In the last century, advancements in technology have had an undeniable impact on the architecture industry. Whereas before, there was no choice but to build using brick and mortar, the emergence of new technologies has given architects access to building methods that are much less expensive and more sustainable.
With the rise of the internet, these new technologies have been adopted by architects seeking to innovate top-of-the-line designs. This article will explore how these new technologies impact architecture and design, from innovative design technologies to photorealistic rendering software.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things, also known as IoT for short, virtually connects every device, appliance, and service to the internet. Since these devices are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, they can collect and exchange data. It is estimated that by 2023, there will be more than 25 billion connected devices!
Architects and designers utilize this technology by creating buildings that monitor and modify their performance and generate reports. This can be as simple as changing lighting levels throughout the day or as sophisticated as constantly adjusting airflow levels based on room occupancy patterns and human biometrics such as respiration rate.
Architects can also monitor the structural integrity of buildings during the design phase, resulting in better designs emphasizing sustainability and energy efficiency.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality, or VR, is a computer technology that allows users to experience and interact with a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment.
VR applications in architecture can range from low-tech walkthroughs demonstrating a certain space to futuristic models offering a highly interactive experience.
For example, architects and designers use virtual reality to do the following:
- Assess and visualize their projects before construction
- See how designs will work in practice without having to construct a full-scale model first
Indeed, many businesses or individuals seeking to start a business are encouraged to incorporate VR into their work modalities to reduce design costs and materials.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is the process of simulating human intelligence operations by machines, especially computer systems. AI software can learn, plan, solve problems, and make decisions. According to Market.us, the Global Artificial Intelligence Market was valued to be worth USD 129.28 billion in 2022. From 2023 to 2032, it is estimated to reach USD 2967.51 billion growing at a CAGR of 36.8%.
AI utilizes computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software which grants architects access to a large database of architectural knowledge, enabling them to do the following:
- Build structures without resorting to prototypes
- Perform a wide array of complicated calculations and typically time-consuming designs (such as drawing up detailed schematics).
In addition, AI-based simulation software can study elements such as wind, climate control, lighting, traffic flow, etc.
This will help architects create sustainable buildings responsive to human needs and minimize any possible risks before the actual construction.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling, also known as BIM, refers to generating and storing building design and construction information with the help of 3D modeling software. It allows architects, interior designers, and other design professionals to create three-dimensional digital models of their buildings.
Architects face a major challenge when managing the ever-growing amount of complex drawings, plans, and specifications data. This is where BIM comes in:
- BIM reflects an intelligent virtual representation of every aspect of architecture, from structural components to furniture and fixtures. It allows architects to see how their designs translate into reality with less time-consuming processes.
- BIM also allows architects to save time and costs by digitally mapping a building and its systems so that the architect can make better decisions during the design phase, resulting in better project quality control.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality (AR) is an experience that merges the physical world with a virtual one. AR enriches or enhances a physical environment by overlaying computer-generated elements such as sound, video, graphics, etc.
AR in architecture is on the rise since it can digitally reconstruct real spaces and environments from any vantage point with accuracy, allowing architects to save time on tasks that typically require extensive field visits or expensive 3D modeling software.
Using collaboration software for architects, architects can visualize their drawings in detailed 3D structures before starting construction, allowing concerned parties (stakeholders or clients) to better understand the design process without constructing expensive prototypes. In other words, it enables walking through buildings before they’re built.
The term big data describes the collection of disparate datasets collected from various sources that have yet to be processed or analyzed. This technology contributes to business growth and requires many machines working in parallel and powerful software to process the data.
Architects use big data for different purposes. For example, they may use it to collect information about their building’s history or to analyze data trends related to environmental sustainability over a certain period to see how such trends may affect their design in the future.
- Resistance to earthquakes and other natural disasters
- Consumption of resources such as fuel, water, and electricity
- Wind conditions and weather patterns
- Pedestrian patterns
This ultimately contributes to more sustainable and environment-friendly buildings.
It is an exciting time for architects as new technologies are shaping the future of this industry. We have explored software and systems that assist with understanding structural calculations and virtual reality renderings that explore designs without the need for prototypes.
Such applications have changed the way architects approach design and implementation. With technology as the driving force in these changes, future architectural possibilities are endless.
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