Purpose In performative architectural design, daylighting is a crucial design consideration; however, the evaluation of daylighting in the design process can be challenging. Immersive environments (IEs) can create a dynamic, multi-sensory, first-person view in computer-generated environments, and can improve designers' visual perception and awareness during performative design processes. This research addresses the need for interactive and integrated design tools for IEs toward better-performing architectural solutions in terms of daylighting illumination. In this context, building information modeling and performance simulations are identified as critical technologies to be integrated into performative architectural design. Design/methodology/approach This research adopts a design science research (DSR) methodology involving an iterative process of development, validation and improvement of a novel and immersive tool, HoloArch, that supports design development during daylighting-informed design processes. HoloArch was implemented in a game engine during a spiral software development process. HoloArch allows users to interact with, visualize, modify and explore architectural models. The evaluation is performed in two workshops and a user study. A hybrid approach that combines qualitative and quantitative data collection was adopted for evaluation. Qualitative data analyses involve interviews, while quantitative data analyses involve both daylighting simulations and questionnaires (e.g. technology acceptance model (TAM), presence and system usability scale (SUS)). Findings According to the questionnaire results, HoloArch had 92/100 for SUS, a mean value of 120.4 for presence questionnaire (PQ) and 9.4/10 for TAM. According to the simulation results, all participants improved the given building's daylighting performance using HoloArch. The interviews also indicated that HoloArch is an effective design tool in terms of augmented perception, continuous design processes, performative daylighting design and model interaction. However, challenges still remain regarding the complete integration of tools and simultaneous simulation visualization. The study concludes that IEs hold promising potentials where performative design actions at conceptual, spatial and architectural domains can take place interactively and simultaneously with immediate feedback. Originality/value The research integrates building information modeling (BIM), performative daylighting simulations and IEs in an interactive environment for the identification of potentials and limitations in performative architectural design. Different from existing immersive tools for architecture, HoloArch offers a continuous bidirectional workflow between BIM tools and IEs.