As we grow and evolve in today’s world we are surrounded by hi-tech gadgets, artificial intelligence to big databases for any knowledge that we seek. Collaterally, the architecture industry has grown and expanded as an impact of these technologies resulting in quicker, easier, and pervasive outcomes. But looking at the nature of working, it makes one question the architecture from the past to present.
At a time when the hope of technology driving us throughout our day has engraved quite deep imprints on the way, we function compared to our past.
While the younger generation in homes where people associated with the industry grew up watching their ancestors from a corner, witnessing lengthy discussions on a long wooden table over sheets almost a blanket size. A long stare right at the drawing sheets trying to fathom what it could mean, but having way too many designs and diagrams to grasp at one go over the various sizes and types of sheets would make it a complex business.
The prolonged hours over the drafting table sketching and drawing with pencils, pens with drafter creating blueprints and glass copies—later, those sheets occupied a whole room space to be kept safe, free of dampness and crease.
Which has now with time become extinct, so the question is: what changed or what has got upgraded?
Firstly, the way we captured the data. There was a time, bundles of handwritten paper notes recording college works, site observations, lectures, and detailed notes, now turned into mobile applications and digitized data. It was grueling at those times to duplicate as one had to redraw the sheets from scratch with glass copying, in contrast, to present time, the presence of software and technologies has resulted in achieving tasks at a lightning speed.
The most critical task in the design process is site visits which consist of site notes, on-site measurements, and site photos for which I remember them using Polaroid photos for documentation. It has changed in the current times where google earth gives the exact location and site conditions, 3d scanners that can capture minute details.
Our studio spaces
Initially, the studio spaces were equivalent to a large workshop with lots of tables and drafters occupying a vast amount of floor plans. It had a big storage area to store previous project drawing sheets, now just limited to a computer desk. Heavy tools and cluttered workspaces have been replaced by sophisticated working areas, hi-tech software systems with powerful computer processing speed, and high data storage capacity which was probably unimaginable back then over 20 years ago.
The task to spread out notes, site photos, and measurements on a blank sheet of paper and then begin by deciding the format of the presentation sheet has now been ruled out. It is much more effortless and convenient to create standardized and Convertable file formats while recording data and design applications.
With the presence of these tools, it makes the working flow much smoother and communicative as the files can be shared and operated in different formats and software applications without any hassle.
As the practice gets evolved with numerous projects the storage spaces got filled up, initially. Of which the drawing needed to be preserved for about 12 years time by law as a reference to past project information for clients and maintenance works. It would take up hours of searching and digging in boxes in the storeroom to gather drawings of a project.
Thankfully which is now extinct, credits to high storage capacity computers, external storage devices, and backup tools. These technologies help to retain documents and data of decades for decades without a fuss.
As for design interventions, technological advancements have resulted in 3D visualization over virtual and augmented reality. The design perceptions have become a way stronger to understand and visualize before they are built. This software gives spot-on feedback and analysis ranging from structural modification to material selection for climatic analysis of the building design along with space formation and nature of design, guides towards rectifications, and eventually saves cost. It leads a long way from the design boards with the integration of material samples, fell images, and reference drawings.
Additionally, with the help of new and advanced technologies like 3D visualization and 3D printing, it has paved the way towards virtual site inspection and methods that could print a live scale building. 3D printing is the new goal of the construction market as it delivers a much faster construction result in less time with a handful of the labor force. It allows space for interesting geometry and spaces to design with minute precision and accuracy.
By far, we have come a long way in technological advancements that have engulfed the industry extracting godly advancements and achievements. It has more or less lessened our burdens and comforted our working process with swift and facile solutions. It even has acknowledged us of our dominant dependence but made us realize that even if we are surrounded by such tech-giants has been a fascinating experience yet we must not lose touch with basic human skills.