Applying new technology to design

A thoughtful, professional approach is necessary to make new technology work for us

By Rob Terry and Alonso Rodriguez

It’s a very exciting time to be an architect as it relates to technology. Harnessing and applying new technology requires new thinking and processes, but the potential is huge. By aligning our traditional design practice with technology we can reach better solutions to problems with less time invested than before. Here are six ways we’re thinking about new technology, its integration and its application at VOA Orlando.

Integrating technology
We must not simply be experts in the latest software. We must operate on the leading edge of efficiently integrating emerging technologies with proven methods to create an exceptional and adaptable workflow.

Model alignment
Technology has helped us achieve improved alignment between our coordination and presentation models more quickly. We can apply this time savings to improving our model and ultimately our product.

Visualization technology
Virtual design technology is not just about making pretty pictures. Accurately documenting and visualizing a space throughout the entire design process is essential to smart decisionmaking and client communication.

LiveDesign and Stingray
With its recent acquisition of the Stingray game engine, Autodesk is promoting LiveDesign. This leverages the building model created in Revit, enhances the design model in 3dsMax and is then sent to Stingray where it becomes an interactive, real-time visualization and presentation tool. This Revit-to-Max-to-game engine workflow is not new to us. It is similar to one the VOA Orlando office has worked with for three years, but the integration of the Stingray engine as a new presentation tool has the potential to provide even greater benefits to our designers and our clients.

DNA of the built environment
It’s about the data and connectivity. Recent technological advancements enable us to go beyond designing smart devices and smart buildings to building smart cities in which buildings talk to each other and their surroundings. This technology has the potential to increase productivity and efficiency in everyday life; helping us to see problems before they occur. For example: A building structure, room doors and exit locations could appear digitally on the facemask of a firefighter navigating a smoke-filled building.

Small steps, big steps
We can see benefits across the firm from steps as small as BIM add-ons (smart phone apps and project dashboards that help us day-to-day), to high level collaboration advancements such as BIM DOCS and Autodesk 123 that will revolutionize our collaboration and project approach.

For more on engagement, download the new VOA Design Quarterly.

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