The American Institute of Architects challenged us to think about how the architect's practice will look in 30 years. I was inspired to respond by thinking of recent advances in design technology as the infancy of the every tools of the future architect, and I was inspired a little bit by the upcoming release of Blade Runner 2049.
Architecture’s current trajectory will continue to release projects from the silo of the office desktop, and the silo of the architect's brain. Virtual and enhanced reality will pull meetings from board rooms and into infinite occupiable versions, the project constructed and deconstructed many times before breaking ground. Time between iterations will become faster and faster. Hive communication in the Cloud will allow a continuous exchange to more thoroughly describe ideas. Expertise will be shared more readily, as the design community follows the sharing economy down alternate open-model paths that have already started to reshape the way business is done. Lessons learned will more readily be accessible and applied, like a software patch to the design. The end product will be ever more precisely in line with human intention and expectation for the built environment; and the efficiencies afforded by this fine tuning will in turn reduce the burden on the planet.
The architect’s role must evolve to harness the power of the growing current of data and computational solutions, to shape the project around central tenets and targets, and to communicate the implications of numerous decisions - to be a guiding force and a fixed point in a swarm of forces and numbers. This role as a guiding force will make the architect of the future an indispensable figure for any size construction project.
Economic forces will attempt to drive projects to serve a narrow purpose, however, it will also be the architect’s responsibility to respond with technology and data to show the undeniability of maintaining sustainability, responsibility and urban connectivity for a tenable world that can continue to grow and thrive at the rates we expect. Undermining these forces will be a continuous battle, but one that the architect can be especially equipped to orchestrate a stand against.