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You are a Dinosaur

If you are reading this you are a dinosaur. The digital natives will steal your job. But that’s okay because you won’t be qualified to do your job when they start taking responsibility from us. And I do mean us (more on that maybe tomorrow).

So what are we going to do to survive?

Okay dinosaurs. I’ve got a question for us. If we don’t design buildings that look like they were built in the 1920s, why do we still insist on using the same design tools and methods?

Why is there this insistence on the mind/hand w/ pencil connection?  I heard this belief too many times at the recent architecture conventions I went to (I’m looking at you Minneapolis, Boston, and Washington, D.C.). The worst instance was from some stegosaurus talking to a kid applying to MArch programs. This dinosaur waxed poetic about the importance of the pencil and just thrashed more modern solutions, which was tragic because this was the setting. What horrible advice.  And the kid ate it up, nodding and agreeing and I fear that he wasn’t just being polite. If that student, not even in grad school yet, follows through and puts a barrier between his concept of being an architect and our modern tools… well he’s fucked. That future architect needs to embrace technology and modern opportunities. He needs to explore what’s out there and not just mimic what his ancestors did. How does that forward our profession?

But I guess that story really isn’t about the kid so much as the architect who is still missing the point. So much of our profession still forgets that we need all our tools. That it’s not pencil for design, computer for polish and production. It’s everything for everything. And besides, with the increased power and proliferation of touch screens, it’s all going to converge anyways. Why draw on paper when you can draw on an iPad (and have the ability to save, undo, use layers…). And if you can draw a squiggly line, why not draw a line that represents a wall on a tablet. More on all that later as well.

You think I’m wrong?

Oh and if you disagree about the pencil and think it’s superior to everything else. That’s cool. You should be pushing for my beliefs as well. But cynically. If computers can’t aid in the generation of superior design (and I’m not even narrowing things down to BIM) then you’ll get to stay in demand as the best architects. Win win right? Go stake your future on it and we’ll meet back here in 2015.

200 sheets or 1 iPad

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  • January 23, 2013

    I like the equation that shows how many iPads can be bought in lieu of paper drawing sets.

    I still like my pencil because during design there are times when a gesture or scribble suggest much more than a complete drawing. This info doesn’t need to be “linked” (or scanned or traced) just executed to help me understand some nuance. With the right app, it could be done on an iPad, but I would still want to work that way. -Stuckasaurus

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