Updating the tech stack: Ask a Design Technologist

  • How have new tools/technologies helped you solve a problem, or improved an existing workflow?
  • What are the biggest challenges companies have when integrating new tools?
  • What is your wish list for future AEC technologies and/or tools?

Oliver — Bjarke Ingels Group

Visualizing design using augmented reality | BIG Architects
Viewing 3D models in AR | SpaceForm

Jared — Walter P Moore

Jared Friedman is a registered architect and senior technical designer at Walter P Moore where he helps in leading the development and deployment of digital workflows across the structures group. Walter P Moore is an engineering company with 700+ professionals working across 21 U.S. offices and six international locations. A couple of the tools that have made a major impact on our workflows over the last couple of years include pyRevit and Rhino.Inside.Revit (shout out to Ehsan Iran-Nejad for his work on both of these!). With pyRevit we’ve been able to quickly develop and deploy custom Revit integrations using Python, which we’ve supported with Python training across a large number of our staff. We’ve also recently been increasing our use of Airtable as a way of storing metadata that can be easily accessed and manipulated outside of heavy and expensive design software. Jared’s wish list item is for project delivery processes to become less reliant on drawings and more reliant on models and data.

SFO Air Traffic Control Tower Carbon Impact Analysis | Walter P Moore
Rhino.Inside.Revit | Rhino3d

Julie — Linked-in

Linked-in workplace interiors | Design by Gensler | P.C. Devon Banks
Linked-in workplace interiors | Design by Gensler | P.C. Devon Banks

Danwei — SF Bay Area Architecture firm

Danwei, a senior designer with 8+ years of experience, works closely with emerging technologies as the firm’s lead of architectural visualization. Danwei estimates that the firm spends $1,000 to $5,000 towards testing/adopting new technologies each year. D5 Render, a real-time ray tracing 3D rendering software, is one of the latest tools the team recently implemented for one of their commercial projects. Danwei and the team believe the tool has directly improved their efficiency and quality of work. Danwei considers the biggest challenges for integrating new tools into existing workflows are: firstly, the vast amount of time required in learning the new software and programs, and secondly, time spent gradually integrating the new technology into established workflows. Danwei’s wish list for future AEC/O tools are products that can easily automate repetitive work and products allowing for better real-time visualization.

Real-time rendering & 3D assets library | D5 Render

Ricardo — MBCC Group

Construction surveying using drones | 3D Robotics

Takbir — DesignAware

Takbir Fatima is an architect at DesignAware, a small-scale architecture and interdisciplinary design firm based out of Hyderabad, India and Dubai, UAE. The firm has been exploring Fologram, a mixed reality three-dimensional tool, for its installation projects. Fologram eases the fabrication process, without relying on expensive equipment. They have also worked in VR platforms such as Sansar and Mozilla Hubs. Their international online workshop, Fractals Workshop, culminated in a perpetually-growing VR exhibition which can be accessed by anyone here. Takbir claims that getting the entire team to learn new tools continues to be their biggest focus for adopting new tools, and her wish list item is open-source technologies for the industry.

Fractals Workshop Design + Build at Kerala State Institute of Design | DesignAware

Todd — GKV Architects

Mixed-use building in Long Island City | GKV Architects
Mixed-use building in Long Island City | GKV Architects

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