Date: March 1, 2019
Location: WeWork 777 6th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001
Led by: Gina Volpicelli, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Devon Hogan, RA, LEED AP BD+C
Session Sponsors: WeWork, Quinn Evans Architects, Colliers International, The Living, HITT Construction, Adaptive Studio, Graphisoft
Session Downloads: Session 06 Guide
March’s session on Industry Trends was fittingly located at WeWork, a nationally trending hot spot for collaborative workshare spaces. Presentations focused on Industry Trends with a heavy emphasis on technology, sustainability, and research. The session comprised of multiple presentations by industry professionals including architects, BIM consultants, and contractors, as well as an interactive activity where scholars grouped together to experience “Building Overtime”.
Presentation #1: Virtual Reality and Augmented reality Technologies in Real Estate
The afternoon’s first presentation was given by Karen Whitt, of Colliers International. Karen oversees property management assignments in the United States for Colliers International. She, along with a third-party consultant, The Layer Group, are educating landowners on current and future risks and potential revenue opportunities of Augmented Reality in the built environment.
Buildings are currently being used as a gateway for commerce experience. This integration is set to explode with the forthcoming implementation of the 5G network. Courts and landowners are looking to understand who owns the rights to Augmented Reality on buildings and public spaces. Risks include unintentional and unwanted AR activity on any given property. The potential revenue opportunities include advertising, rent, and data collection for the owner. AR integration into the built environment also has many implications for Architects including the aesthetic alterations of buildings, the impact on Historic preservation, and zoning regulations.
Presentation #2: Round Table & Scholar Image Discussion
The second part of the afternoon began with the individual images, “visual disruptors” impacting the future of the industry, selected and explained by each scholar. The images targeted many topics including generative design, prescriptive programming, robotics, global population growth, AR/VR, and wealth inequality.
A round table discussion followed with a group of diverse industry representatives. Julie Siple, who oversees Quinn Evans Architects’ sustainability practice, spoke about climate hazards and climate change impacts. She shared case studies of ways Architects are living up to the challenge of making more sustainable buildings. David Stone, Director of Virtual Construction at HITT Contractors, spoke about the challenges the AEC industry faces with implementation of virtual workflows. He showed how HITT is using VR technologies to review and coordinate issues in the field. John Skippers, a BIM consultant with Adaptive Studio, shared the current state of Revit implementation among firms, including examples of Dynamo and Data standards.
A lively discussion followed the presentations, during which scholars actively engaged the panel in conversation about the risk and reward of the industry, the ability to track success and failures through data systems, and the role of regulation in successful sustainability efforts.
Group Activity: Building Over Time
During this group activity, scholars were split into 4 groups of 4 and given a vague task of creating an object by folding paper. Initially, scholars were given a set of written directions, representing specifications. Next, scholars were given a set of 2-D diagrams, representing construction documents. Finally, scholars were given a set of 3-D diagrams, that could also be used in a virtual environment. A conversation followed regarding the Architects’ role and deliverables of instruments of services.
Marcus Monroe, a BIM Consultant with Graphisoft shared information about Virtual Reality (VR) implementation into the architectural office workflow. Marcus explained the BIMX mobile tools and integration with ArchiCAD, which offers friendly user interface for navigating construction documents and presentation drawings.
Presentation #3: Projects from Autodesk Research Studio
The final presentation of the afternoon was given by Lorenzo Villaggi, a research scientist associate with The Living, an Autodesk Research Studio. Lorenzo presented three concepts and case studies including Bio Computing, Bio Sensing and Bio Manufacturing. Each case study utilizes information derived from biological sciences, research, computer programming, and fabrication. For the Bio Computing project, the studio created an algorithm to develop geometry based on the growth of Slime Mold. The Bio Sensing project combined natural intelligence with artificial intelligence by using living organisms in the water to retrieve information and data on the health of the water. The Living studio developed a “Bio Manufacturing” process using living organisms as tiny factories to create building blocks for an installation at MOMA’s PS3. Lorenzo shared that he sees generative design as one part of the process, as architects are responsible for curating outcomes. Ultimately, he said, AI will not replace design knowledge, but will be an integral part of the way we work and design buildings.