Architecture and technology have gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of modern civilization, and over the past few years, new technology in architecture has emerged more rapidly than ever before. With innovative materials, virtual reality and the Internet of Things changing technological architecture, innovation isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Technology and architecture will continue to grow together over the next decade and beyond, so here are some of our predictions on the future of architecture technology. The craft of architecture will never stop evolving — will you?
Today’s architects have unparalleled access to data and technology-driven analytics that allow them to focus more on innovation than ever before. Technology is helping architects take huge strides in design, algorithm, adaptability, robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality (and optimizing performance for all of it along the way).
You may be using some of the following technology, but if you aren’t, what’s stopping you? It’s understandable to cling to tradition and focus on “what works,” but architects who choose to ignore technological advancements risk getting left behind.
Sketchbooks used to be clunky, covered in graphite shavings and easy to misplace when they weren’t hogging the desk. Now, sketchbooks can be completely digital with countless drawings saved in a folder. Architects can draw, recall, save, collaborate and share with clients all from the flick of a digital pencil.
While it seems relatively new, 3D printing has been around for quite some time: It’s been in practice for 40 years and has been theorized since the 1940s.
3D printing machines are constantly evolving, producing various building gadgets, accessories and even building materials. Builders and manufacturers have normalized making small parts for machines, and recently, 3D printing has been applied to structures on a much larger scale, like buildings, bridges and entire homes. Architects can use 3D printing to show clients in miniature form what their design will look like in life.
The Internet of Things has revolutionized the power of convenience in homeowners, meaning architects have had to evolve. Smart technology is growing rapidly with home security, energy efficiency and comfortability improvements at the forefront of home design. Architects have the opportunity to integrate smart technologies into their designs, or they risk losing out to a more competitive firm.
Virtual Reality, or VR, can assist in making models and renderings more realistic than ever before. By investing in VR, architects can not only show clients exactly what their home is going to look like before a hammer hits a nail, but actually walk them through the space. VR is growing in popularity because while the initial investment is high, the cost savings in design reversals and gaining total customer satisfaction is worth it.
This new software helps architects be able to predict the way differences in climate will impact a building before the foundation is even set. Climate change is happening, and while we’re trying to slow it down, consequences will ripple across the globe.
Predictive software can help architects prepare for the unstoppable and create more flexible, durable structures. Ultimately, it can assist in decision-making during the planning and construction phase and help create safer buildings.
While the technology has been around, it’s not in frequent use in architecture and building firms yet. But 3D printing is fast, inexpensive and can be used to create incredibly strong structures. Architecture teams can save time and money by utilizing 3D printing, allowing clients to make their changes before the construction process starts. It’s only a matter of time before 3D printing becomes mainstream in everyday building design.
The use of virtual reality technology is expected to grow in architecture as firms, VR companies and BIM software developers work collaboratively to create more seamless VR workflows. Advancements in products are happening every day to facilitate a greater connection between the physical and digital realms of design. From marketing materials to overlay building plans, augmented reality is bound to soar.
Many architects are coining a new phenomenon as “hybrid reality,” where real, physical environments (like a worksite) and virtual, digital environments (like design modules) meet. Clients can now see their actual physical location transform into their dream design with virtual elements and modifications.
The integration of physical spaces and virtual ones will only become more fluid, resulting in innovative ideation, information sharing, building management and client engagement.
Adding sensors to BIM, or Building Information Modeling, can now measure data and send information, streamlining data collection that can be used in future projects. Once a building is up and running, data from the placed IoT sensors can be pulled into the BIM. This data can be used to model energy usage patterns, movement of people throughout the building or even temperature trends. Any data output can be used to improve future projects.
Up to 40% of all solid waste in the United States comes from building projects. To change that, architects of the future are going to need to focus on “greener” construction. Customers are more and more interested in eco-friendly and sustainable building options, and the green building movement is influencing the design and engineering of building systems across the globe.
Focusing your designs on sustainable substitutions or add-ons will be beneficial for your business and the planet.
Prefabricated building components are making a comeback. Through RFID technology, this once outdated technology now allows for more cost-savings and time-savings compared to traditional building methods.
RFID allows prefab parts to be closely monitored and tracked throughout their journey in the supply chain. RFID data mitigates the effects of any downstream delays in the construction schedule and can give a real-time rendering of the building as construction progresses.
Technology in architecture means a lot of things — mostly all good. Advancements mean architects can work faster and more efficiently and allow them to communicate their visions more vividly and efficiently to their clients. Architects can work towards making clients’ lives easier and more stress-free while planning for years ahead, adding so much value to their own everyday life.
Embrace the rise of technology and use it to your advantage — there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.At Nichiha, we utilize advancing technologies to help us create high-quality, high-performing building materials for architects. Check out Nichiha’s fiber cement product offerings or contact our team to find out what technologies can help you on your next project.