Architects Technology Summit
The Internet is changing everything — including the practice of architecture. This strong message emerged from a recent conference: understanding technology, and the value of technology to the client, gives a design firm an important competitive advantage.
What technological changes are coming, and how soon, were the hot topics at the Architects Technology Summit, Release 3.0, held in Philadelphia on May 3. The summit was co-hosted by the CMD Group and The Greenway Group.
The Internet in Practice
Three principals of the Minneapolis architecture firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, (HGA) Dan Avchen, Steve Fiskum, and Bill O'Malley, presented an overview of the 53-year-old firm, which has grown by 100 percent in revenues and staff (now at 550) since 1995.
They outlined how their booming firm has come to rely on technology to produce buildings faster and with more collaboration from team members. HGA relies on project Web sites and design visualization tools to win new business and produce award-winning buildings quickly, such as a multi-million dollar facility which they completed in 11 months.
O'Malley suggested there may be new opportunities for architects in designing digital worlds. "We know how people perceive and navigate space," he said. "Maybe there is a role for us to help ensure that the enduring values we support are maintained." He believes the frontiers for the architectural profession to be digital portfolios, digital galleries, digital markets, and digital work environments.
For the World Trade Center Parking Ramp in St. Paul, HGA used CAD drawings to explore elevations and color options for the building's exterior.
Photo: Don F. Wong Photography
HGA used digital models to streamline the process of developing construction documents for the Barbara Barker Center for Dance.
Image: Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc.