BIM Scales Down: 2,900 sf for Cushing Academy


Christopher Brown, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of Architecture Studio, is as close to a one-man show as we’ve ever seen.

He shared his thoughts on how BIM scales down for small companies:

The Project: Cushing Academy – Schottland Dorm

This five-bedroom dorm for Cushing Academy reinvigorates a wonderful natural setting with additional boarding house beds and creates a welcoming interaction between the dorm’s common spaces and the dorm parent. The new dorm remembers an unsalvageable barn while keeping its relationship with the existing farmhouse.

The project a 2,900 sf dorm provides housing for 10 female students and provides shared common spaces inside and out.

Starting with BIM

Modeling began with the existing dorm parent house and site topography. Accurate modeling allowed for coordinated site work and alignment of the old and new floors for accessibility.

Sole Architect, Tight Timeline, and Budget

As lead architect, drafter, and coffee runner I was able to work in multiple planes and sections to provide a complete set of drawings and save hours of 2D drafting for multiple sections. BIM at all scales allows for ease of sheet and set coordination to keep the focus on design and the client’s program.

Extracting Imagery

The project team at Cushing Academy quickly became acclimated to seeing their project in multiple 3D views, even utilizing a movie flyover on an iPad. The BIM eliminated the need to outsource renderings because we extracted renderings directly from the model. The model created convincing images to present to the local Historical Commission, enabling quick approval of the thoughtful design.

Small BIM and construction

For this project, the model continued to be a valuable tool for conveying the design. I provided SKs with 2D and 3D detail drawings to create a visual for both the GC and the client. When it came time to finalize the interior casework, I sent 3D views to the donor for approval. Virtual reality again created the basis for the client and the donor to make a confident decision.