How Technology is Enhancing Architectural Design and Project Delivery
This week Arch Felix Lati, the Managing Partner at Lexicon + Ion shares his perspectives on architecture and technology, how he sees the current application of technological innovation and where he sees the future.
Q. What are your thoughts on technology in architecture
A. One of the challenges when delivering architectural solutions is time. The other is precision. Technology is able to assist in overcoming both. Technology does not remove from or replace the creative side of the practice but is there to enhance it.
Q. Might you have any case studies where technology made the difference?
A. We were recently in a competition that required a very quick turnaround. The project was an interior fit-out so we were dealing with an existing space. The first assignment was of course to measure out the space so we could work the design. Usually, this would require physical measurement which is time-consuming and subject to human error.
We have recently invested in a 3D laser scanner that is able to scan the space and create a pointcloud. Pointclouds are essentially a series of dots arranged in space to represent real-world elements accurately. You end up with an accurate 3D model of any space, indoor and outdoor. This proved to be a viable solution to overcome both these challenges of timeliness and accuracy.
Pointclouds can be imported into BIM software and converted into BIM elements. From here, with the as-built model having been created, it was easier to move on to create the new interior fit-out design and model. This time saving allowed us plenty of time to work out the design and also to work with MEP Engineers who also created and shared their models and we are able to combine the models to create an accurate render. With plenty of time on our hands, we were also able to accurately detail and cost the project. Being a “design-build” bid this was critical.
Q. What do you see as the future of technology in architectural practice?
A. The technology we use is not purely architectural; it goes beyond this and is applicable to buildings through their lifespan from design to use. The benefits are currently accruing mostly to architects and engineers during the design process. That means only one aspect of the building process is exploiting technology fully. With the entire design team on board, collaboration is easier. The BIM model has also to be what is used by the contractor to build but currently, that is not the case . Once the building is occupied, ideally the facilities manager should then take over the model. Construction of the building may take just two years, but the building typically is in use for over fifty years. Information from the model should be used in facility management. That is where the real benefits of technology shall come in.