Research and development has always been one of the fundamental principles of the practice of architecture. The process provides powerful knowledge and ideas, leading to smarter ways to design, create and build.
Fifteen years ago, ARCHITECT hosted our first annual R&D awards to highlight the often overlooked work of designers and manufacturers to refine their projects, products and processes. Among the previous winners, one of 2010 stands out: the idea of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture to decarbonize a city, an idea which was then a new idea but which is today relevant for all the actors of the city. building industry.
This year’s six winners offer innovative solutions to real-world problems, solutions that make the built environment a healthier and more sustainable place to live, work and play. Take Cove.Tool, as an example. This tiny Atlanta-based startup, part of a movement to democratize technology in architecture, has created a cloud-based app – of the same name – with fast response time and an iterative feedback loop that doesn’t. only estimates the energy consumption of the project in different buildings. systems but also presents its analyzes in a beautiful and understandable way. The software adds a certain elegance to the process of designing better and more energy efficient buildings.
Another winner, Robotic Construction: The Glass Vault, a collaborative effort of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the CREATE Lab and Princeton University Forms Research Lab, among others, harnesses the specific capabilities of robotics and humans to build structures that each group could not build on their own.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hospitals around the world hard, but that hasn’t stopped a team from Puebla, Mexico, from designing and building a 40-bed hospital in just 60 days. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the project also incorporated sustainable design strategies and technologies, which will save costs in construction operations, which will help support staff training and procurement of supplies. . This is another example of the innovative and pragmatic solutions that design professionals can apply to large-scale real-world problems.
By the time this issue went into production, the Architecture Billings Index had reported a few days earlier that billing growth was nearing the highest levels in the index’s history. IAA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, The Hon. AIA expects a strong recovery in non-residential construction activity later this year and into 2022, which is great news for architects and the industry. But as the profession returns to the construction industry, we have to remember that architects, designers, builders and manufacturers like R + D Award participants, who try an idea and follow it, show us the way to to follow. , through creative ways to improve the way we design.