Advanced technology enhances the way we design buildings, and the evolution of the architecture and design industry owes as much to this as to our own innate creativity and serves to bring our minds' visions to life - more efficiently and with the future in mind. Technologies and tools that are developing quickly and creating design intelligence benefits for architects include innovation into new construction methods, streamlining in collaborative working, smart buildings, and environmental factors amongst others across BIM, RFID tagging, virtual reality, and 3D printing.
Sharing the vision
Visualization is a key proponent to our craft - from sharing ideas in house to pitching to clients - our visions must be presented as ‘true to life' as we can make them, and this is where developments in AI are welcome - interactivity means that we can see building plans literally unfolding in front of ours eyes, or 3D printing of new homes, connecting us to the finished designs like nothing else - If communicating our visions is one of the most important, or indeed, hardest elements of our work - being able to present our plans so realistically is the number one reason to embrace virtual tools going forward.
Making business sense
If we can share our ideas and visions easier, we can also identify changes or client pain points more quickly, negating costly physical changes during construction. A more convenient process for all, enabled by tech, makes for a more cost-effective project, limiting expensive ‘surprises’ along the way.
Efficiency in collaboration
Whitespace Architects were very early adopters of Business Information Modelling (BIM) before we saw industry mandates on utilizing the same across the region. Architects are known to be the earliest users of BIM, followed by contractors - as early as 2008. BIM means that cross-departmental communications are streamlined and project management teams are informed at every step. From design, to engineering and the architects themselves - using BIM ensures an alignment in plans, as above, before any form of cutting or construction takes place.
RFID technology and working smarter
Connecting traditionally ‘dumb’ elements of society to the internet has enabled the rise in ‘smart’ homes and appliances - from thermostats to doorbells. Common elements we are now familiar with are creating trends across construction, architecture, and design.
Sensors in buildings can now be added into the BIM framework to measure traffic, usage of energy, and more. Data collected by such sensors can feedback into the BIM simultaneously and can be studied to enable process efficiency, potential environmental issues, and more to enable improvement to future planning and cut down material wastage.
Whether you can see yourself, your teams or clients popping on a virtual reality headset to experience your plans or designs anytime soon is debatable, but there is no doubt it is the ultimate way to showcase our visions. At every stage of the process, we can share updates from initial concepts right through to the finish on an interior - and that is powerful indeed. Currently - virtual reality is a relatively low-cost option and with the benefits mentioned previously, would be a benefit to project costs as well as a more engaged team and client experience.
However quickly we choose to adopt emerging tech within the architecture and design industry, the benefits to streamlining collaboration, the client working relationship and engagement across project management, as well as the potential for better cost control mean that it is imperative for any modern practice to future proof themselves for the benefit of all stakeholders, from the creative concept to the end-users.