8 Applied Technologies That Have Improved Architectural Design and Engineering
Applied technologies like virtual reality, 3D printing, and drone photography have completely revolutionized the world of architecture and engineering.
From entertainment and photography to product development and retail sales, it’s hard to find an industry that hasn’t been impacted by the latest tech advances.
Integrating such technologies into our architectural design and engineering services has allowed us to improve nearly every aspect of our clients’ end-to-end experience, including communication and speed of delivery, presentation, design quality, and building investigations.
At DRG Architects, we integrate these nine applied technologies to create high-quality, value-added designs for our clients:
1. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial experience generated by a computer. By wearing a headset, you can emerge yourself into a fully simulated environment, feeling as though you are actually among those very surroundings.
VR is typically used for educational and entertainment purposes, but it can also be used in design. For instance, we use virtual reality for 3D presentations to show clients their proposed designs. By wearing the headset and experiencing the design firsthand, clients can decide whether they approve before it is put into action.
2. Augmented Reality
With augmented reality (AR), the virtual and real world seem to coexist. AR projects simulated elements, including computer graphics and sounds, onto the actual environment around you, typically by leveraging the camera on a mobile device or tablet.
AR allows architects to project their designs onto the empty site they’re working on, so clients can have a visual of the project within the given environment before construction begins.
3. Computer Renderings and Animations
By using 3D renderings and animations, designers can present their projects almost as if they are movie scenes, including special effects like lighting, furnishings, landscaping, vehicles, and even people.
Clients can experience a “walk-through” of the rendered building by accessing every part of the design, starting with the entrance and working through all proposed rooms. That way, they can request changes before committing to the project.
4. 3D Printing
3D printing turns digital files into dimensional objects by “slicing” the file into thin horizontal layers and melding them together.
By using 3D printing, we can create a physical model of our clients’ proposed designs, so they can gain a sense of the building’s scale, massing, and fenestration before committing to the construction. The models are intricate and detailed, so clients can truly visualize the proposed design on a smaller scale.
4. Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) is a streamlined process that creates a single model encompassing all aspects, disciplines and systems of a building.
We use REVIT, an Autodesk BIM software, which helps us design, simulate and visualize the building structure. That way, everyone involved in the architectural and design process, from contractors to consultants, can collaborate more efficiently while generating savings in scheduling, project costs, change orders and general errors.
5. Clash Detection
Clash detection software examines models and identifies any issues or interference between different building elements.
As designers and architects, we think it’s important to recognize potential risks before starting the construction process to avoid costly errors.
PlanGrid holds field observations and surveys, allowing you to add markups, sketches, notes and photos. The software stores all information so that it’s readily available whenever access is needed, and is also used for analysis and development of as-built backgrounds.
This is great for the construction process as well, since it uses real-time updates and seamless file synchronization, so everyone can be an active part of the process.
7. 3D Laser Scanning
3D laser scanning is the process of scanning objects or environments to understand their shapes and appearances. We integrate 3D laser scanning with software services that record and report information on existing conditions.
Our design teams then have insight on building components like wall and floor thickness and any inconsistencies found in the existing drawings. This serves as a reference tool to help designers verify information before moving forward with construction.
You likely know that drones can snap photos and record videos from an above view. This application of drone technology can be useful for designers as well. DRG uses drones for initial field survey, inspecting difficult-to-reach areas and identifying any issues or possible needs for investigation, which we then provide to office staff during the design and construction document phase. We also record progress during the construction process to showcase to clients. DRG prides itself in keeping on the cutting edge of drone photography as it applies to architecture and engineering.
As applied technology continues to evolve and improve over time, we pride ourselves on bringing cutting-edge solutions to our architectural design and engineering services. If you want to incorporate the latest tech into your next building project, contact DRG Architects for a proposal.