In architectural circles, the appellation “post-digital” has come to mean many things to many people. Some have used it as a shorthand descriptor for the trendy style of rendering that has become popular among students and, increasingly, architectural offices. Others have used it to describe a more profound shift in architectural production that is at once inoculated against the novelty of digital technique and attuned to the sheer ubiquity of “the digital” in contemporary life.
Book presentations, or book launches, are holdovers from ages long past. One could argue that the same applies to books in print themselves; but we still read and write books, never mind in which shape and form, while I do not see many reasons to keep presenting them in brick-and-mortar bookshops, or similar venues. Friends in the publishing industry tell me that a single tweet, or a successful hashtag on Instagram, can sell more copies than a book launch—and at a lesser cost, for sure. Besides, one of the most baffling aspects of book launches is that, traditionally—and I remember this was already the case when I was a student—a significant fraction of the public in attendance tends to be viscerally and vocally hostile to the topic of the book being presented. Why would readers who dislike a book as a plain matter of principle take the time to read it in full then vent their anger at its author, I cannot tell; but this is to say that having published a book last fall titled The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence, I had plenty of opportunities, in the course of the last few months, to glean a vast repertoire of technophobic commonplaces. Chiefly noted among them, due to its sheer outlandishness, was the objection that digital innovation would by now have fully run its course: having adapted to, and adopted, some new tools and technologies, architects would have moved on, free at last to get back to things that really matter to them (whatever they might be).
2017 is in the past. Nevertheless, the year has left us a series of lessons, new wisdom and better tools to help us face the challenges of 2018. What surprises will this year bring us?
We asked our editors at Plataforma Arquitectura (ArchDaily's Spanish arm) to make predictions based on what they've learnt in 2017, and to share with readers the topics they expect to be in the limelight in 2018.
Intentionally fantastical compilations empower architects to create clear narratives to supplement their work. In response to this growing popularity, a number of websites have popped up to bolster the trend. Image hosting hub ARTCUTOUT is a curated collection of meticulously detailed, public domain .PNGs nabbed from works of art that were “mostly created several centuries ago by European painters and cartographers.” Serving as a something akin to a “post-digital” version of famed render hub SKALGUBBAR, ARTCUTOUT has the potential to be a go-to resource for the next wave of designers.