How Emerging Technologies Will Change the Face of Architecture
Decades of supporting leading volume-building programs have made one thing clear: building owners are under constant pressure to find cost savings on construction, maintenance and operations. Answers often appear in the form of technology, such as now-popular LED lights, which not only require less energy, but also reduce maintenance with their long lifespan. Virtual reality has played a part, too, enabling clients to kick the tires of new concepts without the expense of constructing mock-ups. But the one recent technology with the potential to make the biggest impact on saving time and money is Building Information Modeling (BIM). Well beyond early adoption to widespread use among industry leaders, this 3D modeling technology that creates hyper-accurate, information-rich construction documents has the power to unlock even more tech-fueled possibilities.
With that in mind, here are three ways BIM is opening doors for emerging technologies to create greater efficiencies for architectural firms, construction companies and their clients alike.
1. Going beyond Building Information Modeling to Building Information Management
Today’s BIM technology will undergo a metamorphosis to become the Building Information Management technology of tomorrow. This enlightened shift will fully integrate building design with building operations. Owners will remotely filter information in multiple construction documents to create maintenance schedules, track model numbers, view repair histories, access paint colors and more – without the time-consuming hassle of manually hunting down site-specific data. More importantly, the move will empower owners to make smarter, faster decisions regarding change management. Clients will rely on architects to embed robust data in their 3D drawings and create a central database for managing their building portfolio. With the power to immediately retrieve information from, say, hundreds of locations across the country, owners will be able to react to disruption, identify trends, execute change on a larger scale and refresh their brand with game-changing speed to market.
2. Augmented Reality and GPS for More Precise, Efficient Construction
Even with today’s technologies, building with exactness can be time-consuming and difficult, if not impossible. Augmented reality empowered by a localized GPS system at the construction site will deliver unprecedented precision and efficiency. Imagine a contractor in the field with augmented reality glasses that enable him to see exactly where every bolt should be placed, along with installation instructions. It’s easy to see how this level of accuracy — where every angle aligns perfectly down to the millimeter — could foster the use of more pre-fabricated building components, delivered and installed on site with confidence.
3. Creativity in the Midst of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
AI is impacting all industries and professions, and architecture is no exception. The day will come when architects will dictate their ideas through voice recognition to platforms that automatically create 3D models, allowing architects to focus more time on design solutions instead of laboring over the preparation of drawings. On the construction side, automation will accelerate schedules as drones position heavy construction materials for installation. In addition, 3D printing of concrete and other building elements will foster unique ideas and customization by reducing the need for economies of scale. Anticipate fewer workers in the field, and more technology specialists who speak the language of both software programs and architecture.
Mastering New Opportunities
The title “architect” is derived from the Greek “arkhitekton,” or master builder. Tomorrow’s architects will be masters of multiple new technologies, as they leverage science and data to shape more than buildings, but also the business decisions supporting their clients’ goals.