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Charles Perkins Centre

Archicad 21’s iconic signature building is Sydney University’s new Charles Perkins Centre. This leading research and education hub offers the next generation of researchers and practitioners – working in the fields of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases – a place to collaborate, train, mentor, learn and inspire.



Sydney, Australia

Nemetschek Group Brands



fjmt Building Studio

Technology used


Archicad is BIM

The firm behind the Charles Perkins Centre, fjmt, is a multidisciplinary design studio and one of the region’s foremost and awarded architecture and urban design practices. fjmt is dedicated to design excellence, innovation and enhancing the public domain. fjmt was at the forefront of the industry in Australia, introducing desktop CAD and PDF workflows in the 1990s.

In 2000, they felt the need for a 3D design and documentation package. After testing three candidates, they chose Archicad mainly because of its Teamwork capabilities. Their initial expectation of the software was merely to support their architectural design and documentation workflows. Since then, they have moved far beyond their original plans and have become BIM experts while learning the process of using 3D DWG based model coordination with consultants and contractors as a first step.

Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney, Australia
fjmt –
Photo ©Demas Rusli

Interior spatial design

Biology of the human body, DNA sequencing patterns and blood flow inspired the overall architecture and interior design approach for the project. A large central atrium is the social heart of the building and is a place for gathering, interaction, sharing and impromptu casual exchanges. With a bold, sculpted form with horizontal continuous ‘ribbons’, the atrium sinuously diverges from floor to floor linking the balustrade, atrium stairs and screen wall.

Johnathan Redman, Principal, fjmt

3D coordination enabled us to be more space sufficient at services design, but also to design things that were very hard to design and get constructed previously.

Sections and concept images of the Charles Perkins Centre
in Archicad – images: ©fjmt

Modeling Challenges

fjmt started the design with Archicad, 20 designers and architects working on the project. The biggest modeling challenge was the full height atrium with complex servicing requirements featuring curvilinear profiles transitioning to two-way curved stair geometries. Whilst the architects achieved the design intent through a combination of tools and custom workflows, it should be noted that GRAPHISOFT has developed new tools since then that would have made their task significantly easier and faster. Specifically, the Rhino-Grasshopper-Archicad Live Connection allows Rhino/Grasshopper and Archicad to communicate directly in order to create and manipulate a BIM model in full or in parts through Grasshopper’s visual scripting interface. Furthermore, Archicad 21 features the highly-anticipated Stair and Railing Tools, based on patent-pending Predictive Design™ technology with which the modeling and documentation of this complex-geometry structure would have been a regular process without the need for special solutions.