3 technologies architects should learn in 2017

During the past 12 months, the architecture industry has welcomed in a host of new technological advancements that will not only shape the next decade and beyond for construction, but will more than likely dictate it. BSBG Lead Architect, Alistair Bradley, looks at three new tech developments that every architect needs to adopt and embrace. These are three that look like they are here to stay…

(With contributions from Chris Day, Mark Vaughan and Loc Do…)

1. Virtual Reality

3 technologies architects should learn in 2017

It’s taken a while, but virtual reality is now at the stage where it’s advanced enough to be able to represent a credible addition to architecture at all stages. For more than five years now BIM has enabled 3D walkthrough models of buildings to be a possibility. Now, new tech companies are flooding the market targeting architectural practices and developers – armed with VR Headsets and software that integrates designs previously modelled in staple software such as Revit and SketchUp.

There are those that question the worth of investment in VR – isn’t it style with little substance? In actual fact the benefits that VR adoption represents are multiple. The decision making process can be shortened dramatically through the use of a VR walkthrough model. Clients can get a full spatial understanding of the design, room to room, hall to hall – especially advantageous if they are not from a technical background.

Immersive, and eventually cost-reducing (the need for an expensive physical model to be made may quickly become a thing of the past), now is the time for practices to look at how adopting a VR app could reap numerous benefits long term. Visualisation is something that comes naturally to architects – the same may not always be true of developers. As VR continues to develop, it’s likely that judgements will be made with more information and thus purpose.

2. Dynamo for Revit

3 technologies architects should learn in 2017

This lightweight programming tool works with Autodesk Revit and in conjunction with other programs, and will become for many a preferred graphical sketch place. Dynamo has some unique features and strong built-in visualisation capabilities that provide speedy design, accuracy and a rich colour palette.

At present, BSBG uses Dynamo to extract and modify model information on a more convenient visual platform, before reinserting it into Revit. It’s also used for comparison checks outside of the modelling software, for example relating to a comparison check between the design and the briefing requirements.

Dynamo would best be termed as a visual programming platform. For those familiar with BIM Link, this tool is a more visually pleasing version of this – although each does have its own distinct limitations.

Other features include the capacity to define bespoke textures and to develop building envelopes. For any forward thinking concept design team, it’s likely that Dynamo open source will become this year’s must have software.

More information can be found here: www.dynamobim.org

3. Touchscreen

3 technologies architects should learn in 2017

Touchscreen technology is now commonplace in architecture, and in the BSBG offices from Director to Senior Architectural Technologist level, utilisation of touchscreen technology on tablet is now happening on a day to day basis to develop, coordinate and design, as well as instantly communicating comments on sketches. It also negates the need for printing drawings entirely.

Both Apple and Microsoft have a strong presence in the market, and there are a number of apps from Autodesk available on both platforms. Also look out for Concepts by TopHatch, this is an app which has received glowing reviews among our architects.

Look out for a forthcoming blog entitled: ‘Cloud and touchscreen advancements in BSBG’, coming soon from Senior Architectural Technologist Chris Day.

To find out more about BSBG’s design capabilities, take a look at our portfolio here, or contact us directly.