HOW IS TECHNOLOGY IMPROVING DESIGN?
It’s a simple question, but evaluating the impact of ever-changing technologies on design can be difficult. To get a snapshot of this impact, our marketing team sat down with two thought leaders to learn how they are incorporating emerging technologies on their projects.
Blake Freitas, a member of the Visual Communications team, is expanding the graphics team’s use of new real-time visualization software to create immersive, virtual reality experiences of on-the-boards projects.
Kenny Hung, a member of the design team, recently won, the AIA San Mateo County’s Emerging Professional Award and is one of the designers embracing the use of SketchUp software plug-in, called Seferia, that provides instant sustainability analysis of design options.
New technologies have the potential to change the way we think and can inspire us to develop new design alternatives because we can understand the site differently. Diagrams are no longer enough. Tech can help formulate design — there’s a lot of promise.
I agree, we’re always striving to create better designs. And, technology can give designers a new perspective. For example the virtual reality tools provide a constant interaction of space and objects, which allows us to more quickly critique and refine designs.
Design is an iterative process. Visual graphics like renderings give you a place to start from, but with real-time visualization the design can be defined further. Ultimately, you can have an immersive experience where you can better understand scale and one’s relationship to the space.
With Seferia, we can create quick iterations and analyze instant sustainability feedback. Then, we can focus on the best solutions, knowing that we are making informed decisions and understanding the site specific issues.
Clients can now provide stronger creative input with the aid of real-time visualization, which has the power to speed up the decision making process. This could be as simple as a client feeling that a walkway is to narrow, and in turn, we can widen its size — but this could really improve the user’s ultimate experience.
Similar to how real-time provides clients with a better spatial and aesthetic understanding, we are using Seferia to provide clients with better analytical information to make decisions. This can create a new conversation and empower the clients. Currently, we are working on a new renovation project at Menlo Business Park for Tarlton Properties. And, with the software, we did a detailed comparison of different sun shading options, and ultimately, selecting a sunshade option with a light shelf. This is going to optimize daylighting more than a conventional design.
Time. All of our projects are so fast-moving and taking the time to incorporate new technologies into the workflow can be difficult. If we can incorporate more technology directly into the platforms we are already using, like SketchUp, that can make it much easier.
There can be an inconvenience factor to using new technologies. So, we are working to make the tools as user friendly as possible.
With the real-time software, we are creating a stronger collaboration between the graphics team and the interiors team to make software more accessible and easier to use.
We are carefully selecting projects as case studies to incorporate the new sustainability software into the workflow — and same for the real-time software. It is a learning process where we are working to find where the best opportunities are. How do we leverage the information in the best way? Where can it take us?