From Architectural Practices to Arch Tech Firms. Digital Strategies for the Built Environment

Eduard Sancho Pou

When people inquire about my profession, I say that I am an architect who studies how digital strategies are applied to the build environment. Though, no one quite understands my meaning. For this reason, I began to use an analogy to explain my area of interest; and, above all, its utility.

Imagine a forest where its inhabitants can only see in black and white. If a predator were to suddenly mutate, adopting the ability to see in color, this animal would grow, develop, and reproduce, surpassing what used to be his peers, and becoming a threat to them instead. The other animals could sense this threat, aware that their camouflages, their techniques, and tools for protection are no longer working. They would begin a frantic study of their environment to see what changed; but, as their sight remained limited to black and white, they would lack the skills to see anything new.

I compare this limitation in vision, this restriction to black and white, to the architects who use tangible tools, from the form, the materials, or the static, to project. In contrast, the predator, whose vision has evolved to embrace color, is what I compare to the architects who project with both tangibles and intangibles, tools from the data, the relationships, or the brand. Even so, the most important question relates to the reason for the mutation in the first place. How is the predator able to evolve into having this dual-vision? This enhancement in architectural vision is triggered by technological advances.

With the popularization of television, the computer or the smartphone, new tools appear that some architects adapt for projection. They are tools that allow them to have a new channel of information, and a source of data that allows these predators/architects to assure their clients that their design did the transition: From how it looks to how it works.

This text emphasizes the strategy of learning from the evidence; of architects who can see in color, and the intangible tools they use.

 

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