Digital Practice: emerging possibilities in a shifting architectural profession

Urs Leonhard Hirschberg (Editor), Sophia Meeres, Milena Stavric

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology

Abstract

The digital is happening in architecture. No longer just in theory, in practice. Right here. Right now. Which is good, because, as we’re so often told, the digital is also our future. And this future will be big, as in Big Data. And artificial, as in Artificial Intelligence. And smart, as in Smart Buildings. And Smart Cities. And ubiquitous, as in Ubiquitous Computing. And robotic, as in Robotic Construction. And sustainable, needless to say. And of course it will all be driven by the most ubiquitous of acronyms: BIM, which stands for Building Information Modeling. When experts talk about these trends, they sometimes use a phrase that has itself become a famous acronym: TINA - There Is No Alternative.
Or is there?
Actually these experts have it backwards. The very essence of digitalization is that there are alternatives. Lots of them. Digital technology is nothing if not malleable. It can take on the most surprising forms because, in and of itself, it doesn’t have one. It’s just bits. So it’s always its own alternative. It provides a plethora of opportunities.
The drive towards the digital can be a curse for those who are overwhelmed by it, forced to change their ways of working, struggle to catch up with the latest software, pay large sums to train their teams in ways that end up making them less creative. But digital technology also empowers those that dare to build their own tools, to design their own workflows, their own ways of doing things. It rewards those that create their own ways of working, that use the digital to design the way they design.
In DR_SoM Digital Practice we’ll explore possibilities that are currently emerging in the realm of digital practice. We’ll debate new models of research in architecture and the novel types of practice they enable. We’ll discuss practical examples that illustrate the ongoing transition towards alternative design and building processes - as well as alternative business and cooperation models that the digital affords. In such examples research typically plays an important part. Not necessarily high-brow academic research, but down-to-earth applied and practical research into new ways of solving problems, of designing, constructing and marketing.
Start-ups have invented new ways of building and established themselves as designer-builder hybrids, defying traditional categories. Architects have become software developers for the profession (and others). New forms of collaboration are appearing, often across time zones and continents.
We are interested in hearing about new, applied architectural research as well as theoretical research that assesses the reality of digital practice. We invite architects, scholars and other professionals from the building industry to present their explorations into the world of emerging possibilities that is the architectural profession.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGraz
PublisherInstitut für Architektur und Medien
Number of pages128
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-903344-01-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-903344-00-6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2019
Event5th ARENA Annual Conference - TU Graz, Graz, Austria
Duration: 24 Oct 201927 Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems

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