After the 20th century, a huge boom in technological sectors was observed in many fields across the world, with architecture being one of them. Since then, this industry has been growing and expanding to suit the needs of the developing world. This helped people to move away from conventional architecture to creative, economical, transformative, and more efficient structures and practices. 

Here are some of the digital innovations that shaped the architectural industry:

1. Planning and Designing tools: 

Computer-aided design tools overthrew their manual counterparts and computers replaced drafting tables in architectural firms around the world. These tools gained popularity due to their time-efficient nature, accuracy, and the flexibility that they provided to the designer. AutoCAD, Rhino, and Revit are some of the most widely used software for this purpose. 

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2. BIM:

Developed in the early 2000s, the Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process which spans many components on the spectrum of architectural design like planning, development, spatial relationships, quantities and properties of various components of a building and also sustainability. This innovation has helped architects all around the world in visualizing and metamorphosing designs.

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3. Virtual reality: 

Due to massive advancements in science, virtual reality is a technology that we can enjoy in today’s world. Going beyond the physical constraints of the world, this technology allows designers to experience and understand different spaces before their construction with the use of high-resolution imagery. Virtual reality devices such as HTC Vive and Oculus when integrated with BIM software, allow for an immersive experience of ‘walking’ through a virtual room to observe a project at various stages of its design process. 

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4. Artificial intelligence: 

Artificial intelligence is a technology that can process tons of data and utilize it according to the algorithm provided. This is especially useful for handling menial and tasks which require a huge amount of time, leaving the designer free for more creative endeavors. In the early designing stages, this can help in researching and compiling information such as zoning data, local building codes, and construction laws. Smart cities are seen nowadays, with AI devices that react to real-time situations to provide comfort to the user and help in improving the energy consumption of a building. 

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5. Surveying software:

Collecting information on a site is one of the most crucial steps in the design process of an architect. In previous years this was done manually, with the architect or the civil engineer surveying and measuring the land with the help of equipment. But, due to advancements now, applications are available to capture a location with its measurements accurately.

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6. Project Management Tools:

Henry Gantt created Gantt’s chart outlining all the factors involved in the actualization of a building, which kickstarted a chain of innovations leading to the development of project management software. This innovation improved the work of many fields including architecture where it is used for all stages of work to improve functionality and complete projects in reduced time. Software like ArchiOffice, Outplanr, and actiTime support architects for the management of activities like planning, distribution of work, budgeting, scheduling, and billing.

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7. Environmental Simulation tools: 

With the growing concerns regarding the environmental crisis that we face today, the demand for sustainability and green buildings has increased leading to the development of software with performance-driven priorities. These tools are used to simulate and analyze factors such as energy consumption, airflow, temperatures, and humidity to derive efficient designs for infrastructures, landscapes, buildings, and cities. 

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8. 3D printing: 

Architects, Civil engineers, and other professionals working in the construction field require the 3D printing technology to make proportional physical models with accurately detailed features which save modeling costs and time as compared to hand-made products used previously. These models are used for presenting ideas to the client, evaluating and changing various designs, depicting the placement of a particular building in a site. 

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9. Graphic Designing tools:

The major tool for communication in architectural design is the graphical presentation. Graphic Designing tools help an architect pitch his design by improving content like the company logo, infographics, illustrations, presentation drawings, and descriptions. A variety of presentation techniques can now be used with the help of software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator to visually represent the design for a better understanding of the client.

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10. Document management software:

One of the oldest and most important innovations that have boosted the progress of many disciplines is the document managing tools. Unlike earlier times when the sheets occupied a huge amount of space due to multiple improvisations in design, this innovation provides virtual spaces that accommodate massive amounts of data with convenient access for sharing and editing.

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Author

An architect who strongly believes that architecture can influence and bring about a change in society for the better. While actively involved in humanitarian work, a lot of her free time is spent in reading, thinking about life and writing about her revelations.'

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