Page T1.2 . 30 August 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
  • Architects Blend Traditional Design with New Media
  • Design Course Does Digital
  • Fun with Computer-Aided Modeling Clay

      Current Contents
      Blog Center
      Download Center
      New Products
      Products Guide
      Classic Home
      Architecture Forum
      Architects Directory
      Topics Library
      Complete Archive
      Web Directory
      About ArchWeek
      Subscribe & Contribute
      Free Newsletters


    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Architects Blend Traditional Design with New Media


    Archimage, Inc., has been part of this transformation of the traditional creative services market for almost twenty years. We started as an architectural firm in the early 1980s designing office buildings, churches, and restaurants. As our computer skills expanded, we added computer graphics imagery, animation, multimedia, and Web site development to our list of services. Our background in architecture and design, combined with our project management skills, matched what our clients were looking for in a creative firm.

    Over the years, we have designed buildings for Time Warner Communications, office interiors for Compaq Computer Corporation, computer animations for The Walt Disney Company and Nintendo, and computer game graphics for Knowledge Adventure. More recently, we have been developing Web sites for companies such as CompuBank, GE Financial Networks, Ziff-Davis Publications, and eCitySuites.

    To create and maintain excitement among customers, new-economy companies need a range of design services spanning various media. In today's highly visual marketplace, there's no telling where interior or graphic design begins and Web development or animation ends.

    As such, we and others like us have found an endless variety of design commission opportunities including CD-ROMs, computer animation, logos and identity graphics, trade-show booths, and multimedia presentations -- in addition to traditional buildings and interior design.

    There's a good deal of precedence here. Charles Eames designed far more short films, furniture, magazine covers, and exhibits than buildings. Yet he was practicing as an architect in every commission he undertook. So was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe when he designed furniture. So were Le Corbusier while painting and Michelangelo when sculpting. For all of them, architecture was the Mother Art.

    Not all new-economy creative shops have backgrounds in architecture. Some are graphic design firms, industrial design studies, or advertising agencies that have expanded into interactive media and the Web. Others are network integrators that have hired design talent to offer a suite of new-economy services to businesses.

    Architects, however, may be best positioned to exploit the new opportunities in visual design. We are trained in school as visual problem solvers, and we hone that training in practice. That's why many of the world's best photographers, industrial designers, furniture designers, automobile designers, and graphic designers have architecture degrees.

    But no matter what their background, creative shops for the new economy have many similar traits. To maintain their competitive advantage, a creative agency of the new economy must:

  • excel at instant turnaround without compromising accuracy and quality

  • create results that are visually attractive and compelling

  • appeal to an audience as diverse as the Web itself

  • be able to make a splash with analysts and investors as well as customers and the media

  • work well with interdisciplinary teams of writers, interior designers, event planners, graphic artists, account staff, and many others

  • integrate the many visual, audio, and print media, and even different computer platforms

  • blend Web sites, intranets, print collateral, trade show visuals, media materials, online and broadcast advertising, special event design, and building design

  • have a vision for the next business evolution, understanding how to build a brand across a wide range of media.

    This means more than just designing logos, developing Web sites, or creating workplace environments. It is building a comprehensive and meaningful visual identity that will grow with the company; critical ingredients in the "new economy."

    The primary qualifications are a desire to expand one's scope of services and the talent to get there. Learning to use new media tools isn't difficult, though it does take patience. Computers are and always will be frustrating. However, to those complaining of design software's "poor user interfaces," I say, don't let it stop you. Michelangelo's user interface was a hammer and chisel. Didn't seem to bother him.

    Richard Buday, AIA, is an architect, educator, writer, filmmaker, and founder of Archimage, Inc. He has taught at the University of Houston College of Architecture and the Mackintosh School of the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. He has coauthored the AIA's CAD Layer Guidelines, and received more than thirty international awards for architectural computer graphics.



  • ArchWeek Photo

    Archimage's flight through a virtual castle was part of a Walt Disney Company presentation of the company's history of feature animation.
    Image: Archimage, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    An electronic brochure for RACO Interior Products, Inc. includes an interactive component for creating customized elevation drawings and performing related structural calculations.
    Image: Archimage, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    The multimedia CD accompanying the book, Rendering Real and Imagined Buildings, features a walk through a virtual gallery of unbuilt architecture.
    Image: Archimage, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    A Web site promoting a Ziff Davis Smart Partner magazine trade show, Smart Solutions, to be held in conjunction with COMDEX 2000.
    Image: Archimage, Inc.

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Houston firm Archimage, Inc. is designing a new administrative office building for Time Warner Communications.
    Image: Archimage, Inc.


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

    < Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Advertise       Privacy       Comments
    GREAT BUILDINGS   |   DISCUSSION   |   SCRAPBOOK   |   COMMUNITY   |   BOOKS   |   FREE 3D   |   ARTIFICE   |   SEARCH © 2000 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved