Technology is revolutionising the way that architects work. When computer-aided design (CAD) was first introduced back in the 1960s, the pace of technological advancements has been rapid and architects understand the need to innovate. The advent of new technologies moving from 2D to 3D in architecture means that there are benefits to both clients and architects and significant time and cost savings can be made.
A recent study carried out by RIBA, in partnership with Microsoft, entitled ‘Digital Transformation in Architecture’ reported that the way organisations operate has changed significantly in the last few years, and 87% agree that digital technologies are transforming the way that they work now.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) offers a single digital model of a building that everyone from architect, client, suppliers, builders and environmental managers can work on collaboratively. The BIM methodology has had a dramatic impact on the architecture and design industry and adoption has been rapid and continues to grow.
Apart from its significant value as a three-dimensional design tool, the industry is being encouraged to adopt BIM by the UK government. From April 2016, they have required that any public-sector project must use the technology. Another benefit is that it simplifies the environmental planning in a building resulting in more sustainable projects.
A recent study by the Royal Institute of British Architects’ National Building Specification reported that 39% of those working in British construction (architects, engineers and surveyors) believe that BIM will lead to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions which is great news from a sustainability point of view for the UK.
Bringing designs to life
Along with BIM, we expect that the adoption of mixed, augmented and virtual reality are set to grow and RIBA reports that 32% of architects are using at least one form already. But what exactly are they..?
Virtual reality is a computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets, sometimes in combination with physical spaces or multi-projected environments, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are ‘augmented’ by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
Mixed reality, sometimes referred to as hybrid reality, is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
All of these immersive visual environments are actively helping to bridge the gap between client and architect and enable designs to be brought to life before building has even started. These cutting-edge technologies can help at every stage of the project for architects with permit approvals, property design, marketing purposes, and also to support property sales.
We've come a long way from the humble hand-drawn sketch, but what you do you think is set to change our industry? We'd love to hear from you...
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