Architectural changes for the modern build
We can trace architectural design all the way back to the Neolithic period in 10,000BC where simple processes and techniques in the use of stone and mud brick gave way to the design and construction of Long Houses, some as simple as one room at the beginning of the period, and others that even comprised a second storey towards the end of the period. Architecturally one of the most famous structures of this period is Stone Henge in Wiltshire, thought to be an ancient burial ground.
Centuries later, we can still see elements of Neolithic architecture and construction processes in our modern day buildings, but how we design buildings and the tools and technology at our hands is vastly different. Traditionally architectural plans were hand drawn at a draughtsman’s board using little more than a pencil and a geometry set. The introduction of the Personal Computer in the 1980s brought about the generation of Computer Aided Design programs, most notably AutoCAD, and although this allowed for advanced drafting and engineering functionality, it was still mostly two-dimensional design. By the 1990s, the PC had the capabilities to produce 3D CAD designs, and this has largely been the architectural design process until the advent of the 4th industrial revolution where we are seeing Augmented Reality (AR) algorithms and BIM playing an important part in the design process for the modern building.
Architecture for the modern build
Today we have so much to consider when designing a building. Not only are we looking at shape and structure, but we also have to consider sustainability, the wider environment and a need for people to ‘connect’ with our buildings. Building Information Modelling or BIM is a process for creating and managing information on a construction project across its lifecycle. It brings together architecture, engineering, and construction to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage a building from the ground up. Individual modules are ‘layered’ into a design so that any elements that require extraction and changing can be done so to support decision making during the design and build process. BIM allows us to illustrate the life cycle of a structure, from cradle to grave, including the demolition and reuse of materials.
The 4th Dimension
Augmented Reality (AR) has evolved significantly in the past decade. To progress BIM to the next level, AR will be one of the key innovations that will create a strong integration between the digital and physical cycles of building design and construction. AR will enable architects and engineers to visualise a structure in life-size format making it possible to identify design flaws that can be resolved before ground is even broken. Perhaps one of the most important factors AR brings to the table is the ability to create flow to a building to allow for the easy movement of people and the ability to maintain a building for its lifespan. Clients are able to ‘step inside’ their structures at the initial design process and as such clients' buy-in to a concept is cemented at the start of the process.
All of these new techniques are allowing the construction of our modern day buildings to be more efficient and cost-effective, and are reducing waste to a minimum. Technology, coupled with sustainable and responsible resourcing, is the future of our construction industry, and both are essential in order to meet the demands of the 21st Century.
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