Digitized ArchitectureArch700UrvishSambre StudentID: 20130664Evolution of architectural practiceOutline Architecture as I consider it is the motherof all art & science, because at its core it’s about the necessities andfuture of all humans alike.
Architecture tends to problem solving for thecommunity, innovation driven by technology, merging political and culturaltrends & building the foundation for society and communication.Digitization of architecture has been anongoing process for a long time, because it involves so many little processes.In this article I want to focus on the future of architecture via the route ofdigitization of an entire country. For that, we need to focus on a futuristicmodel of a city or a country in the process of digitization or claiming to becompletely digitized.
Hence, gaining insight into the difficulties anddifferences from the current standard.Secondly, I will be focusing on the affectof advancements in all other fields on architecture, for e.g. how advancedVR/AR technologies will change the design methods of architects or how theadvancements in computer/mobile applications reduce the work of the architectand involve the public more than before.I am writing this article to identify theflaws/ disadvantages or the benefits/ advantages of the future of digitizationof architecture as well as the world. My first argument would be the ongoinglack of jobs will increase in percentages if digitization continues or will itdecrease? also, will digitization solve our problems or open a Pandora’s box? Introduction Digitization has changed the entire fieldof vision for humanity, for some more than others and for few by choice. Firstthe definition of digitization:o Wikipedia – Digitization, lesscommonly digitalization is the process of converting information into a digital(i.e.
computer-readable) format, in which the information is organized intobits. The result is the representation of an object, image, sound, document orsignal (usually an analog signal) by generating a series of numbers thatdescribe a discrete set of its points or samples.o Oxford dictionary – Theconversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can beprocessed by a computer.o Dictionary.com – to convert(data) to digital form for use in a computer or convert (analogous physicalmeasurements) to digital form.But, digitization is so much more, itincorporates every field of study or work in some way, hence it is a hugetopic, but I am going to focus on a very particular aspect in the wholedigitization scenario, the change in process of architecture with respect totime and area of focus for the architect.
The architects play a vital role in boththe communities of art and science, they focus on various aspects of the buildingfrom start to finish which include:· Research· Site planning· Technical specs· Permits · ObservationAll theseaspects of the process of architecture are tense and time consuming, even inthe 21st century an architect undertaking a big project will planfor the next 7 years of his life, for this very reason many leave the field forpursuing other talents. This is a drawback for the entire system of a country,to get a good building which is climate friendly and aesthetically soundeveryone must wait 3-7 years? No way! That just doesn’t bode well, hence manypeople don’t even approach the architect and get the job done with contractorsby showing photos.In comes,digitization of construction field, materials and design, to understand this weneed history of the last 25 years in architecture.First few talksabout 3d printing came around the end of 70’s and the first 3d printer wastested successfully by Hideo Kodama in 1981. 2017, we can make entire houses 3dprinted on spot and even thinking of putting 3d printers for projects on themoon and mars.Other digitizedsolutions to everyday problems have been developing since the early 1900’s, atthat time we actually believed to all these solutions to be a pipe dream.
Butcurrently it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.In 2014, anarticle published by Huffington post, said that 47% of all current jobs will beautomated or handled by a computer/AI by the year 2025-2030. That means thealready growing numbers of unemployment throughout the world are just going toincrease, but since I am not the only one thinking about this, I believe thereis a solution to everything and it is in the digitized era, not Anthropocene.
So, what is instore for the next 25 years? Research currently shows development in variousdigital formats such as:· AI (Artificial Intelligence)· 3D Printing· Digital governance· Blockchain· Autonomous transport· SustainabilityThese are only the big names in the fieldof technology, but their actions and process run deeper and is widespread intoalmost every field. For e.g.
3D printing (Additive manufacturing) it was initiallyused for rapid prototyping of industrial products and designs and it offered alot of promise as we can see now, but as of today it is used in fields such ashealthcare, education, construction, industrial design, interior design,inter-planetary design (Foster+ Partners) and the list will probably go on fora couple of pages. Probably, one day a 3D printer will be in our kitchen takingcommands from our phones, this is reach of today’s technology. I also know fora fact that people in the mid 1900’s would also have thought about lack of jobsand lack of a strong government to handle all the incoming innovations intechnology, but we are doing ok so far strictly in terms of creating jobs.Digital country Digitization isn’t a small process as Imentioned before, it involves many small processes, to understand theimplications of those processes and digitization, we need to study the statusof a digitized system, for e.g. Estonia, it’s the only country which has adigitized system for majority of processes and amenities for public, privateand government sectors. Estonia is the only country in the world which isoffering e-Residency and e-Governance patterns and a fully functional digitizedsystem for all services in the country which include health care, construction,logistics and much more.
This is where I found answers to my questions of thefuture. Estonia I was informed of the development happeningin the small country by an article by The New Yorker titled the digitalrepublic. The systems include (as mentioned of e-estonia.com):· e-Governance· e-Tax· Blockchain· I-Voting· e-Health· e-ResidencyThese are the existing policies in thecountry, but the future is very different. These systems mentioned above havebeen in effect from 1997 starting with X-Road, this is the invisible yetcrucial environment that allows the nation’s various e-service databases, bothin the public and private sector, to link up and operate in harmony, and savesmore than 800 years of working time for the state and citizens annually. Thatis 8 times more than the maximum life span of a human.
As I said the future isvery different for a country like Estonia and other EU countries who wish toincorporate these systems.Systems in planning and development stages:· e-Security & Cyber security· Intelligent transportation· Data embassy· Reporting 3.0· Healthcare 4.
0· Industry 4.0· Digitized education,Transformation· Real time economy (RTE)Now, how do these systems affect theprocess of architecture? it’s affects vary on these levels:· Logistics & supply-chainmanagement· Design approach· 3D modelling (both physical anddigital)· Time consumed & time saved· Client/public involvement· Data exchange· Tax reductionAbove mentioned points are affected at a veryfundamental level. Logistics & supply chain management; Estonia isdeveloping an intelligent transport system, it is legal to test Level 3driverless cars (in which a human driver can take control) on all Estonianroads, and the country is planning for Level 5 (cars that take off on theirown). This directly affects logistics,client/public involvement, design approach & time. For e.
g. if you combinethis technology with 3d modelling apps present for computers and mobiles, theclient can sit at home make his own interior design on his phone/laptopchoosing the materials and items inside the house and place the order, but thisis just my view point, the Estonians however have a company called Ööd, whichmakes one-room, two-hundred-square-foot huts that you can order prefab. Therooms have floor-to-ceiling windows of one-way glass, climate control,furniture, and lovely wood floors.
They come in a truck and are dropped intothe countryside.Now all this seems fancy but its not faraway, and what happens to the architects/interior designers who used to designthe exteriors & interiors with all their expertise? No doubt many are goingto lose their jobs, and many will quit their jobs too! The remaining role ofthe architect will completely shift into larger, scientific and political roles.Getting involved into the planning and policy making processes, which willinclude building policies in coherence with the government, for e.g. designaccording to environment, which is going to become a compulsory factor indesigning a building anywhere in the future, and a scientific role willinclude; researching emerging trends, finding problems with the ongoing systemsand designing presets to incorporate the solutions.With seamless data exchange, the sheer amountof time saved (800 years according to Estonian statistics) & and taxreduction would encourage people to search for an architect even more, theindustry will most definitely boom. But the roles will most definitely deferfrom the current roles of architects and their hierarchy.
I cannot say that itwill be good or bad from the job perspective, because I am a believer of if onedoor closes another opens up just as easily. Well, according to Estonia’s chiefinformation officer Taavi Kotka, “if everything is digital & locationindependent, you can run a borderless country.” What digitization impulsivelydoes is streamline all processes and identify where and what exactly is causingdelays, this is where blockchain technology comes in. Blockchain Blockchain is like a digital version of aknitted scarf, where and if there is removal of a fabric or a substitute placedit will always leave a trace. So, imagine a network of data records which areholding information regarding amount of materials required and order anddelivery dates, this network is decentralized so it is like a public ledgeranyone can see, and everyone is invited to join the network, but no one canchange it. The image below is an example of a blockchain, which is usually thecore idea of a cryptocurrency. So, a block includes 3 things· Data (records, manuscripts,contracts, orders, etc.)· Hash· Hash of previous blockData can beanything, ranging from your medical records, bank records, constructioncontracts, business contracts and material orders, shopping orders, anyinformation that can be stored online or be digitized can incorporate ablockchain technology.
Hash is a digitalfingerprint, array of numbers and alphabets for e.g. 99hfyw2n19t12bg, and everyblock in the chain has a hash and the hash of the previous block, hencebecoming a chain. Any change in one block, will automatically change the hashbecause the information is no longer like the original block, hence all otherblocks will have been changed to hack into the system.
Since it is a de-centralizedsystem, no one holds a master ledger of everything like in many economies inthe world, no supreme authority over your data. All these small littlesafeguards in the system help make it increasingly difficult to hack into. In architectureterms, consider block 1 to be the client ledger, block 2 is the architect’sledger, block 3 is the constructors ledger, now all of them have a hash and aprevious hash, and data stored in all of them which has been mutually agreedupon by the people included in the chain.
This also avoids involvement of a 3rdparty portal to safeguard your money. Since it is a distributed ledger it mustbe mutually agreed upon that the conditions have been met or not, if someonesays that the needs have been met it will have to be verified by the entirenetwork, and people can say that the needs have been not met and cancel therelease of funds. For e.g. if thereare 3 people coming to an architect with a project, the clients areincorporated into a new blockchain, where the money is already agreed upon andis present in the client’s block, its visible to the architect and the otherconsultants involved, till the conditions like material quality, projectcompletion time etc. set by the clients have not been met the money wont move,and it must be mutually agreed upon by all people involved that the needs havebeen met. So, if anyone tries to ask for a release everyone will be notified ofthis update and everyone will have to verify and evaluate the change, hencemaking it impossible to tamper with.
This is called a smart contract. Smart contractshave 2 major qualities, as they are born out of a blockchain, they areimmutable and distributed. I already talked about distributed system, butimmutable means once the contract is made, it can never be changed.This effectively makes it impossible forpeople who want to get more money out of the clients by changing the order to aless effective material or a cheaper material, which happens a lot.
This systemeffectively cancels out the chance of any criminal activity, also streamlinesthese small processes of procurement and delivery and pin points the sources and points of delay. Hence improving supplychain management at a very core level.The blockchain can also be used for managing hiring employees in a company.Colony.
io is using Ethereum to allow companies to post jobs and have freelancerssubmit their proposals. Then individuals that make voting decisions for thecompany and can vote for proposals. Once the job is completed reputation andpayment is given to the freelancer. I believe this will be the norm for thefuture as it’s seems we need to have morediverse skills in the workplace.
Now, there are many unattended questions;how will this affect the employment status of a country? And how will thischange or disrupt ongoing industries? I will be optimistic about my stand, Ibelieve that this will solidify the system for numerous processes and open moreopportunities for the IT sector, government sector and the finance sector. These are the major sectors involved in anycountry’s economy and prosperity. Now to understand how it is affecting therest of the world apart from Estonia, we study the on-going innovations viablockchain in the other parts of the world.Rest of theworld?It is true that digitization is disruptingmany industries which are currently established in international and nationalmarkets, the sectors are:· Banking & payments· Supply-chain management· Insurance· Real estate· Public benefits· Voting· Charity· Online data storage· Private transport & Ridesharing· Crowdfunding These sectors are being constantlychallenged by the authority of the digital world, banking sectors is facing a revolution as blockchain isallowing billions of people across the world to access financial institutionsand loans for there projects. This directly opens employment opportunities forthe local people of the city/country.
Even in third world countries where thereis a serious lack of banks and money. Bitcoin allows anyone to send money across borders almost instantly andwith relatively low fees. Abra is one start-up that is working on abitcoin-based remittance service.
Many banks likeBarclays are also working on adopting blockchain technology to make theirbusiness operations faster, more efficient and secure. Banks are alsoincreasingly investing in blockchain start-ups and projects. IBM predicts that15% of banks will be using the blockchain by the end of 2017.Cities like Lagos, Nigeria where the majority of the populationin the city falls under the age group of 15-35, all this youth will need homes,food, and jobs to progress anywhere, forwhich the government and private sector needs money and investment. Theopportunity is provided by blockchain, so a person in Nigeria can accessbanking in rest of the world like USA or Estonia or even India. Startups like cryptogeneare bringing this innovation to the city via blockchain in Nigeria.
Real estate in the US was one of the mostflourishing markets, and now it is kind of unstable. There are severaldrawbacks of the current system incorporated in many countries, not just the US. Real estate faces issues inbuying and selling, bureaucracy, lack of transparency, fraud & mistakes bypublic records. But, via blockchain technology, it willensure that there is no fraud, illegal activities or contract tampering. Itwill speed up transactions by reducing the need for paperwork.
It will alsohelp with tracking, verifying ownership, ensuring the accuracy of documents & transferring property deeds. Allowingthe market to stabilize and ensure transparency and get back the trust ofpeople. The trust is the main component in forming any organization, and thetrust comes from a smart contract, which as explained earlier is immutable anddistributed. Ubiquity is one of the blockchain platforms which is based in the US, and are trying to establish a transparentreal estate market, by digitally bookkeepingall the real estate records in blockchain.