As an architect, it is important to guide your tools in a way that helps you see deeper into your designs. Yes, using 3D visualization tools do help you to make your initial design vision more tangible. But how can you go beyond this, to leverage technology to better formulate and analyze a concept during your design process?
When designing, technology can do a lot to either enhance or detract from a project. And the way you guide technology integration into your environment is what makes all the difference. For every design decision you make, there is an ultimate consequence that your occupant will experience. And the interaction between those decisions, yield entirely new consequential experiences.
Architectural technology can often act as a double-edged sword. If integrated properly, it can benefit building occupants – but if improperly integrated, technology can greatly detract from all that your environment is trying to accomplish. When thinking about sensory design, technology becomes an important factor to consider.
Have you ever experienced a building that was painful? This is a building that may have been designed well in some ways, but it lacked the proper integration of architectural technology. You see, when technology is tacked on within an environment as an afterthought, the space will likely suffer in its ability to provide an experience that empowers occupants – from a multi-sensory design perspective.
Google is unveiling a virtual reality paintbrush which allows one to create three-dimensional design forms to human scale. By wearing a headset and waving a hand-held paint-brush tool, a designer can create a virtual world limited only by their imagination.
By using 4D printing technology, they are now able to create forms that shapeshift once immersed in water. This is an interesting technique that has far-reaching applications — particularly for the discipline of architectural design thinking.
In the past, architectural technology design has served to improve the standard of living. From better lighting and air quality to innovative tools that free up occupant time, technology has been evolving to help alleviate occupant repetitive tasks, and other painful environmental aspects. But what if technology could do more?
In an age where communication occurs in real-time, architectural technology design is critical to get right. When designed well, technology integrated into environments can actually “unite” people with each other and with the healthy activities which are best for them and that they enjoy most. In this case, architectural technology becomes a “connector” where new interactions become possible between people, and for people.
As evolutionary trends continue, emerging technologies are getting smaller, cheaper, and smarter — all of which push technology to become evermore ubiquitous. And as technologies continue to integrate into our daily lives through architectural environments, such innovations evolve to not only become more flexible, interactive and adaptable; but to eventually disappear.
As new innovations like the Apple iWatch emerge — one can’t help but explore what possibilities lie ahead as they make their way into the market. Of course, there will be a multitude of new applications that make good use of the hardware that smart watches like the iWatch use to help them interface with their human wearers.
As new technologies are being developed, architecture is getting better at communicating with its occupants. For example, real-time communication can occur between a building’s system and an occupant’s clothing — or other worn devices, like interactive lenses.
The beautiful Notre Dame de Paris has been recently merged with new Philips lighting technologies. In fact, its interior has been entirely augmented with state-of-the-art LED lighting that allows for Notre Dame to be experienced anew.
Just about everywhere you go, there is a digital screen within the built environment. Such digital screens can be in the form of television screens, computer screens or even interactive window screens. You see, each of the latter acts as a focal point or anchor within a space — sometimes detracting from building function, and other times adding to it.
An investment in the CubeSensor seems minimal compared to the benefits that it would provide. Imagine being able to fine tune your surroundings while trying to work, exercise, cook, or even sleep. Each activity may call for slight adjustments in environmental quality — adjustments that the next version of the CubeSensor may help to communicate.
All of these advantages of wearable technology will change your building occupant. They will be more informed, more self-aware, and more connected. In fact, they will even connect to their surrounding environments in new ways.
There is a new way to visualize architecture and communicate its design. It is a new method which comes in the form of the “holographic architectural representation system”.
Building construction is often an endeavor that takes a long time and costs a lot of money. Thus, advancements are being made that are changing the very nature of the way construction occurs. You see, by using robots to build houses, many benefits can be gained — particularly when those homes are built using the “Contour Crafting” method.
Touch technologies are now evolving, where sensors are being embedded in building features like doorknobs. And as a result, building doorknobs are becoming able to read not just that there is a touch, but that the touch was comprised of certain fingers.
Due to social media, it becomes ever more possible to form a first impression of a place before ever having visited it in person. With social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it becomes possible to broadcast “place” using photographs, video, or text-based commentary. Rarely is a place simply a place anymore — as events occur within such places that result in merging the physical with the virtual.
As architectural technology gains greater capability to do more, will occupants like doing less? Well, I think much of the debate revolves around two issues: control and privacy. And when these two issues are dealt with correctly, technology can serve to lift limitations — so occupants can do more of the things they want to do.
As architects, often there is a gap between the vision for a building design and the existence of materials available with which it can be built. Yet, the gap between creative vision and creative tools is also just as important --- but in a different way.
As you design your architectural concept, it may help you to think of design features and their materials as exuding both scientific and poetics effects. For the scientific, one may question how a particular design was achieved. While for the poetic, one may question how a particular effect was captured. In either case, the scientific understanding when coupled with poetic meaning leads can lead to amazing beauty.
What if while designing, your creative exploration takes you down a path toward an architectural idea that is "unbuildable"? Once you make the realization that your design approach cannot be physically realized…what do you do next?