SEH CIO Bill Kloster outlines the suite of technology services available to architects today, compared to those available to his architect father, Bob Kloster, during the 1960s.
My dad began his career as an architect in the mid-1960s. Long before computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software was available. His profession is a major reason I joined an architecture and engineering company, after working in financial services for more than 20 years. I often think about the similarities and the differences between his pre-computer-aided design work and the leading-edge capabilities available to architects today.
The above image is a hand-drawn rendering of Grizzly's Restaurant, located outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. To create the panorama, Kloster used overlapping pieces of paper taped together.
Data capture and design applications made great strides in the standardization and conversion of file formats. With standard file formats, architects are able to easily work on a single project file using different tools and on different operating systems. This allows the different pieces of software to ‘talk’ to each other. My dad would put a blank sheet paper in front of him. Then he’d lay out his hand-written notes, site measurements and the polaroid photos for reference. After taking it all in, he would sit down at his drafting table to create his design.
Virtual reality rooms are opening up in homes, schools and companies. These rooms give participants an immersive virtual reality experience. If you don’t have access to a room, you can still get the virtual reality experience with head gear. The architecture and engineering industry is using virtual and augmented reality and bringing that experience to their clients to help sell the project. Architects also use virtual and augmented reality to get immediate feedback for design changes at little to no cost. That’s a long way from the design boards of the past!
My dad leveraged very little technology beyond that polaroid camera. He used a large-scale format copier to create blueprints. Not everyone knew how to read or understand a blueprint. Knowing this, my father always offered a perspective drawing of the rooms he designed. This allowed visualization of the room before it was built. He typically included a design board with the drawing. The design board included a floor plan and pictures of décor with samples of materials and fabric. This was how he helped his client visualize their new space.
The tools of the trade have changed significantly since my dad retired his drawing board. The skills of this generation of architects are now on full display through the use of technology. They will continue to fascinate their clients as much as my dad fascinated me the first time I walked into a room that he designed, months before it was finished.
Bill Kloster, SEH CIO, embraces technological solutions to clients’ complex challenges but values the importance of understanding the roots of those solutions. Contact Bill