If you visit an architecture office today, you may sense a slight change. The days of bulky desktops, ergonomic mouse pads and tower-high stacks of drawing sets are slowly giving way to digital pencils, tablets, and tons of architects’ hand-drawings—both physical and digital. Architects across the globe are clearing their desks, literally, and utilizing emerging touchscreen tools and software for designing, sharing and collaborating. It seems possible that, for the first time in years, the architecture profession could revisit Bernard Tschumi’s “paperless” studio which formed a key part of his tenure as dean of Columbia University’s GSAPP in the mid-1990s. However, this time, “paperless” starts with a pencil, instead of a click.
The physical properties of glass are invaluable and unequaled when it comes to the architect’s material palette. From the time of the cathedrals and the the brilliantly colored stained glass that served a functional and didactic purpose, to the modernist liberation of the floor plan and the exquisitely-framed horizontal views provided by ample windows, architects have turned to glass to achieve not only aesthetic but performative conditions in their projects.
Today, Architects face an increasing array of choices in specifying and designing with glass for building facades, as glass manufacturers propose a greater variety of colors, textures and patterns than ever before. A wider range of coatings and treatments has also been developed, allowing for a finer selection of glass panes with a combination of light transmittance, reflectance and absorption to meet the needs of outstanding architectural projects. These options affect the aesthetics and energy performance of the glass, and therefore of the overall building.
Thanks to advanced calculation tools, energy performance can now be anticipated accurately, but the graphic representation of glass is still a challenge, and yet a crucial need for architects.
Announced at their fall event today, Apple has unveiled “the biggest news for the iPad since the iPad”: the iPad Pro, the company’s largest ever tablet device with a 12.9” screen. As ever, technology websites were alight with live updates about the new iPad, sharing everything from the device specifications and capabilities to the price.
But what does the iPad Pro mean for architects? Here’s 4 ways the new device could change the way you work.
Arrette Scale have released an update ($8.99) for their iOS app which addresses the level of precision and dexterity in the use of the Edge Tools, which have new controls and behavior. The app itself has proved popular among architects, aiming to provide designers with a simple, familiar drawing environment usable by anyone comfortable with traditional drawing tools. Allowing users to digitally review work by sharing ideas and drawings, Arrette’s platform welcomes incremental design changes and collaboration on iPad without the need for printing reams of paper.
Find out what's new after the break.
Pixelmator, an app which has been familiar to Mac users since 2011, have released a version of their powerful photo editing software for iPad. Although the App Store is awash with photo editing and manipulation packages, Pixelmator's clean interface and collection of the most used features iPad users require, makes it a good substitute for desktop based software packages when on the move. Alongside allowing image enhancement, a "painting engine, precise colour correction, and live histograms" (allowing you to gauge real-time colour values as you edit), the app also takes step into providing "layers, non-destructive layer styles and a collection of professional-grade selection tools."
Consistently ranked as among some of the best digital tools available for architects and designers, the team behind the Morpholio Project today release Board 2.0., the second version of their moodboard and layout app for iOS. The app has been made possible by a number of collaborations with high profile interior designers in order to develop a 'gallery' of "significant design objects", with contributions from the likes of Dyson, Herman Miller, and Knoll. For the past year Morpholio have "assembled research groups and canvased design leaders worldwide" in order to better understand the power and potential of the 'board'. The general consensus was that getting style, products, and sketching onto a single platform could "change the way designers access, build, and share ideas."
Building upon our Top 10 Apps for Architects, this collection brings together some of the best quality and most valued technical apps for designing, sketching, calculating and collaborating. Although the majority of those featured here are designed solely for the iOS platform, every time we collate lists such as these it's clear that more and more high quality apps for the Android and Windows platforms are being developed. From condensed versions of large scale software packages that architects and designers use every day, to blank canvases to scratch ideas down onto, you might just find an app that could improve the way you work.
Part of an increasing trend of apps which allow precision scale drawing, Arrette Scale seeks to provide designers with a simple, familiar drawing environment usable by anyone comfortable with traditional drawing tools. Allowing users to digitally review work by sharing ideas and drawings, Arrette's platform welcomes incremental design changes and collaboration on iPad without the need for printing reams of paper.
Although tablets have opened up a whole new range of possibilities for architects and designers, using them for drawing and doodling is often a clumsy experience. In many cases there's far too little accuracy and far too much complexity when it comes to working simple operations. Archisketch, which was formerly known as Archipad, seeks to streamline this experience with a smooth, cleanly designed app for iPad that not only allows you to import drawings and doodle over them, but also draw to scale.
SketchUp have recently unveiled the latest app in their suite, SketchUp Mobile Viewer for iPad. Allowing "on the go" access to models, the app also features access to "the entire universe" of files in their 3D Warehouse. Users can use the same familiar features, such as Orbit, Pan and Zoom, to "present their own private 3D models to clients and partners." With a price tag of $9.99 from Apple's App Store, early reviews suggest that this is a good first step with some way yet to go. Being the first ever SketchUp tablet product (with a planned Android version in the works), it has been released in conjunction with SketchUp 2014 which incorporated BIM capabilities for the very first time.
The days of carrying around rolls of construction documents on site are in flux. The rapid change of both software and hardware has already dramatically changed the way architects, engineers, and general contractors communicate with each other. For those of you who do site visits on a regular basis, you are no doubt familiar with the relatively drawn out process the contractor has to take in order to get clarification on a detail or problem distillation – taking pictures of detail, scanning redlines, emailing to architect, etc. However, what if, and it is happening, you can bring out an iPad or similar device with all the drawings loaded ready to view in palm of your hand. Questions can simply be marked up right on the spot and instantly fired off for review or approval.
Our favorite sketchbook has gone digital! Moleskine presents The Hand of the Architect – an iPad app featuring 378 sketches and drawings from 110 internationally renowned architects, such as Assadi, Botta, Fuksas, Graves, Gregotti, Hadid, Foster and Piano, “showing that every project always begins by hand”. All the works were collected by FAI (Italian National Trust) with the aim of raising funds to restore Piero Portaluppi’s Villa Necchi, known as a 1930s masterpiece of Italian rationalism in Milan. Sketches and drawings are accompanied by essays, captions and the biographies of the architects. You can purchase the app for $18.99 here on iTunes.
Straight on the heels of being named the Best Architectural Monograph of 2010 by the DAM Museum, Taschen republishes YES IS MORE as the World’s 1st Architectural Monograph in an eBook edition tailored to the Apple iPad.