Limitless Lessons from DESA - A Story of Collaboration


The story of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts renovation truly reinforces how valuable Open BIM can be. It empowered coordination across project teams, essentially making an extremely complex project possible. Noted architectural firm cox graae + spack architects (CG+S) took a single model workflow to its ultimate level to create an iconic theatre space and upgrade the landmark building to add significant academic areas as well.  

IFC coordination with structural engineers working on the steel frame that became the Ellington School theatre relied on heavy BIM collaboration during the construction phase.  

This session brings together key players from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts project for a panel discussion on the design solutions revealed and the key role played by collaboration using Open BIM.  

Learning objectives

  • Understand the design problem on this project and how a design solution came to be  
  • Identify lessons learned and how the project changed the way they work moving forward  
  • See how collaboration can inform design  
  • Investigate the ways in which collaboration between A/E - helps to blur the lines/design between firm and contractor  
  • Appreciate how collaboration between firm/MEP and Steel Fabricator can make or break a project

This session was recorded live on October 19, 2021.


This free course is brought to you through a partnership with Graphisoft. By registering for this course, you grant AIA permission to share your name and email address with Graphisoft.

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1.00 LU


  • Christopher Ambridge


    Associate Principal | cox graae + spack architects

    Chris Ambridge has more than two decades of architectural project experience. This experience...
  • Derek Banocy


    Associate | cox graae + spack architects 


    Derek Banocy has more than two decades of design experience in architectural and planning fields....
  • Gabe Oliver

    Vice President | GCS-SIGAL

    Gabe Oliver is a Vice President of GCS-SIGAL, a commercial general contractor in Washington, D.C.,...
  • Dan Waldo

    Vice President of Operations | GCS-SIGAL

    Dan Waldo is a Vice President of Operations at GCS-SIGAL, a commercial general contractor in...
  • Bill Yun

    Principal | Yun Associates

    Bill Yun is Principal of Yun Associates, a structural engineering firm in Washington, D.C., that...