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Can This Multi Touch Interactive Table Help Architects Work Smarter?

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © campuspartycolombia | Flickr

New interactive tools are surfacing to help architects do their job better. One such tool is a multi touch 3-D architectural application which can be used as both an interactive table device and a larger scale screen projection. While I can see such devices being helpful to architects for brainstorming, project reviews, coordination meetings, and client presentations, we really should ask — is this just another “cool” device? Or, does it really help architects like you to do your job better?

Before we go on to talk further about the application technology, I think it best to show you a glimpse of what such multi-touch devices can do:


As you can see, 3-D visualizations are developing past solely working with still renderings or even scripted and locked in place animations — which today mostly run as “replays” of camera movements that serve to walk someone through a space along a predesignated path. But what makes these new multi touch virtual reality environments even more helpful is that they give architects the ability to interact with their construction documents in new ways, that are a bit more interactive and intuitive as they are tools that can be used to answer possible questions that may arise or to spot potential problems that may need to be solved in real time during meetings or client presentations.

By making construction documents link to more comprehensive building “models”, they become a bit more of an immersive experience that not only helps architects “see” their designs better, but also helps them to “explain” them better as other members of their design team, consulting team and client teams seek to more fully understand the implications of certain design decisions…thus, preventing future problems that may arise.

When presenting, such an interactive table or screen application might help clients or other reviewers to feel more “in control” as they travel through a space — being able to question it in the places where they think it needs questioning. In turn, this helps by making them feel more confident if they like what they see and experience, all because this interface helps architects to better communicate their most complex of architectural visions.

Essentially, such new and interactive tools that can be used within both architectural working environments as well as architectural presentation environments are quite important to keep developing. For when designing a building, it helps when tools are optimized so that they help bridge the gap between architects, the unrealized building, and their clients — helping them to make smarter decisions more quickly, prevent future problems from arising during construction, and ensuring that the client sees and is confident that they are getting what they want and need. Needless to say, I do think that there will be a bright future for such multi touch architectural design and presentation interactive tools. So what you think? How could such an interactive tool help you with your architectural design process?





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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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