Some of the Biggest Breakthroughs in Architecture, Explained
Manuel Marchial, our senior architectural designer, has been working in the field since 1971. The very first architecture project he worked on starting out was a residential project for an artist in Tenerife, Spain. He’s done a lot since then, and he’s been with Sketchworks for two years, working on mixed-use, commercial/residential buildings; multi-residential complexes; healthcare clinics; franchise restaurants; and industrial buildings.
With his breadth of industry knowledge, we asked Manuel how his job has changed over the years, and how being an architect has gotten even cooler.
You started in the field in the 1970s. What’s the biggest change you’ve experienced in how you do your job?
It all began in late ’90s, when PCs and information technology reinvented the way architects and design professionals drew and documented our building plans, allowing us to visualize, communicate and manage the projects with computer-aided design (CAD) and later 3D modeling and Building Information Management and Computer Aid Manufacturing integration. These improvements could not have come at a better time, since building projects started to become larger and complex to build. Consequently, engineers, architects and contractors took greater challenges with more pressure to improve design, costs, timelines and productivity.
Human welfare, health and safety always will be the cornerstone of our profession by delivering adequate spaces where we live, work, heal, relax or entertain under one roof. Digital technology has enabled us to evolve from traditional practices with huge obstacles to cutting-edge solutions with rewarding results.
You talk about technology improving your everyday work. How have these advancements made it even better for the projects you design?
Currently 3D modeling and virtual reality (VR) rendering continue to transform the way we create, visualize and communicate with our design team, builders and clients. Using these tools to document our projects give us the ability to create and evaluate buildings from basic concepts to photo-realistic 3D models. It allows us a better understanding the complexity of the design, the regulations and the entire building process.
For example, in a recent mixed-use residential commercial project, we were able to model a detailed tour through the buildings and the public spaces with alternate layouts and façade systems for the new apartments with retail spaces below to show the city planners, the community and our client the urban and environmental impact of the project on the site. This Virtual Construction software is becoming common as well for large-scale projects such as high-rise buildings, airports, dams, highways and heavy industrial sites.
And there are always continuing technological improvements to help you do your job even better, it sounds like.
We expect to see more projects with architects in joint venture with building contractors to produce documents and manage projects seamless and more efficiently. In project management and delivery, we are currently refining our database and marketing information systems with new cloud-based online data-management software. This will provide our team, outside consultants and clients with real-time access to information with key project metrics, statistic data and actual time and money costs, which will improve both contractual and design decisions.
We’ll be creating a digital historic portfolio of our projects that leverages our image profile and customer perception and improve the firm’s value of cumulative years of experience, while informing our clients of relevant design strategies.
New 2019 Revit BIM software, a common program architects use, will be run on our cloud-based file drivers available to our team of architects, designers and outside consulting engineering firms in real time at any location. Our objective of advancing design through technology aims to improve efficiency, quality assurance and overall performance in our projects.