Technology is transforming the role of the architect.
Schools risk falling behind the curve.

Full Episode: Future Proof

Season 2, Episode 2

Future Proof

Today’s architecture graduates are entering a discipline in the midst of seismic change. Once satisfied for students to understand the basics of design software, firms now demand a far more advanced outlook on technology. The key isn’t mastery of any one program, but the ability to analyze and adopt new solutions as second nature, with 3D at the core.

This is the rise of the architect as technologist, and it’s leaving many schools uncertain how to adapt. To understand what the right direction should be, By Design met with a team of educators on the leading edge of tech integration.

Inside the Episode

Prof. Brian R. Johnson has made technology research the cornerstone of his career at the University of Washington. As Director of the Department of Architecture’s Design Machine Group, Prof. Johnson leads an inter-discipline team in the study of how tech is transforming the discipline from concept to construction and beyond.

In Prof. Johnson’s view, the rise of 3D and virtual solutions are forcing schools to rethink the notion of technology as simply a software choice. Instead, he advocates for a holistic approach in which students first consider the project challenge to be met, then learn how to apply the right interplay of digital tools to explore it.

Central to this is BIM, which is not only the defining interoperable technology of the 21st century, but necessary for graduates to more quickly become valuable team contributors in the professional world.

At Arizona State University, the husband/wife team of Philip and Lauren Allsopp not only share Prof. Johnson’s view, but forcefully advocate for BIM and virtual technologies to be taught as part of a student’s core curriculum — in architecture and historic preservation.

In Philip’s opinion, BIM is fundamental to allowing students to make the myriad of informed decisions necessary for architecture to advance sustainability, affordability and other critical factors that built environments should address. This is the reawakening of the architect as inventor, and Philip passionately views BIM technology as the key.

Within preservation, Lauren has pioneered the use of BIM and virtual tools to study existing structures with greater safety as well as precision, and use the data provided by laser scanning, thermal imaging, point clouds and other tech to inspire students to reimagine how buildings can be adapted for modern use.

Watch the episode for a candid, often surprising look at how technology is testing traditional education. Then join us on social media for access to exclusive bonus content, interactive experiences and more.

Prof. Johnson’s acclaimed book on technology in education, titled Design Computing: An Overview of an Emergent Field, is available online from Routledge Publishing.

Certain images shown in this episode are © University of Washington. Images of The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts are © Foster + Partners. Sun study renderings by Jared Banks, AIA of Shoegnome Architects. Photo of Prof. Johnson standing in the classroom by John Stamets. Student rendering by Olha Yuriivna Pavlovska.

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