Architecture is an Information-Based Business

08Sep16

by Ken Young

Technology + Architecture = Evolution

Technology has changed the age-old profession of architecture irrevocably. While this shift has not significantly altered our core role as designers, architecture has evolved from a document production business to an information management business.

Technology has changed the age-old profession of architecture irrevocably. While this shift has not significantly altered our core role as designers, architecture has evolved from a document production business to an information management business.

Five years ago, the architecture profession saw some profound changes to the way we work that were in large part enabled by technology. Groundbreaking firms began to explore building information modeling and integrated project delivery as highly efficient ways of delivering services and giving more value to clients. Design modeling and 3-D printing allow limitless exploration of form. Imaging and visualization software make it possible to understand projects under any condition.

Analysis software lets us model complex building behavior, including daylighting, environmental performance, structural performance, pedestrian flow, code compliance, and other systems. Production of construction documents, once the primary deliverable, now becomes a report from the model. Increased accuracy and error checking before building in the field enhances the construction process. Workflows that deliver design information directly to fabrication create increased efficiency and provide savings of both time and money. Social media and videoconferencing connect us, shrinking time and space.
This technology infusion changed the landscape of how design firms work and the value we deliver. While there are some small firms that still practice in very traditional ways, other small firms have adopted technology and approaches to radically enhance their ability to take on projects of larger scale and increasing complexity. The capabilities technology provides have completely transformed mid- and large-sized firms.

Over the next few years, technology will continue to impact our business in many areas, particularly with regard to knowledge management, information stewardship, and business intelligence.

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