From Designing a Pool on Permafrost in Alaska to Revitalization of Downtown Detroit: Incredible Projects Created With AutoCAD’s Architecture Toolset

Customer Spotlight
AutoCAD Architecture toolset projects

Feature image courtesy of Anton Grassl Photography.

The Architecture toolset (formerly known as AutoCAD Architecture) is now included when you subscribe to AutoCAD. But how are people really using it on projects? Does it really make a difference?

From creating a pool built on pilings and permafrost in Alaska to revitalizing a park in downtown Detroit, designing agricultural buildings in Sweden, and building a resort-style retirement community in Kentucky, here are some customer experiences that inspire new ways of using AutoCAD and the Architecturetoolset.

Architects Alaska

Imagine designing an entire fitness center and an above-ground concrete pool built completely on pilings and permafrost—a layer of soil that is permanently frozen. Now imagine designing it at an incredibly remote location with no roads in or out.

Alaska Architects Pool AutoCAD

Pool at the YK Fitness Center. Courtesy of

That’s the challenge Architects Alaska faced when designing the 23,000-square-foot Yukon-Kuskokwim Fitness Center in Bethel, Alaska. With AutoCAD and the Architecture toolset, the firm not only made the project a reality, but could give it a true design touch despite the location and challenge of supply delivery.

“AutoCAD is great for developing the concept and early design because you can draw the polyline, click on it, and see what the area is,” says David Moore, principal at Architects Alaska. “Then you can adjust as you’re building the design, scoping it, and trying to get within the budget. When we moved into more of the actual design of the center, we used the Architecture toolset to draw walls, put in doors and windows, and create 3D models.”

Learn more about this incredible project that faced the odds in the story here.

Touloukian Touloukian

For Jared Ramsdell, associate at the Boston-based, award-winning Touloukian Touloukian architecture firm, the Architecture toolset isn’t just nice to have—it’s a must.

“AutoCAD has been a part of my day-to-day work since my first internship about 13 years ago, and I use AutoCAD’s Architecture toolset to design and draw buildings daily,” Ramsdell says. “During a typical week, I manage multiple projects and contribute to additional projects through conversations with designers and meetings with consultants.”

Beacon Park in Detroit. Courtesy of Anton Grassl Photography.

Beacon Park in Detroit. Courtesy of Anton Grassl Photography.

AutoCAD and the Architecture toolset help the company design for tight urban sites, manage zoning requirements, maintain historical oversight, and invest in a mission of environmentally responsible design. This certainly held true for the recent design in downtown Detroit. Formerly a desolate, nearly 10,000-square-foot lot on Grand River Avenue, Beacon Park is now home to an expanse of green space (by livingLAB landscape architects) and a restaurant with Lumen.

Read more about Touloukian Touloukian and their experiences with AutoCAD and the Architecture Toolset here.

Studio A Architecture

For Studio A Architecture, designing an independent and assisted living center is more than accommodating the needs of senior citizens. It’s about providing an upscale resort experience where quality of life is paramount. For the design of Legacy Reserve in Lexington, Kentucky, the firm had to design not only incredible living spaces but also build a complete community in the complex, including an indoor pool, social gathering spaces, a fitness center, lush landscapes with a tall fountain, a library, a restaurant, a full-service salon, and even a movie theater. With AutoCAD and the Architecture toolset, the firm found new, efficient ways to approach a complex, multifaceted design.

Studio A Architecture Legacy Reserve AutoCAD

Main Street at the Legacy Reserve. Courtesy of Studio A Architecture.

Throughout the retirement community project, Studio A found new ways to make its design work as efficient as possible with AutoCAD and the Architecture toolset.

“One major thing we had to balance was the size of the files versus the efficiency of the files,” says Warren Grove, project manager, Studio A Architecture. “For example, we did some basic things like making all of the units xrefs in the base file. We also found that it’s more efficient to include all three floors in the base file. We left the roof plan as its own xref linked to the base file to expedite speed because you’re usually working on the roof or you’re not.”

Discover more about the Legacy Reserve project in the story on Studio A Architecture here.


Founded in 1973 on a farm in the heart of Sweden’s horse country, hall construction company Borga has always reflected the self-reliance of its bucolic roots. Now headquartered in Skara, one of Sweden’s oldest cities, Borga continues to maintain full control over the entire production chain and process, from idea to finished building, and serves a wider variety of industries with the help of the Architecture toolset in AutoCAD.

Borga Stable AutoCAD

Courtesy of Borga. 

Whether it’s stables, agricultural buildings, or even offices, the company has equipped its sales leaders with AutoCAD and the Architecture toolset so that they can create drawings of a proposed plan to include in their estimates to clients.

“I prepare offers for customers who aren’t quite sure of what they want to build,” says Baltzar Karlsson, a sales leader at Borga headquarters. Working with AutoCAD firsthand, Karlsson says, “I appreciate the precision and accuracy of AutoCAD; with the Architecture toolset, I can easily take these 2D drawings and make 3D views for customer presentations.”

Learn more about how the Architecture toolset gives Borga a competitive edge here.

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