Where Grassroots Grit Meets Elaborate Design
A Partner Success Story from an Accomplished Residential and Institutional Design Firm
Meet Dewing Schmid Kearns Architects + Planners
Founded in 1984, Dewing Schmid Kearns (DSK) started as an architecture firm primarily focused on residential clients. The east coast company now employs 30 full time staff and has expanded to offer planning and interiors, and brought their expertise to academia, private institutions, mixed use facilities, and restaurants. After merging with KAO Design Group Inc (KDG) in 2017, DSK was able to expand into public works, experimental design, and the Caribbean. Despite rapid growth, their philosophy remains focused on going where their clients are, and DSK prides themselves on embedding their attention to detail and tailored design into every project.
When it comes to technology, DSK leadership is always searching for the best tool for the job. For instance, several trials were conducted before Enscape was chosen as a rendering favorite, primarily due to its integration capabilities with Autodesk Revit and Adobe Photoshop. DSK has always been early adopters of BIM and IT management software and they strive for broad-based onboarding throughout the organization
DSK utilized Revit from the early phases of the program and worked hard to get the software to meet their output standards. One of the firm’s differentiators is the level of detail in their designs and renderings, and transferring these dozens of layers and components into Revit was taking time and resources away from the overall creative process. To streamline redundant tasks like drawing formatting, tagging and content library maintenance, DSK reached out to Microdesk for experienced BIM and Revit consultant support.
The goal of the partnership was to take the grassroots methodology of DSK and scale it to meet their expanding client base and service offerings while retaining the dedication toward design. To that end, Microdesk provided a range of services including workflow automation, template creation and project mentoring and training.
Ongoing project mentoring and support has helped DSK continue their learning and overall project delivery during and between engagements. From implementing file maintenance best practices to advanced modeling and complex family creation, Microdesk remained available to DSK in whatever capacity was requested. Internal staff was very comfortable with Microdesk consultants in the office, often feeling that they were part of the core team rather than a third party. This allowed the combined workforce to develop cohesive BIM standards, clear role descriptions and cross-departmental communication channels.
Images courtesy of DSK | Manhattan College Communial, Studios Gallery
Finally, the ability to take advantage of Revit’s reporting abilities to efficiently calculate parameters like occupancy counts were game changers in helping keep DSK focused on design. Also, employing a template that is flexible enough to adapt to custom requirements but removes features that the team does not regularly need proved to be integral to project development. Additional processes were reviewed when KDG was brought into the fold as the two content libraries and associated workflows had to be merged for synchronicity. In terms of training, Microdesk offered sessions tailored to the experience level of the group, allowing every attendee to leave with new skills and a deeper understanding of Revit.
Microdesk and DSK continue to partner on both residential and institutional work. DSK pushes to blend the highly detailed features of private homes with the vast requirements of commercial buildings while celebrating the individual authorship of contributors. Going forward with Microdesk, the firm plans to continue to break ground in visualization and BIM project insights to further enhance their comprehensive designs.
*Microdesk is doing business as Symetri and has changed their name as of 6/26/23.