Archicad visualization – an important step when portraying retirement residence in Sweden’s county Skåne

Access balconies can be bright, airy and welcoming - and this idea was visualized by the architects at Jakobsson Pusterla with the use of Archicad and 3ds Max. It was one of the challenges when the agency designed a new retirement residence south of Höganäs.

A typical quadrangle layout with protection against the weather conditions and a natural “rendezvous” in the centre: This was a strong source of inspiration for the architects at Jakobsson Pusterla when they were given the opportunity - together with Midroc Properties Development - to participate in a land appointment competition for a retirement residence in Viken in Höganäs municipality.

"We wanted to create an accommodation with a feeling of village inhabitation, also characterized by small-scale forms", says architect Olivier Gras. "Therefore, we designed four wings that remind of a typical farm from southern Sweden."

The idea harmonizes well with the surrounding landscape’s cultural environment but also to the old fishing village, which Viken once was. The land allocation contest was decided this year, and Jakobsson Pusterla’s and the builder Midcro's proposal won. The erection of the housing is planned to start next year.

Visualization of generous access balconies

The accommodation consists of four lengths with two floors in each length where each apartment (52 apartments in total) will be perceived as a separate residence. There are generous areas for community and spontaneous meetings, including the access balconies. The architects presented proposals on how access balconies can appear with generous terrace-like areas, such as wide common balconies with walking lanes and strategically placed seating.

Generously wide access balconies invites to instant meetings and strengthens the community for the residents.

In some areas Jakobsson Pusterla keep a distance to the façade and let the light flow down the façade while they also build a conservatory similar to a courtyard. Oliver modelled their ideas in Archicad and visualized pictures for presentation in 3D Studio Max.

"The ideas would have been difficult to present if we did not have 3ds and Archicad", says Olivier.

Olivier has been the main contributor of much of the work needed for this project, tasks including the whole concept, the modelling of the building bodies and the surrounding areas. After collaborating with colleagues with hand drawn rough sketches on paper - which incorporated all the facts, property boundaries, safety requirements and the structure of the detailed plan - he went straight to modelling the concept in Archicad.

At first, the level of detail was low when modelling the project in Archicad. As different ideas were tested, the model got developed further; more information was added and the design evolved with more sharpness for the project to get a coherent design.

"When we modelled the houses and surroundings we wanted to find an aesthetic to make the housing inviting and give a homely feeling. The level of detail was still fairly low at this stage and we gradually added the railings, columns and other building elements. The good thing with Archicad is that everything is connected, for example, the railings are dynamically linked to the slabs of the access balconies. When I move the solid (in the model), the railing tags along in the access balconies."

The quadrangle setup in Viken, south of Höganäs, is characterized by small scale and proximity.

When the solids are linked in this way, it helps to streamline the process in the project.

"The design is facilitated and we win time. I do not need to redraw the railing every time I modify and change a measurement of the slab. They follow simultaneously."

Olivier thinks it is a pleasure to work in 3D: "The modelling is fast and accurate. When I move a window or a wall, I see the result immediately, which also means that it is possible to test different solutions without being afraid of wasting extra time."

The opportunity to work in this flexible way gives us more time to solve problems. A good example of this process is when the architects drew the facade to a shopping centre in Poznan, Poland.

"We wanted to make the facade more interesting and gave it a special pattern. We imported the designed pattern into Archicad - to test the design throughout the building - and that way develop a solution that gave the facade the desired expression."

Presentation with layout program

The project with the retirement residence in the southern located village Viken was discussed several times with the client and other decision makers to receive feedback. Printed presentation material for the participants was produced before each meeting, and InDesign was used to create an informative layout of drawings, plans and similar material. Major parts of the amount of information that has been included in the Archicad project was used and designed both in A4 and A3 sizes.

The design of the retirement residence fits well into the local cultural environment with the old fishing village and the quadrangle layout protecting against the weather.

The project group received an updated foundation after the latest comments and the discussions led the project further. The idea of ​​the typical old Swedish quadrangle formation in a modern version is about to be realized and with that, the well-being will certainly increase for the residents.


Name: Olivier Gras
Occupation: Architect
Started using Archicad: 1998
Favourite functions in Archicad: Renovation Filter, flexible work process with sketching

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About Love Janson

Love Janson is a communication strategist at ComWise AB. He has a BA degree in communication from Halmstad University.
  • Sweden