Amazing Progress- Technology in Architecture

By now almost everyone is aware that most architects don’t draw their designs at a drafting table with a protractor and a t-square anymore. Most firms do some or all of their construction drawings in CADD, the commonly-used acronym that stands for Computer-Aided Design and Drafting. In the twenty years that our firm has been in business, we switched from hand drafting, to CADD, and now have incorporated three-dimensional graphics. The progress has been quick and amazing. (Of course, we still pull out a sheet of tracing paper to do sketches. It’s hard for an architect to disconnect their head from their hand when they want to design, because drawing is often part of the creative process.)

The possibilities with computers these days are so endless, that it has revolutionized the industry. For example, with CADD, you can create 3-D views of the building, inside and out. You can simulate “fly-bys” to show what it will look like from above and 360 degrees around the exterior. You can “see” inside walls and ceilings. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The computer age has affected building techniques as well. There are “smart buildings” that incorporate computer-aided controls of mechanical systems such as heating and cooling, lighting, entertainment and security. Power systems such as solar panels and wind turbines have reduced the energy use of buildings. Now, modular construction methods have been taken to a new level of sophistication and ingenuity. See this video of a planned skyscraper in Dubai and prepare to be amazed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q082y8In-ik

The advent of the 3-D printer is also changing the world of construction. Several design firms are experimenting with creating buildings using components made from 3-D printers, but here’s one that is creating an entire building from an oversized 3-D printer: http://vimeo.com/87843940 It is phenomenal. And it won’t stop there.

When working with your architect, you may not need the latest and greatest of these innovations for your building, but depending on the time available, and your budget, you may wish to explore the new world of high-tech design and construction. If you are working with investors, a board of directors, or a community group who need to be impressed by a new building in order to make the financial investment, then a 3-D design and perhaps a 3-D printed model of the building may be worth the time and money. A picture is worth a thousand words, and 3-D graphics are excellent tools to create those pictures.


Lorianna Kastrop
Vice President,
The Kastrop Group, Inc. Architects

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