June 24, 2008

Rhode Partners Design Green High-rise with ArchiCAD

Boston -­ Groundbreaking is slated for on an eco-friendly residential tower in Austin, Texas, that aims to be a centerpiece of urban sustainability and the city's downtown revitalization efforts.
7 Rio Condominiums, designed with ArchiCAD by Austin architects Rhode Partners, is a 34-story luxury high-rise residential community being built near the Texas capital's cultural and political epicenter. Nearly 400 feet high, the 158-unit "point-tower" building will be seeking LEED Silver certification and four stars under the Austin Energy Green Building Program, the country's first comprehensive program to encourage using sustainable building techniques in residential and municipal construction.
The building will have six levels of structured parking, 27 residential levels, and 7,300 square feet of retail space.
"We designed 7 Rio to be both disciplined and beautiful, making a stunning addition to the Austin skyline," says Brett Rhode AIA, principal with Rhode Partners. 
Using a Building Information Model (BIM), Rhode Partners organized 7 Rio into four distinct tiers of varying unit sizes. The exterior reflects these tiers, visually representing the wide variety of interior spaces within. The exterior is clad with a rain-screen system of expanded aluminum accented by glass fins which vary subtly in color. Deep balconies with glass guardrails offer expansive views of the "Live Music Capitol of the World" and the surrounding Texas Hill Country. The rooftop consists of amenity spaces, a dramatic pool, and roof gardens.
"Rhode Partners is one of the first Austin-based architectural firms to fully utilize BIM to coordinate all aspects of building design and to produce 3D databases of its projects," says Joanna Hartman AIA, design manager for the project. "Our use of ArchiCAD made every phase of the 7 Rio project ­ from cost estimating to marketing ­ run smoothly and on schedule, while providing a wealth of real-time data for the owners and building partners."