Architects need to update their design practice.


Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

spend a lot of time designing built spaces, and one of the things we tend to forget during the elaborate process, are the users, the people for whom we design. When we opt for a parametric approach, we often prioritize form over function and end up with what “feels right” (looks right) to us. This feels right because it’s either easy to build — you know it works, or it’s familiar — you’ve seen it work, or both. Yes, they mesmerize our clients, the by-standers and even our peers, but are they functional and add to the experience? Are they economical — material and money-wise?

I believe architecture isn’t just about designing buildings anymore. I believe architecture can be much more, it can be designing an experience. A socio-cultural and psychological experience. That’s great! But, where’s the problem? The problem is, in spite of the idea of ‘starting a firm’ has been cultivated from the moment we step into architecture school, not many of us (myself included) are updated with technology. Just as innovation drives technology, technology drives architecture. We are losing out on huge market potential because of our (ignorance)slowed growth.

“It would’ve made perfect sense if Airbnb was founded by Architects.”

We failed to grab the opportunity to provide home automation, Google & Amazon did it. We failed to provide housing solutions, Airbnb & OYO Rooms did it. In fact, it would’ve made perfect sense if Airbnb was founded by Architects. On the contrary, it was Brian Chesky (Industrial Designer) and Joe Gebbia (Graphic & Industrial Designer) who lead the idea into existence.

Side Note: I stumbled onto something a few years ago, which changed my entire thinking process. The idea is simple to understand which makes it all the more easy to remember, and that’s not even the best part. The best part that it works wonders! It’s famously called The Golden Circle Theory by Simon Sinek. I started applying it, and BAM! I found much more direction, meaning and satisfaction with my works.

Case in point: We assume we know why we are doing what we do.

We design fancy buildings but don’t know why we need them. We use complex software and create highly detailed drawings, but don’t train our people on how to comprehend.

Define your ‘Why” as early as possible, even before you design.

So my question is, why are we doing it in the first place? It certainly is a great feat to design and execute a project. (you can pat yourself on the back now) But, a design without a well-defined function becomes art. How can we define this gut-feeling that drives our design? How can it add meaning and value to us? The answer is to define your ‘why’ as early as possible, even before you design.

People don’t buy what we create, rather why we create. — Simon Sinek

But, ‘why’ Parametric Design?

“…spend more time ‘designing’ … speed up your design iteration, automate drawings …  make your workflow flexible for changes …”

Do you want to spend more time ‘designing’ and less time drafting? Would you like to speed up your design iteration, automate drawings (to an extent) and make your workflow flexible for changes? If you answered ‘Yes’ to those, parametric design is for you! It is simply faster, flexible and definitely a smarter workflow.

“How a spreadsheet aids calculations, is similar to how ‘Parametrism’ aids the design process.” — Kaushik

To Conclude — Skynet is real!

Computers replaced a lot of manual jobs in (almost) all the fields. The AEC industry is yet to be automated, thanks to the ever-widening gap between available technology and adapted technology in our sector.

With today’s level of tech that’s out there in the market, it almost seems like anybody can read building codes, create construction drawings, and pass off as an Architect/Engineer/Specialist. Sadly, the consumers don’t care ‘who’ designs for them or ‘how’ they get it done as long as the work stays within their pockets. This is exactly where we can step up, grab the opportunity and define ‘why’ they need us; before some other tech company does it.

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself” — Charles Darwin

Current trends positively indicate that our sector has started changing too. 3D Printing, Computerized Construction, and Parametric Design are taking the lead. Its time we learn to improvise, adapt and overcome.

Further Reading & Useful Resources

Back to Top