'Sun City Palace' Gives Senior Residents the Royal Treatment
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'Sun City Palace' Gives Senior Residents the Royal Treatment

BOSTON, Jan. 7, 2010 – The award-winning  BAR Architects firm of San Francisco has used GRAPHISOFT’S ArchiCAD building information modeling (BIM) software to design one of the largest and most refined urban senior housing projects in the world, Sun City Palace in Kobe, Japan.

The ‘Lantern’ atop Sun City Palace

The 75-person architecture, interior design and planning firm used the software to conceive, detail and coordinate plans for the 33-story, 508,000 square foot complex – a tribute to society’s elders. The elegant tower consists of 470 independent living units, 80 skilled nursing units, a richly landscaped central courtyard, private nursing garden, auditorium, tea lounge and more.

Sun City Palace’s signature feature is a nine-story glassy “lantern” at the top of the tower, housing premium living units and a penthouse restaurant. The lantern offers commanding views of Kobe City, the Rokko Mountains and the landmark Akashi Bridge. The entire project offers a high ratio of open space, ground-floor pavilions, generous setbacks from traffic and a promenade loop around the complex.

“ArchiCAD is a great collaborative design tool for efficiently executing our vision,” said BAR Architects principal Mark Koester. “A high-rise like this entails frequent client-requested changes, and the BIM model helps our team stay current and on deadline as the design unfolds. ArchiCAD provides realistic 3D views that result in better and faster design decisions than 2D plans allow. And it helps the entire team – including architects, landscape architects, structural designers and interior designers – experience the spaces they are designing in the context of the entire architecture.”

The landscaped courtyard

The new ArchiCAD 13 provides especially realistic views, according to Koester, making it easier to see design development in real time. With its new BIM Server for streamlined concurrent collaboration, ArchiCAD 13 also dramatically improves file responsiveness regardless of project size, enabling architectural firms like BAR to pack the design with detail and keep project documentation absolutely up to date.

Managing complex building information is important for a complex like Sun City Palace, which has an impressive array of amenities, including: a library, an atelier, a swimming pool, a spa and a 500-seat auditorium. BAR Architects used ArchiCAD for green design, e.g., optimizing sunlight and integrating pedestrian flow with local transit. Other green elements include permeable pavement to manage runoff, rainwater reuse systems, local materials and abundant plantings.

“Society’s elders deserve carefully crafted spaces, both in private and common areas, that ensure a high quality of life,” said Koester. “ArchiCAD helped us accomplish this in every step of the project.”

About BAR Architects

BAR Architects is an 75-person architectural design and planning firm practicing in San Francisco for over 40 years. Projects are located throughout the US and internationally. The firm has been published in numerous magazines including Urban Land, Architectural Record, and Architectural Digest among others. Recipient of over 180 design awards, BAR Architects was a past recipient of the Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects California Council and the Presidential Design Award by the National Endowment for the Arts. For information, visit www.bararch.com.


GRAPHISOFT is the pioneer and leader in developing Virtual BuildingTM solutions. For 25 years, GRAPHISOFT has been empowering the broadest community of architects to deliver model based projects that are better designed, more predictable to construct and less expensive to operate. More information at  www.graphisoft.com