Earlier this year, architects all over the world stepped in at incredibly short notice to build Covid pandemic hospitals. In March, Italian architects thought outside the box, corrugated steel shipping container boxes in this case, to convert them into two-bed intensive care units for coronavirus patients. In London, architect practice BDP built 6 Nightingale hospitals and were recognised for their contribution at the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) with the award for outstanding contribution to the Covid-19 response.
Architects were also called on to re-design the interiors of existing buildings so that they could still function and receive visitors but whilst ensuring that those visitors were maintaining the 2m social distancing requirements. These wouldn’t have been big budget projects – but what they needed were architects to think quickly, think creatively and think pragmatically. And architects rose to that challenge.
Architects – the new generation of green warriors
Covid-19 aside, Architects are also creating a much longer-term positive effect on our built environment by designing more carbon-neutral buildings than ever before. The construction industry started to change their previous wasteful ways a number of years back, but ultimately how the building is designed and specced right at the start of the process informs that building’s green credentials. Additionally, the move to biophilic buildings (an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature – think growing/live plant walls) is no longer seen as a quirky design feature to create standout and guarantee an award or two. It’s become a commonplace and integral part of many building designs.
Architects are starting to see the long game by specialising in Life Cycle assessment and building performance measurement – all with the aim of creating a healthier built environment with net-zero energy buildings.
This level of design innovation needs to be matched with the same level of tech innovation – and this means getting the best advice to understand how, when and what the IT needs are for each individual architect’s practice.
The Archi-Tech challenge
Keeping up with the latest hardware
It doesn’t matter if you’re the director of a successful practice looking to streamline your team’s working methods or a cash strapped architecture student, choosing the right hardware to suit your circumstances can be a make or break decision. With advancements in fabrication tools continuing to move at a breathtaking pace (3D printing, Roboticspace etc) it’s important to upgrade your device or risk being left behind when the most recent design software is released.
Keeping up with the evolution of software
When it comes to architectural design, development of new hardware and software is neck and neck. There are new apps coming on to the market all the time to inspire architects and provide tools for project management, measuring and drawing.
Any architect that hasn’t yet adopted Building Information Modeling (BIM) will soon find themselves lagging behind their counterparts in the construction industry. And soon the transition from CAD to BIM will no longer be optional.
Out of the office into the frying pan
Now imagine delivering those Covid critical projects mentioned earlier when you can’t get the whole project team into the same room and you don’t have the luxury of face to face briefing meetings.
Then imagine you’re working from home with a fraction of the internet speed coming into your home office than you would normally expect at your architect practice.
We work with a number of architect practices and we know how hungry design software is – Photoshop, InDesign and Archicad to name a few. If you then add into the mix 4D cinema software, animation tools and digital outputs from drone footage you’re looking at needing a substantial cloud-based filing system.
Although Dr Logic can’t do anything about the internet going into individual homes we can recommend solutions that will increase productivity and improve connectivity:
The best devices running the best software
First of all, we need to ensure the whole practice has software uniformity – i.e. everybody is on the same version of InDesign, Archicad etc. Otherwise, colleagues have issues with opening files and with those files rendering correctly. We achieve this through MDM (Mobile Device Management) and deliver this in a planned, company-wide, way so all software is updated overnight and on the same night.
We hold detailed records of every device in a practice and manage their lifecycle – recommending when a device will start to impact negatively on performance. With memory-hungry design software, you’re going to need the highest spec devices with enhanced productivity built-in. 5+ year old Mac will start to show their age very quickly and just won’t cut the mustard in a high tech design environment.
Download not downtime
Because design files can be huge, if you’re trying to save and upload, or download, a file via VPN you could be waiting a while – add into the mix the teenager upstairs watching NetFlix or your younger children in MS Teams with their classroom and your file transfers could be painful. We can recommend a number of options ranging from upgrading your office-based server to moving to a fully cloud-based solution. There are also enhanced file transfer software options available which have been designed with businesses with +20 users in mind, Engyte being one.
Side by side
Every superhero needs their sidekick – Batman had his Robin, Superman had his Lois Lane, Shrek had his donkey – you get the picture. And every Architect needs an IT infrastructure and an IT consultancy that understands their challenges and will innovate alongside them. Contact us if you think Dr Logic would make a great sidekick!