CUBE 3: a cloud-based way of working is the way of the future for its business

Jeanne Tan Jeanne Tan May 8, 2023

7 min read


Exceeding clients’ expectations 
Led by the motto, Designing Your Vision, CUBE 3 brings its client’s ambitions to life through considered, innovative and distinctive solutions across architecture, interior design and planning. Established in 2003 the US-based practice is headquartered in Lawrence, MA, with later expansion to Boston, MA, Miami, FL, and Princeton, NJ, serving the mid-Atlantic region of the country. Whether it’s for workplace, healthcare, hospitality, residential or education, the dedicated team of 130 architects and designers work to ensure every project guarantees their client’s success. Being consecutively ranked in Inc. magazine’s annual list of fastest-growing companies in the US is testament to that success. “We pride ourselves on creative, intelligent designs that take our clients’ needs, budgets and the environment into consideration,” said Tony Fiorillo, Chief Information Officer, at CUBE 3. “We always strive to provide unparalleled service and exceed our clients’ expectations.”

The Mark at DeNormandie Wharf transforms a disused waterfront site into a lively mixed-use development and creates a new urban connector in the neighborhood.

Success relies on a responsive team 
Key to ensuring the firm’s success is a dynamic and responsive design team attuned to every client’s and project’s unique demands. Maintaining a high level of responsiveness requires helping the team to be where they’re needed on a project whether that’s in-person, on site or digitally; to easily adapt to change in the industry as it relates to technology, regulations or sustainability; and to communicate effectively.  
“The design process is a collaborative effort between architects, engineers, and clients, and effective communication is vital to ensuring that the final product meets the client’s expectations,” explains Keith Boyle, Principal. “CUBE 3 has been built upon communication, relationships and understanding a client’s needs at the core of each project. Like for many firms, projects have gotten more complex with tighter fixed fees and design schedules. The ability to leverage technology to formalize our design intent will continue to help us be quick, responsive, and cohesive to meet the demanding deadlines and needs of our clients.” 
These motivations have been key drivers of CUBE 3’s ambitions to migrate its work entirely to cloud-based solutions to future-proof its business. “The CUBE 3 Digital Infrastructure brings different cloud services together under one central umbrella and creates a gateway into a fully digital work environment,” says Fiorillo. “Autodesk is a huge part of making that happen. Solutions like Autodesk Construction Cloud and Forma are a huge value-add–giving us unprecedented access to data, which allows us to work smarter and go where our clients need us.”  

The CUBE 3 teams working with early-phase planning and design in Lawrence, MA (left image): Brian Cussen, Tony Fiorillo, Nick Griffin, Tino Freitas and Charles Chappell; and Miami, FL (right image): Aline Antunes, Amanda Caraballo and Ernesto Medina.

New technology, new possibilities  
The search for the right tools that fit their strategy means the firm is constantly testing new digital tools such as Autodesk Forma. “When we evaluate new software solutions, we’re looking for ways to improve communication with our clients, increase speed to market, allow our team to work with flexibility in a hybrid environment, and help us adapt quickly to change,” continues Fiorillo. Nick Griffin, Architect and Senior Associate adds: “At the same time, our tools need to work with how our clients work, and they want to know that we have the best tools to be able to do our jobs.” When it comes to benefiting the practice itself, Charles Chappell, Architect and Associate explains: “New technologies like Forma help us attract new talent so we have the best people on the job. At the same time, we have to be efficient, not just with our clients, but actually with our own workforce–people want the downtime as much as they want to be efficient when they work. It’s about working smarter, and Forma is really going to help us move in that direction.” 
Improving communication, saving time 
The ability to have better conversations is key to improving communication with clients. With the help of Forma, the team has access to more critical information up front and can engage in more detailed talks earlier on. This enables them to be more proactive and better understand the questions that need to be asked to guide conversations towards achieving more specific outcomes. Aline Antunes, Architect and Senior Job Captain explains: “Many conversations can be arbitrary in early meetings, but with the visual representation from Forma that we’re able to show clients now, we can have more direct conversations about the best possible solutions for their final outcome.” Having more focused conversations undoubtedly saves time, as does easy access to information when it’s needed. “A key feature of Forma is that it’s browser-based,” says Brian Cussen, Architect and Associate. “This means that you can easily go to any client, open your browser, log into your Autodesk account, and show them the project in Forma, reviewing all the studies you have created. I think that’s a big plus.” 
Data informs design decisions  
A case in point is a hotel project where the stakeholders had differing opinions about the rooftop pool. Using Forma’s sun hours analysis, the team was able to show and convince them that the solution of a trellis would allow sufficient sun and shade to meet both parties’ requirements. Antunes: “By just having that dialogue using Forma while you’re sitting with the stakeholders at the table cut out a lot of time for us. It removed the back and forth that we’d be dealing with still, saving time by not having to exchange additional emails or set up unnecessary meetings.” Completing these studies together with the client combined with the ability to make edits in real time in Forma helped the team reduce the overall time used during concept design. “Now we were able to finalize a full concept design in 2 weeks as opposed to the standard 4 to 6 week period,” says Antunes.  

The sun hour analysis also revealed that roof space created by a building setback, considered unusable, had good sun conditions, which meant the outdoor area could now be used as private garden balconies to upgrade these rooms. “All of these things helped us inform the design and improve the operator’s expectation of the building because they thought they were only getting a single typology of hotel room and now it increases the value,” says Antunes.  

Using Forma’s sun hour analysis to inform their design, the team was able to ensure an adequate level of both sun and shade required on the rooftop pool to satisfy stakeholders’ requirements.  

Moving forward: Forma and Revit  
Core to CUBE 3’s digital strategy will be connected workflows, and the firm is already pioneering this. “The integration between Forma and Revit is one of the most important features for us. As Revit would be the end-product that we’ll be using in a project, the quicker we get to start using it, the better,” says Tino Freitas, Architect and BIM Manager. “As we iterate the designs, we are able to bring the geometry that we create in Revit back into Forma, re-evaluate the building and do all these studies on the fly. There’s no additional work, besides running the analysis on the new design. I think that is a huge time saving, whereas in other software, you have to go back and redesign the building in the analysis tool–that’s a big deal. If we get a model and base early on in Forma, where we know our building is going to be geo-referenced, it has all the background information that we need, helping us start the BIM process earlier which will make the project overall run much smoother.”

The top image shows the proposal in Forma which has then been sent to Revit (bottom image).

The implementation of CUBE 3’s cloud-based digital infrastructure will have its hurdles, explains Fiorillo. “But they can be surmounted by adopting a strategic approach that involves partnering with the right cloud service provider, developing a sound migration plan, implementing best-in-class security measures, monitoring system performance, providing user training to help our team use new cloud services effectively and securely, and good cost management.” With CUBE 3’s forward-thinking plan set in motion, they’re on course to continue exceeding their client’s expectations while helping accelerate the digital transformation that’s required to advance the industry into a sustainable future, in all senses of the word. 
All images courtesy of CUBE 3. 
Main image: CUBE 3’s wide portfolio of projects includes LightView Apartments student housing at Northeastern University which has been awarded LEED Platinum certification.

Try out Autodesk Forma with our 30-day free trial!

Discover how Autodesk Forma can empower you to make confident, data-driven, decisions.

Explore similar topics

Customer Stories