Want to make the most effective use of your design time?

 design early.

Early design decisions are the most effective – meaning you get the greatest change in outcome for the least work (and cost). The graph of effectiveness vs. time looks something like Fig. 1. BIM advocates have been preaching this gospel for years. Among other benefits, ability to do clash detection in DD rather than CA with modern BIM software is saving millions, if not billions, of dollars. The distribution of work in BIM vs. CAD workflows looks something like Fig. 2. As you push the ‘bulge’ of effort in the workflow to the left (earlier in the project) the graph more closely resembles the ‘ideal’.

Adding Archetris Schema to your project workflow continues the leftward migration. Schema was purpose-built for early design tasks, providing the tools needed for programming, stacking, blocking and preliminary space planning that don’t require re-entering design information with each task.

Effectiveness vs. Time

Fig. 1: Effectiveness vs. Time

Fig. 2: CAD & BIM Workflow

Fig. 3: Schema, CAD & BIM Workflow

 design often.

The best way to judge the quality of a design solution is against other design solutions – compare adjacent alternatives! To generate a lot of solutions for comparison in the very limited time allotted for conceptual design, you’ll need a quick, lightweight design tool that won’t bog you down with unnecessary (at this stage) detail or complexity.

Archetris Schema was built with this in mind. It’s brilliantly simple, blazingly fast, and supports scenarios – letting you quickly create and compare alternate design solutions for your projects.

Is this bright blue?

Which is bright blue?

 design informed.

Good design is a hard thing to measure. One of the few quantitative metrics is whether your design has met the program criteria. Informed design is that feedback loop of designmeasurecompare. The shorter that loop, the more time you have for design.

Schema brings that loop to zero. As you use the graphical design tools, Schema calculates areas, derives the related headcount and compares these values to the project program. You have a live ‘dashboard’ next to the design canvas showing the relationship of your design to the program as you’re designing.

Which one best meets the client’s space requirements?

Which one best meets the client’s space requirements?

Want the most effective tool for early-stage design and planning?

Logo try schema.

Solo, Team or Firm? Pick the plan that best fits your needs and get started for free. Learn more…


streamline design.



Free your mind…
Time spent figuring out design software or re-entering information is time not spent on design. Our Schema app keeps things simple with a modular structure and a natural workflow that lets you use your brain to solve the design issues.


Work where you want…
With our cloud-based solution, you have your design tools anywhere you have a browser and an internet connection. Develop the program at the office, block & stack the project on your commute, show the client on a tablet in their office.


Accelerate your process…
Visualize design concepts, evaluate them against client requirements and refine the ideas; all in about half the time. Refine your design as it seamlessly follows the traditional top-down workflow from program to space plan – one application, no data re-entry.



Project Management

Schema’s Projects module is the home page of the application and provides project navigation, organization & basic project information cataloging.


Schema’s Programming module is built just for architectural programming. Develop the project program quickly and easily. Program sub-areas are automatically totaled for comparison against the target. The app you work in is client-presentation ready.


Schema’s Stacking module is unique in being an interactive design tool. As the second step in the workflow from abstract to concrete, it allows the designer to distribute top-level program areas throughout the project, set adjacencies and develop rough fit plans interactively. Stack multi-site, multi-building projects, comparing your design to the program requirements as you work. As with the Programming module (and all Schema modules) the app you work in is client-presentation ready.


Schema’s Blocking module builds on the work done in Stacking by pre-populating floor plans with the top-level program areas assigned in Stacking. Refine the top-level areas and add additional levels with our dead simple (and patent-pending) interface, creating a multi-level blocking diagram that reflects the program.


Schema’s Planning module lets you lay out your project’s space standards (rooms, cubicles, workstations, etc.) quickly & easily – comparing your design to the program requirements as you work.


The Stacking, Blocking and Planning modules all have sidebars that show you the status of your design relative the to the project program. Schema’s Reporting module provides more comprehensive and detailed analysis of your project – client presentation ready, of course.


Who is Schema for?

Schema is built for architects, by architects but just because it’s built for architects doesn’t mean you have to be working for an architecture firm for it to be useful. Commercial Real Estate and Corporate Real Estate professionals are also using Schema, particularly those focused on Strategic Planning. We’ve also had some interest by Urban Planning studios. If you’re designing or planning projects with complex programs, Schema might be a good fit.

What does Schema do?

Schema supports the traditional iterative top-down design workflow with a single, modular, cloud based app. You can take your project from Programming to preliminary Space Planning. Starting with the most spatially abstract task, Programming, your project progresses through each task, refining the design through preliminary Space Planning. Schema follows the traditional Programing > Stacking > Blocking > Space Planning workflow. Each step in the workflow is a design process. Other digital tools take you directly from Programming to Space planning, with Stacking and Blocking as reports, not design processes.

We built Schema to help you move quickly through the early stage design tasks where speed is critical (more on that here). Schema helps you quickly develop preliminary design decisions and present those designs to clients with easily understandable graphics. Get client buy-in & feedback and move your project forward based on solid, verifiable information.

What kinds of projects benefit from Schema?

Program driven projects. If you’re developing programs for your projects, Schema could help.
If you’re referring to your project’s program in an Excel workbook, Schema could save you a lot of time.

If you’re developing fit plans or design alternates, if you’re looking at the design solutions for your client’s projected growth, Schema supports that. If you’re exploring the implications of hotelling or mobility ratios, Schema is a solution.

The markets where Schema has had the most impact are Healthcare, Commercial / Corporate (particularly Workplace Strategies, Higher Education and Science + Technology.

What is this Informed Design thing?

Informed Design is what we’re calling the process of developing a design graphically while staying informed of the quantitative impact on the design through an continuously updating ‘design dashboard’. With Schema’s informed design you can: place and size stacking areas on a floor and see instantly how much of each program area remains unplaced in the project; adjust the size of a blocking area and see instantly how your design compares to the program and the stacking design; keep track of the remaining program spaces as they’re placed in the project.

Does Schema work with Revit?

Yes! With the plugin for Autodesk Revit (currently in beta), the work you did in Schema moves seamlessly into the later design stages. Blocking and Planning designs can be brought into Revit and updated with changes made in Schema. Blocking is brought in as 3D conceptual mass elements, stacked so you can visualized your program hierarchy. Spaces are brought in as rooms. Sign up for the Revit plugin beta here.

Does Schema support design options?


Does Schema support phases?


Can I import my existing Excel programs?

Yes! Details here.

Can I import backgrounds?

Yes! You can import images and CAD files (dxf format) to use as backgrounds for Blocking and Planning. They’re incredibly easy to scale and change so you can start with a rough idea of the building background (an owner’s sketch or photo of the exit plan) and change that out as more refined backgrounds become available.

What does it cost?

Nothing! Through the end of 2015 we’re not charging for Schema Why? We want to get as many people using Schema as we can to provide feedback. Let us know what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing. We’re developing fast.

After the end of the free-for-all period, we will continue to have a free version of Schema which will have some limitations on collaboration and number of projects. The ‘firm’ version of Schema (enterprise sounded too grandiose) will have two different pricing models, one based on a fixed number of users with fixed costs and another based on active users and variable costs. We’re still working out the details but the target is for Schema to cost considerably less than what you save in productivity gains. Happier planners and designers are a bonus.

When will Schema < fill in the blank>?

That will depend, of course, on what you fill in that blank with, what other users fill in that blank with, and how well that blank filling feature fits with our vision. We are a small but agile firm. You’d be amazed what we’ve build in just the last few months. We’re actively seeking feedback and new ideas through our feedback & support site. Add yours.

How do you pronounce Archetris?


Archetris = Architecture + Tetris

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