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Visions for the Future of ICT in Architecture

  • Create integrated, real-time collaboration environments for architectural design and exchange, to allow architects to do things faster and more effectively
  • Support sustainable design processes, as part of a holistic/integrated view on the projects
  • Software tools as catalysts of social interactivity around design projects
  • Design and use viewed as a continuum
  • Smart buildings
  • From the production of “a part of” towards the production of “the whole”
  • Localization of globalization

Read more here : Visions & Scenarios for the future of ICT in Architecture

Weak Signals

  • There is a need to reinvent the profession. Architecture in its previous form is being replaced.


  • Increasingly ‘user-friendly tools’ come with dangers: user-friendly technologies make decisions on your behalf and limit creativity.
  • Architects will increasingly need to develop their own technologies.
  • More architects will begin to develop their own tools, and will need technology to support this.
  • Tools supporting architects to fund and plan the whole architecture process.


  • Passive sensing technology


  • Inclusive architecture
  • Emergent ‘sandbox’ social building games
  • There is a tension between open access to information for all stakeholders and the potential to limit authorship. A need to work within these constraints.
  • BIM is used by architects but not understood by the authorities.
  • BIM Data allows ideas to be assessed as they are created. This is strength and a threat. BIM data acts as the objective truth of a building. BIM forces architects to disclose, which also invites the potential for censorship.


  • Pushing creators together isn't necessarily a good thing.


  • Visualisation tools for more than one type of professional: Architects, urban planners, local government, and engineers.


  • Need for integrated, real-time collaboration environments for architectural design and exchange, allowing architects to do things faster and more effectively.


  • Interoperability is very important – Most software is proprietary and closed at the moment.


  • 3D scanning: degree of approximation is currently very poor. This needs to improve. Generally 3D scanning is a niche tool, it needs to be more accessible.

Strong signals

Changing Role of Architects

  • Architects working both in business and design
  • Crowd funding platforms: Kickstarter for built environment projects.

Data & Knowledge-Sharing

  • Use of Big Data
  • Mapping & measuring ambient data.
  •  Transmitting knowledge is becoming more important.
  •  3D scanning
  •  BIM Data is now becoming ubiquitous.
  • Software is already intrinsic to the sector

Smart buildings

  • Biometric Systems
  • Motion and gesture controlled interfaces
  • Embedded and connected devices
  • Programmatically controlled ‘deformable’ surfaces

Enhancing Connectivity between disparate stakeholders

  • Cloud Technology
  • Cloud sharing
  • Holographic Displays

Architectural Visualization

  • Tools with augmented simulation capabilities: simulate natural and social environment
  • Simulations using real physics engines. Realising real environments in simulation e.g. Sun, gravity, wind. More use of the Unreal engine. Digital environments where you can play part in the manipulation and design of the environment.
  • VR navigation of spaces
  • Google glass and other wearable technology
  • Augmented reality

Interoperable Tools

  • More interoperability and interactivity of creation software
  • Software that can process various file formats in order to move towards universal applications and file formats. 
  • Combined use of digital tools and traditional approaches
  • Open source hardware

Technologies that allow easier prototyping

  • 3D printing and the maker movement
  • 3D printing supermarkets
  • Fab lab technology is becoming better and cheaper

Advanced Construction Tools/Materials

  • 3D printing
  • Tools for onsite design and construction
  • Tools ensuring ensure on-site safety
  • Cheaper and stronger Materials.
  • Better insulation, phonic insulation


  • Drones
  • Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence

Technology Research Challenges & Recommendations