Sushant Verma, the co-founder of rat[LAB] India, talks about how technology as a phenomenon and a medium will revolutionize the way architecture works in the architect of the future conference held in Ukraine in October 2019. He discusses how designers, architects, or engineers need to bridge the gap between design and technology through innovation. He further adds how the true potential of technology lies in the usage and transferring the information into knowledge and application.
Speaking about rat[LAB], Sushant Verma explains that their goal when they started in 2012 was to bridge the gap between design and technology. And to achieve this, they have radically reformed the way their studio works by picking up a more collaborative practice and joining hands with innovators from all over the world. They take up projects of various types and scales and feed off knowledge produced globally to find ways to instill technology into it. Rat[LAB]’s methodologies include computational design and parametric design.
When speaking about the major challenges, Sushant Verma explains his concern that even though people use various gadgets, they don’t understand or adapt to technology. It is because the information available about the technology does not get transferred into knowledge. Although it is a threat, Sushant Verma sees it as an opportunity to facilitate the young minds of the world to get better acquainted with the world of technology through his rat[LAB] education program. He expresses how our idea of technology is so limited, and collaboration becomes necessary to evolve and learn together.
“We are not ready for the present,” says Sushant Verma, when asked about the traits of a future-ready architect. He bases this argument on the idea that we still learn from our past blunders and projects, whereas being futuristic is staying one step ahead of time. The root cause of this issue lies in how we perceive and understand technological aids, which is shallow.
He adds that basic exposure to technology will help in that and how it is vital to have an in-depth understanding of how things work like, not just knowing to use software but comprehend its mechanism and methodology and how it solves a problem. He also feels that it is imperative to understand and study the extraterrestrial planet as it will help us solve problems that may arise in the future in our world.
The way we look at utilizing the technology is what would make the essential difference in the impact it provides is which he says adding that innovation does have its own set of pros and cons. He adds that learning to use technology from different stances will strengthen our analytical point of view.
Sushant Verma discusses the interrelationship between a local problem and a global problem, how every local problem has a global impact. While conversing about issues, he explains how sustainability and climate change have been commercialized and how our approach towards smart products/homes/cities is unaware and ignorant of its consequences that not only entail sustainability or climate change.
He clarifies this by saying that technology is a power that can be good but can be a source of destruction at the same time. Hence, it becomes necessary to keep in check how it is being used and to opt for a non-linear approach to studying global and local problems.
Speaking on emerging technologies, Sushant Verma says that there is no specific technology right now, which can be claimed as the future of emerging technologies. As every time a technology is understood and used, it becomes obsolete, as something new has already arrived at that time, which is why it is hard to bridge the gap.
He explains that every technology has its timeline of origin, rise, evolution, and decline, known as the hype cycle. Technology is rarely being used in the right way to gain full potential. He adds that only 2.5 percent of people known as innovators develop and use the technology in the right way. As to extract full use out of the technology, we need to understand its technique and evolution, he says. Right now, Computational design offers a lot of application to various fields of design and is transforming the way they work, he adds.
When asked why construction has not been digitized yet, he explains, how the process of change will be slow, as still in countries like India, manual labor proves to be more efficient than machines. And he also says, a complete transformation is quite impossible as long as humanity yet shortly, there will be a considerate amount of development like large-scale digitalization, in the field of architecture once we find different and smart usage of available technologies, as they did in the other fields.
He concludes by saying that even presently, people are hesitant to approach technology, and to overcome this hurdle, he gives us a two-step solution. The solution to embrace technology lies in adopting and adapting. First, we need to learn to adopt technology and then adapt to it.
Sushant Verma’s interview proves how vital it has become for us designers to embrace technology into our creations for the better. His words enlighten the fact that even though we use the technology, we are not utilizing it to its maximum potential, which will impact our planet for the better. As architects, designers, or engineers, our focus should lie on functionality and problem-solving. So, if technology can facilitate the process of finding a solution through innovative methodologies, we need to acknowledge it and use it to deliver revolutionary projects.