Can tablets help architects better conceive and execute their designs? If you’re skeptical, you’re not alone. To a certain extent, architects are still unsure if meaningful work can be created on an iPad. As the novel of virtual reality wears off, it’s worth asking if portable augmented reality is the push forward that will combine the best of traditional and digital architectural technology. So beyond their utility as lightweight, untethered screens, what can tablets offer the professional architect?
Architecture Apps: The Latest Architecture and News
Morpholio has released details of Smart Fill, which they describe as “the world’s first area calculator for live design sketching.” Designed for the TracePro app on iPad and iPhone, Smart Fill calculates the area of spaces in active sketches, without the need for further drawing or alterations.
The Smart Fill calculation evolves as space is altered through further sketching. As rooms are sliced in half, the area reduces, while as walls are erased, the area expands. The app also allows for the space to be filled in with color, text labels, or numerical data.
Have you ever been on the construction site and had a problem arise that needed immediate attention? The answer to that question is almost guaranteed to be yes. The Construction Administration phase is not intended to be a time for big design decisions, but with unforeseen field conditions, contractor errors and never-ending client changes, your team can keep designing and problem-solving throughout CA. Morpholio's new update to their Trace app for iPhone, TracePro, aims to transform site visits by "importing key components of the design process into the Construction Administration phase."
With the launch today of Apple's iOS 11—and with it, the release of the company's powerful system for augmented reality apps, ARKit—Morpholio has released a new update to their popular Trace app that allows users to sketch over photographs with perfect accuracy. While it has always been an option to sketch over photographs in Trace, the new "Perspective Finder" tool superimposes a scaled grid over the photograph that helps designers follow the perspective of the image and measure their drawings accurately.
Perhaps nothing can kill a project budget or give an owner heartburn quite like costly code fixes during (or in the worst case, after) construction. As architects, we do our best to navigate construction codes during design, but there’s no denying their complexity. Projects have to comply with multiple different codes at both the federal and local levels; different codes sometimes even contradict one another, leading to headaches for the design team.
However, a new website and mobile app hopes to make understanding and complying with building codes easier for architects and designers. “The solution we provide is a search engine tailored for architecture,” explains Scott Reynolds, co-founder of UpCodes. With his background in architecture, Reynolds has partnered with his brother Garrett Reynolds—who has a PhD in machine learning—and through UpCodes, the pair to ease some of that building code-driven frustration.
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.
Modeling on the computer and physically building scale models are essential modes of iteration for the modern architecture studio. But what if this creative process of digital and physical ideation could be made accessible to everyone: children, hobbyists, and architects alike?
That is the question I set out to answer by designing an entirely new snapping block system, from the ground up, for the aesthetic and experiential expectations of the 21st century. It’s called Kible, and after putting architecture aside and developing it since November 2015, I’ve recently launched the product on Kickstarter.
The ability to draw well is one of the most coveted skills in architecture. Unfortunately for those without an innate gift for sketching, it's also one of the most difficult to learn—even if it can, contrary to popular opinion, be learned with commitment and practice. But for those poor souls without such talents, there is now a fix: an app called SketchAR.
Available for iPhone and Android devices that incorporate Google's Tango technology, SketchAR can take photographs or other images, convert them into sketchable line drawings, and then use augmented reality to overlay them onto real-world surfaces.
An upcoming app, named Walkabout Worlds, is hoping to drastically simplify the process of creating a 3D model of existing spaces. Designed as both a tool for turning 360 photographs into 3D models and for creating photographic 3D walkthroughs for VR viewing, the app has turned heads for its demonstration that a 360 photograph can be converted into a rough, simple 3D model in as little as a minute by selecting key points in the image such as the corners of the room, as shown in the video below.
Today, app developer Morpholio has unveiled the newest addition to its collection of architectural aids. Ava, short for Automated Visual Assembly, aims to streamline the interior design process by allowing the user to navigate seamlessly between visually-appealing presentation boards and detailed, editable data spreadsheets.
Ava seeks to reform the status quo for interior design projects, which often involves the separate creation of visual presentation boards for clients, cut sheets and specs for drawing sets, and product lists for purchasing. Ava has been invented to package images and information more intelligently, optimizing beauty, clarity, and ease, and allowing designers to navigate neatly from process, to presentation, to project delivery.
Today, Morpholio has unveiled a new addition to their flagship Trace app. The new addition, called simply “Stencil,” offers a quick way to add figures and annotations to your Trace sketches using a tool that has been familiar to architects for years. The update to the app features a number of pre-loaded stencil designs, but thanks to its new digital twist, the act of stenciling is also augmented through the ability to take any image you can find or photograph and turn it into a stencil in seconds.
Moleskine has announced a new product which it hopes will allow users to "bridge their analog and digital worlds." The Smart Writing Set is a system that includes the Paper Tablet, a specially-made Moleskin sketchbook which works in tandem with the Pen+, a digitally-enabled pen that recognizes the notebook and tracks the user's movement. The Pen+ then sends this information to the new Moleskine Notes App (for Apple users) or Neo Notes (for Android) in order to record the user's notes digitally, in real time.
Capitalizing on the emergence of the touchscreen tablet and stylus as a drafting tool, Morpholio has released the brand new, patent-pending ScalePen, which provides a new way to draw on their popular iPad app, “Trace” (available in the App Store). The ScalePen simultaneously checks the drawing scale and iPad zoom level and offers an array of pens that respond as you move through the drawing. The result “brings precision and clarity to line weight, and gives architects the ability to make beautiful sketches at multiple scales, within a single drawing, set of layers, or layouts.”
ARQ Magazine, described as of the most prestigious academic architectural journals in Latin America, have released a new app (ARQ Yearbooks) dedicated to collecting and presenting English-language articles published in their magazine over the past three years. Since its foundation in 1980, ARQ (the journal of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile School of Architecture in Santiago) has been published without interruption. In this new app, papers which address issues related to representation, construction techniques, urban history, cultural processes, landscape architecture and more have been aggregated together.
A new mobile application created by Dutch designer Richard Vijgen visualises the 'infosphere'—an interdependent 'network of networks' that is "populated by informational entities"—in realtime augmented reality, transforming our intangible environment into an abstracted world of pulsating waves of energy. We are "completely surrounded by a hidden system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites," according to the designer. The Architecture of Radio works by "reversing the ambient nature of the 'infosphere', hiding the visible while revealing the invisible technological landscape we interact with through our devices."
The recent unveiling of Apple’s iPad Pro and Pencil to the public have spawned fantasies of beautiful, precise, scaled drawings, able to be created digitally both quickly and accurately. Now, with Morpholio’s newest app TracePro, architects around the world will be able to create those fantasies themselves. As an update to their previous Trace apps for the iPad Pro (which will be released on Friday) TracePro is the latest in a line of ever-improving apps by Morpholio designed to make sketching and communicating with other architects easier than ever.
Efficiency is the name of the game in the business world. And as any working architect knows, working at an architecture firm is as much about business as it is design - even if in architecture, efficiency can be hard to come by. By using applications that span platforms, though, you can remain efficient no matter where you go.
Following the success of our list of 22 Websites You Didn't Know Were Useful to Architects, we’ve assembled a list of 20 productivity apps to keep you on track. Whether you’re trying to keep your schedule in check, remember your passwords, or simply get the most out of your shrinking sleep time, there’s an app that can maximize your ability to do what you’re doing.
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.