Technology and architecture: The digitisation of architecture


These days, everything evolves in a succession of giant leaps, a fact that is particularly true in the case of technology. Architecture, like any other discipline, is constantly changing. Technological evolution is changing the way we work, think and create.

Digitisation within this sector is gradually advancing along a road that involves the adoption of a new methodology known as Building Information Modelling (BIM) i.e., the virtual construction of buildings in 3D prior to a project becoming a reality in the physical world aimed at anticipating any potential problems that may arise during construction.

Recent years have also seen an increase in the use of social media in relation to architectural firms publishing their creative output, which principally consists of diagrams, plans and visuals for ongoing projects. Enter the word ‘architecture’ into a search engine such as Google and you will be presented with a vast array of visual content.

Architecture is based on several highly complex processes that are not obvious when viewed via virtual imagery. This is an area of concern for many sector professionals who worry that a client looking at a project on screen may not fully appreciate the extent of this long and costly process and perceive it to be simpler and more straightforward than it really is.

In a survey conducted by the Superior Council of Architects’ Associations of Spain (CSCAE) in May 2016, 3,000 sector professionals revealed that they were neither using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology themselves nor collaborating with other colleagues who used it.

One of the areas of debate centres around the perception and vision these professionals have in relation to this technology and its systems. While 51% see it as an opportunity in its capacity to improve project management, 11% see it as a real threat as something that could potentially limit creativity. And then there is the other 38% that are either not wholly convinced or share the opinions of both groups.

‘The survey shows that BIM knowledge is far more extensive than we had expected,’ says CSCAE president Jordi Ludevid. Going on to explain that implementation may be slow as a result of the ‘difficulty of adapting to a new technology at a time of limited activity, following ten years of crisis and fees that are almost indecently low.’ As a result, Ludevid estimates that it may be at least a decade before we see BIM systems being used as a matter of course across the whole of the construction sector.

It is vital to understand that technology use in architecture will facilitate improvements in terms of better adapting buildings and spaces to their surroundings compared to those built up to this point. Technology makes it possible to regulate the interior temperature and humidity conditions so that they are always optimal.

The huge advances made have changed the way architects work, with design processes now automated, responding to new methods of organisation. Architects, therefore, need to provide a response in the context of a highly competitive environment in which technological tools play a vital role in the ability to develop a good design.



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