Contract - March 2010 - (Page 108)

essay: on the future technology trends: changing the way designers work By Cathryn Barrett for Contract Cathryn Barrett, AIA, LEED AP Designer WRNS Studio, San Francisco T echnology has come a long way since the rst CAD programs of the 1980s when young designers often were hired simply to translate handmade drawings into bits and pixels, while the more experienced staff members clung to their pencils for the truly creative work. Today, technology has become much more pervasive at all levels of experience, changing the way we approach the very practice of design. Laser Cutters Model-making laser cutters have been around for a long time as a tool of professional model makers who cranked out nished products rather than design studies. With the introduction of laser cutters into design schools, recent graduates are as facile using them as my generation was with an X-Acto knife. Today, if you can draw a planar construct in CAD, you can cut it nearly as fast as you can plot it. We now have the luxury of developing multiple design iterations in-house before committing to a solution. One also can take a form modeled in a 3-D program and with unfolding tools, atten it into a 2-D drawing that can be cut by the laser cutter, and then folded like origami to create an actual model. We use the laser on a variety of tasks, from investigating patterns of openings to creating full-scale mock-ups of components like signage or making color and material boards with beautifully engraved labels. Smartphones While mobile phones are ubiquitous, not everyone takes full advantage of the smartphone. With the iPhone, I can navigate (to Web sites or job sites), calculate (fees, hours, area, or costs), translate (dimensions or languages), investigate (products and services), and coordinate (meetings and drawings) on the y. Many apps recapture time for design by supporting mundane of ce drudgery regarding travel, expense reports, timesheets, and invoicing. We now can leave the tape measure, camera, video camera, voice recorder, calculator, GPS, pocket dictionary, laser pointer, and appointment book at the of ce. The phone allows us to talk while accessing other information, which avoids those “let me get back to you” delays. When encountering an issue on the job site that needs quick resolution, designers can photograph issues, immediately e-mail or text the photos, and conference call multiple parties to resolve the issue. “I’m not a frequent user of computer technologies, but I’m a complete convert to the Motorola Droid smartphone,” says Mark Harbick, AIA, Contract‘s 2006 Designer of the Year and now an independent design consultant in Manhattan. “I use it to stay in touch with clients and team members while I’m on the road—sending e-mails, answering calls, taking photos, and guring out where I am with Google maps.” In the future he’ll be probably be able to Web conference from his phone. Today, technology has become much more pervasive at all levels of experience, changing the way we approach the very practice of design. Video Conferencing Video teleconferencing improves teaming and coordination while saving time, money, and carbon emissions. Now Web-based systems like Skype and iChat have brought this formerly expensive propriety technology to the masses. Since designers and architects tend to be visual communicators, the ability to screen-share is key. These conferences are even more effective with new viewer software that allows parties to view and spin 3-D models without requiring an expensive license. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some rms are making use of very high-tech solutions. “HOK has invested in PolyVision’s Thunder technology, which allows people in multiple locations to see and work on the same design or technical documents or a simple ip chart at the same time,” says Clark Davis, vice chairman of HOK. “We have coupled that with the Cisco TelePresence videoconferencing system in rooms that we call ‘Advanced Collaboration Rooms’ in many of HOK’s of ce locations. That saves a lot of trouble, costs, and carbon.” 108 contract march 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2010

Contract 3/10
Editor’s Note
Essays from the Past:
The Contract Design Dilemma (May 1962)
Space Planning Symposium (July 1963)
Changes in Workplaces Reflect Changes in Task Structure (June 1970)
Women Need Feminine Desks (June 1970)
Name “Interior Designer” Is a Misnomer Because of Broader Duties (August 1970)
Research Reveals Proper Height, Width, Depth of Furniture, from Office Chairs to Library Tables (September 1970)
Astounding Technology Portends Drastic Office Changes in the ’80s (January 1980)
Is the Office Really Necessary? (January 1989)
If You Cut Your Fee, Do You Bleed? (June 1990)
Design: Retrospective
Essays on the Future:
More Happiness, Less Stuff: By Ray C. Anderson
The Social Aspect of Social Responsibility: By John Cary
Leading in the Global Market: By Ross Donaldson
Technology Trends: By Cathryn Barrett
Inadmissible Evidence: By Michael Berens
Designers Rate: Eight Designers Pick Their Favorite Three Commercial Interiors Products of the Last 50 Years
Ad Index

Contract - March 2010