Page N2.2 . 07 June 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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    Architects Technology Summit


    On to the Future

    Another conference speaker, futurist Frank Feather introduced the term "web-olution." He warned designers to "avoid anything in the old economy which is not going high tech."

    Author of G-Forces: The 35 Global Forces Restructuring Our Future, Feather offered parallels between how the industrial revolution changed the way that we live and how the Internet revolution will change it back. People will again be working at home and rely on families and neighbors instead of coworkers for their social support.

    The implications for architects are vast. Now that you can "design at the speed of thought," he says, become digitally competitive:

  • Slash design-to-completion time

  • Use your info-structure to speed the bidding process

  • Eliminate paper

  • Use multimedia design models for compelling presentations

  • Use video and simulations

  • Design the latest technologies into buildings

    Finally, Feather advised architects, "Focus on growth markets and sectors like high tech, leisure/tourism, and healthcare. Avoid mature, dying, and overbuilt sectors like office buildings and shopping centers." He urged architects to consider how the end use of buildings might change, and to "build flexibility in."

    As if Design Mattered

    Architect, former New Hampshire Congressman, and current U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, the Honorable Richard Swett, urged architects to take leadership positions in their profession and "broaden their impact on public policy."

    Living in Denmark, a country which values good design in everything from "buildings to bottle openers," Swett told his audience that architects should practice "design diplomacy" and use their special skills to improve culture, the arts, and quality of life issues in the United States. "We have things to contribute outside the profession," he explained.

    Ambassador Swett suggested that architects also consider increased involvement in civic affairs. "We are adept at juggling activities and information sources and this creates the opportunity to expand influence in the community."

    Swett told the group to start considering themselves to be first and foremost information mangers. Combining a variety of disciplines into a team is an unusual and valuable skill, said the Ambassador. "You should be active in diplomatic and policy activities around the world."



  • ArchWeek Photo

    HGA's renovation of the Schubert Theater in Minneapolis expresses the motion of dance through structure.
    Image: Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    HGA is now using computer models of the Schubert Theater details to communicate with glass and curtain-wall fabricators to expedite construction.
    Image: Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Barbara Barker Center for Dance at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis was designed by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson.
    Photo: Erich Koyama, Architectural Photography

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