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2018 predictions: Will architects change the way they work?

2018 themes inpractice
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Richard Waite asked leading figures whether they believe architects work will really change in the next 12 months

 ‘We are probably a decade away from seeing an entire project being delivered via a single 3D BIM model’

Chris darling bw

Chris Darling, Darling Associates

After the initial flurry of unrealistic excitement, we are seeing BIM settle down into established good practice protocols. We’ve always collaborated, file shared and developed long-term relationships with our partner design team consultants, so we found it patronising to have BIM thrust on us and to be hectored about the need to collaborate. We felt that this criticism was more relevant to the public sector where appointments are retendered more frequently than is our experience. We see our new graduates now working and thinking predominantly in 3D. Fantastic. 

However, we are probably a decade away from seeing an entire project being delivered via a single 3D BIM model, though I would welcome it – especially if we could secure for ourselves overall custodianship of the model. 

‘Architects can have a great future if we can begin to think outside the bounds of our increasingly marginalised profession’

Sean griffiths bw

Sean Griffiths, ModernArchitect

Trapped in an obsession with title, while the services they supply are fragmented and outsourced, architects forget that they have no natural right to exist as the discrete profession that was invented in the Victorian era.

But architectural education is still a great education and should be protected at all costs, particularly from those who moan about it failing to prepare students for practice – a complaint that is never heard from the best architects. It provides practical, imaginative and critical skills applicable to many things – a fact that is not lost on the present generation of students, some of whom are eschewing normative practice or doing it part time and applying their learning to product design, animation and art as well as the design of buildings. This will be a growing trend. Students are also writing computer code and working in VR – technologies tailor-made for those equipped with an architectural education.

I still do buildings. But I also do bits of buildings that others are designing. I make art, I design products and furniture. I spend a large proportion of my time doing stuff I enjoy. I do some of it from my kitchen table and I haven’t had to speak to a project manager for years. Architects can have a great future if we can begin to think outside the bounds of our increasingly marginalised profession.

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