Technology and Architecture

I consider myself a futurist, sometimes even before I considered myself an architect. My career choice and the designs born from that choice emerged from a desire for a wiser, healthier, better-connected society. Selfishly, I just want newer, cooler technology: augmented reality, AI tailored to personal interests, holograms (pending). We may not yet be in the future science fiction prophesied, but we are in its cradle.  

Design studio serves as my outlet to explore technology in how it can not only assist but enhance my projects. Utilizing AI tools to create new, weird, explorative building materials. Utilizing new graphics tools like Enscape to push my renderings ever closer to reality. Combining these tools with virtual reality to break the barrier between plan and people.  

I love seeing architects who are mature in their craft and experienced in design gain a renewed sense of excitement and wonder as they are introduced to new technologies and new realities. It is one thing to develop good renderings and clean plans, but there is something infinitely more meaningful to everyone involved in a project to be able to “walk” through it and gain a deeper understanding of what the proposed project is. Architecture, at its core, is art. Describing a painting down to the last strokes will never compare to being in its presence. Technology gives people, both within and outside the design community, tools to not just discuss but experience the intentions embedded within our designs. 

Translating this mindset into the workplace is a unique challenge. The pace of innovation in architecture is far slower in firms than within studios at university. As a profession that relies on codes and precedent, there is a comfort that comes with sticking to what firms know. Within the schooling environment, it is easy to quickly research various tools that cater to my specific needs for each project. However, scaling that process up to fit a firm can not only be costly but can also vary greatly in effectiveness. On top of that, tools that aren’t breaking the mold won’t show up on the corporate radar. I believe one of the greatest influences young designers have is how we bring our practices into the new age. Whether through new schools of thought or advancements in practices, we can combine our fresh perspectives with the knowledge and experience of seasoned professionals to push the bounds of what architecture is thought to be.  

Being part of a forward-thinking firm provides ample opportunity to expose coworkers to recent technologies that can help their day-to-day processes, though I do have to be more discretionary in what I advocate for. I keep my eye on promising startup projects, but it is not practical to bring everything into firms. For practicality, I usually push for programs that are better integrated with what we already use or programs that require little training to put into practice. Tools like Enscape, GPT, and Firefly are not only easy to teach and implement, but they add great value to the projects we spend so much time on. What once took hours now takes minutes. However, the true test of change is time, and sustainability is as important as usability. It is incredibly encouraging and rewarding to come back each summer and see how the tools that were introduced are being used in new, unique ways.  

As a futurist and an architect, I am driven by the vision of a better world through technology and design. While progress may be slow and tedious, this new generation of designers have the power and the duty to update and redefine architecture.


Enscape rendering designed by 2023 Intern, Akeen Booker

Enscape rendering designed by 2023 Intern, Akeen Booker