Tech Talk: At the Forefront of Architectural Technology

Recently, Corgan promoted 12 leaders to Associate Principals and Principals—recognizing the firm’s industry trailblazers, conversation-starters, and innovators. As the digital revolution continues to top the list of 2019 trend forecasts across several industries including workplace design, education, aviation, and healthcare, we tapped our some of our newly promoted leaders for their take on the biggest tech game changers in architecture and design.

 
Which technologies have made the biggest impact on architecture and design?

We’re now seeing 3D models viewed in real-time and extracted straight from Revit models. It’s a great added visualization tool. Our studios create Revit models during schematic design and in conjunction with Adobe Suite software, we can easily create fast and effective renderings for client presentations. For complex, technical projects, Revit and Navisworks, in conjunction with our engineering subconsultants, identify potential conflicts with building systems and infrastructure. As the design and BIM model is developed, it is shared with the engineering team. Using their respective Revit software, the engineers can then “build” their engineering designs straight into the Revit model – streamlining what was once a very tedious process.

– Jim Rojas, Associate Principal, New York


Design consultant tools have changed radically over the last 20 years, from hand drafting, to CAD, to BIM. Our design teams are designing concepts in 3D and quickly producing models that are used to accurately convey a space at its earliest stage. Infinite revisions can be made in real time and immersive 3D models can be experienced, understood, coordinated and eventually approved by clients.

– George Kahler, Associate Principal, New York


 
What competitive advantage does this give your work?

Technological advances in our practice have allowed us to communicate tremendously more easily with clients. Specifically, the experience of the spaces that we design can now be visualized in a meaningful way prior to construction. Augmented reality, virtual reality and other advances in three-dimensional experiential software is increasing in prevalence and expectation. Our approach to integrating these design solutions as it relates to placemaking and providing a backstory that gives more input to our clients—leading to better decision making.

– Joe Haver, Principal, Dallas


Two years ago, virtual reality was a design tool that was presented as little more than an added services. Since then, our design studio in Phoenix has embraced VR as a key part of our workflow and application--so much so that it has become an integral part of the way we do business. VR is no longer just an additional service but an expectation. Speed to market is a critical factor in bringing new services into a market. Clients appreciate any tool that we bring to the table that helps streamline this process. We have now extended our VR service to all our healthcare clients and there has been a unanimous appreciation of this service. It guides clients and design teams alike to faster decisions and helps the end-users visualize a space.

– AJ Thomas, Principal, Phoenix


 
What benefits can clients expect from emerging tech in architecture and design?

We are rolling out a new service for our clients with 3D point cloud technology. Using a laser scanner and tripod, multiple scans are taken within an 8’ x 8’ grid and various angles to “map-out” an interior space which is then uploaded to the cloud. The as-built data is captured, allowing our team to translate it into a Revit model, with millimeter accuracy. Point cloud modeling service is in high-demand as it eliminates the number of man-hours required for generating as-built drawings. This is a gamechanger for projects by reducing the potential for errors in architectural and engineering site surveys. The 3D scanners also provide 360-degree “true-views” or photo-realistic views that provide a point of reference and eliminate the need to revisit the site. Data collected between multiple floors can be “stitched” together to create a seamless 3D site survey. Our studio is excited to be at the forefront of this technology; recently completing the 3D Point Cloud scan of Zebra Technologies’ facility in San Diego.

– Jim Rojas, Associate Principal, New York


Recently a client challenged us to design a highly specific workstation for a technical engineering group that required many iterations and feedback sessions to perfect. Multiple options were produced which extended to 3D printed models to enhance the ability to test and experience the solutions. Ultimately, a highly bespoke solution was agreed upon and the 3D modeling minimized risk prior to manufacture.

– George Kahler, Associate Principal, New York


 
So, what’s next?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an advancement I expect will have huge impacts on the way we fundamentally practice architecture. AI’s ability to use data to make decisions and recommendations in the early design process will be a central shift in the way we approach design. Tools like Grasshopper, with its ability to perform geometric programming and complex algorithms, allows architects to analyze and optimize their designs like never before. Of course, nothing can replace the human element of design, but now we have the ability to go through literally thousands, if not millions of options, permutations, and combinations to come up with the ideal solution for clients.

– AJ Thomas, Principal, Phoenix

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