the reflection swimming pool, kgotla and timber deck surrounded by a rim flow pebble pond with all the main internal living areas as well as the guest wing block leading onto this area. Water was incorporated as a major element throughout the design, as focal points, from the approach to the house, then moving through the entrance bridge floating over pebble ponds on either side, through the double volume reception area with a vista onto the main outside living area containing the pool and rim flow pebble pond and finally ending at the feature circular farm type pond outside the dining room and open patio.

The other major design element is the use of two tubular concrete light shafts with sloped glass roofs containing the entrance hall and circular main staircase as well as the steam shower tower replicating storage silos typically found on a farm complex.

Keeping with the Contemporary Farmhouse theme, the use of steel, off-shutter concrete and natural stone was crucial to replicate the farm complex mood and feel. Two of the structures/blocks are clad entirely with stone to emphasize and distinguish them as stone ‘barns’ of the farm complex. The use of two elevated galvanized iron rainwater tanks elevated along the north-south axis further reinforce the farmhouse style. The steel, glass and off-shutter components bring the modern-contemporary element to the design, working in unison with the classic farm elements creating a balance between old and new.

Quite a few of Karel Keuler’s 3D renders have been used by Century Properties in their marketing of the home show, i.e. local newspapers, flyers, billboards, etc.

We look forward to seeing much more of Karel Keuler's work in the future!


2013 Oct 16

Artlantis 5 - My First Thoughts

Power user Evan Troxel has taken the time to give Artlantis Studio 5 a spin, put his thoughts into words, and shared his first impressions with us.  Some of his comments include:

  • "The interface is really nice. It makes total sense especially as more and more people are using laptops where screen real estate is of utmost importance. It allows you to put things away that you're not using but you still have easy access to. I also love how easy it is to populate the scene with additional items like trees, furniture and people with the Catalog feature. It's not a new feature but it's laid out in a much better way now with categories. Being able to find what you're looking for is really nice."

  • "Batch rendering is also a breeze with this app. Just cue up a bunch of views and tell it to render later. Then when you're ready, launch the Artlantis Batch app and you can run it overnight, cranking out image after image until they're all done. This is a huge feature not to be underestimated. For most of us in small offices or doing solo work who only have a single computer, this can make it so work is getting done while you sleep."

Read the full review here...

We're looking forward to seeing lots of great designs from Evan in the near future!


Hôtel Paul Delaroche, 58 rue Saint Lazare 75009 Paris, France | +33 1 53 01 05 05