The human scale spans both physical dimensions and sensory perception. Designers create spaces and objects like steps, doorways and chairs that are closely aligned to human measurement and how we see the world. But as we look beyond the human scale, new ideas and typologies emerge that help us rethink how we conceptualize architecture and build for the future.
Automation: The Latest Architecture and News
Robotic automation has been widely adopted by the manufacturing industry for decades. Most automotive vehicles, consumer electrical appliances, and even domestic robots were made and assembled by “armies” of robots with minimal human supervision. Robotic automation brings higher production efficiency, a safer working environment, lower costs and superior quality. After years of development and deployment, the process now requires minimal human involvement.
In 2013, Michael Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey ranked 702 occupations according to their probability of computerisation in the near future, from least probable (“recreational therapist”) to most probable (“telemarketers”). "Architectural and Engineering Managers” was ranked seventy-third, and “architects” eighty-second, while “architectural and civil drafters” ranked three-hundred and fifth. Clearly, technological advancements in fields such as machine learning and robotics are rapidly confronting us with issues of changing professional demand and qualifications. In this essay, Maurizio Ferraris turns the table on us: what if what we should be concerned with is not maintaining the human element in labor as production, but rather recognising human labor as consumption? Expanding on the arguments of his 2012 book, “Lasciar tracce: documentalità e architettura,” the author sees in automation an extraordinary opportunity in defining a renewed centrality of the human element, as the production of value associated with digital exchange is read through the three concepts of invention, mobilization and consumption.
An arms race is on in the worlds of computation and architectural fabrication research. Robots with increasingly large, fast, and powerful capabilities are available and can produce outputs with military-grade precision. The assumption is that, through the use of these advanced tools, architects will advance the production of outputs — but can these tools be developed with traditional forms of human engagement still in mind? Robots are not particularly adaptive. They do not integrate changes with ease — at least, not yet. Humans, on the other hand, exhibit great capacity for adaptation but lack the precision of robots. How could
There has been a lot of talk about how automation will affect the way we do architecture, and what our role will be when technologies reach our own desks and work tables. In recent years, while we have seen how robotics and advanced technology are gaining ground in construction and manufacturing, new tools are emerging that promise to automate the design process itself. These would allow us to quickly and easily configure living spaces and their dimensions in the initial stages of a project, using simulations and artificial intelligence.
Will this automation be the future of architectural design? We talked with Jesper Wallgren, architect and founder of Finch 3D, to better understand this tool and its possible scope.
Once restricted to luxury or super-tech buildings, home automation is proving to be an increasingly fundamental and affordable addition to architectural projects, whether to new buildings or renovations. While understanding how they operate can be extremely complex, the primary purpose of technology is to make life simpler, safer, and easier. By definition, home automation seeks to be globally intelligent, functioning as a system that facilitates processes without unnecessarily complicating the user's life. The idea is to connect devices, which in turn connect and talk through a centralized control unit, accessible by computers, tablets, and mobile phones. These include lights, appliances, electrical outlets, and heating and cooling systems, but also alarms, doors, windows, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, and many other sensors and devices.
Automation has finally reached our desks. If just a few years ago we believed that technology (including robots) could replace the work done by humans, minus the design specifications and some 'creative' aspects, we were wrong.
Imagine light fixtures that act as Bluetooth beacons, allowing smartphones to help visitors find their way around a building. Imagine a lighting system which can pinpoint the location of people and physical assets within the building. Imagine an automation system which can use occupancy data and personal preferences to orchestrate an optimized and personalized building environment.
It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.
Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends.
During warm summer months, buildings must maintain an adequate and comfortable temperature for the users of the space. Blinds or solar screens are an effective solution in projects that have large glazed surfaces, thus reducing the temperatures generated by direct sunlight.
Below, we have selected 6 Spanish projects that creatively use louvers and shutters in their facades.
Dutch Pavilion at 2018 Venice Biennale, WORK, BODY, LEISURE, to Address Automation and Its Spatial Implications
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Dutch Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.
Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Netherland’s leading museum and scholarly institution focused on architecture, design and digital culture, will present WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the Dutch exhibition for “FREESPACE”, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by Het Nieuwe Instituut and curated by architect and researcher Marina Otero Verzier, the 2018 Dutch Pavilion exhibition addresses the spatial configurations, living conditions and notions of the human body provoked by disruptive changes in contemporary labor ethos and conditions. The project seeks to foster new modes of creativity and responsibility within the architectural field in response to emerging technologies of automation.
According to The Economist, 47% of the work done by humans will have been replaced by robots by 2037, even those traditionally associated with university education. While the World Economic Forum estimates that between 2015 and 2020, 7.1 million jobs will be lost around the world, as "artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human employees."
It's not science fiction: the MIT Technology Review warns that the current debate over raising the minimum wage for fast food employees in the United States would accelerate their own automation. On the other hand, Silicon Valley personalities and millionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson warned that the impact of automation will force the creation of a universal basic income to compensate not only the massive unemployment that would generate these new technologies but also the hyper-concentration of the global wealth.
One advocate of this idea is the British economist Guy Standing who wrote at the Davos Forum that it "would be a sensible precaution against the possibility of mass displacement by robotization and artificial intelligence," but will automation affect architects? Will we really be replaced by robots?