Today, our planet faces two extreme challenges: urbanization and climate change. How can we design to adapt? At the recent AIA Connecticut annual conference, Sasaki principal Steve Brittan spoke about the potential for architects to play a pivotal role in addressing these issues—but only if the industry is capable of making significant changes.
Steve advocates a new paradigm in which architects redefine their roles in a much more integrated and multidisciplinary context. This involves adopting new skill sets by overhauling traditional academic training, research, and practice. Designers also need to assert intellectual property rights for innovations that are already occurring within the industry such as performance based modeling and rapid prototyping of designs. Steve shared several of Sasaki's own cutting-edge tools, including SmartPlan, which helps Sasaki designers test alternative scenarios and assess their physical, environmental, and fiscal impacts in real time.
Steve emphasized that architects also need to collaborate more broadly with other industries. A wide range of innovations—including information communication technologies (ICT), sensors and actuators, machine to machine communications (M2M), nanotechnology, renewables, building telemetry, and data-driven design visualization—offer rich partnership opportunities to develop solutions that will holistically transform the built environment, enabling us to survive, and even thrive in a rapidly changing world.