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UP Presentation: Building Digital Bridges

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David divides his time between the fields of architecture and information technology. Recently he completed his PhD thesis ‘Building Digital Bridges’, which explored how information technology can …

David divides his time between the fields of architecture and information technology. Recently he completed his PhD thesis ‘Building Digital Bridges’, which explored how information technology can improve architectural collaboration by ensuring team members can inclusively and comprehensively record and reflect upon the design process. Recording the Building Stories within a project ensures that members of the design team can access timely and relevant information, which in turn leads to more effective collaboration. Unfortunately, this is currently a difficult proposition given the complexity of the architectural design process and the segmentation of the architecture, engineering and construction industry. To address this problem, the research proposed that the industry adopt Hyperlinked Practice, which is the creation of a distributed cloud of interconnected information that describes an architectural project’s events, activities and digital artefacts. To facilitate Hyperlinked Practice, the thesis identified and tested a set of fundamental principles that could guide the design and deployment of the next generation of architectural collaboration technologies. Over the last seven years David has also operated a small IT consulting business in Wellington that focuses on the implementation and development of open source collaboration software. This ongoing real-world experience helped to ground the thesis, and ensured that its focus was on the digital challenges faced by architectural professionals today, and the information technology trends that would influence them in the foreseeable future. With the thesis complete, David now faces the difficult challenge of turning the concepts it introduced into viable software products that architectural professionals around the world are prepared to invest in.

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  • 1. Building Digital Bridges David Harrison @dharrisonnz www.stress-free.co.nz
  • 2. Recording the Building Stories of an architectural project can lead to more effective collaboration within the team.
  • 3. Image: Björk (1995) Requirements and information structures for building product data models Challenge: The industry, its project teams, and the digital collaboration tools they use are heavily fragmented.
  • 4. Challenge: Every architectural project is unique, and its participants have different capabilities, needs and goals.
  • 5. Trend: Consolidation of a project’s digital information within a Building Information Model (BIM) - “CAD on steroids”.
  • 6. But: BIM is not a golden bullet. Controlled Complicated Computer-centric Centrally managed Costly to produce + maintain ...and difficult to interpret without a face
  • 7. Digitally recording and reflecting upon Building Stories requires an inclusive and flexible environment. The World Wide Web is the most successful example of such a collaboration space. Activities (Imaging) Design Task Experience Thoughts & Ideas Perception Events (Testing) Artifacts Design Tools Artifacts (Presenting)
  • 8. Hyperlinked Practice: The Web meets architectural collaboration Key principles: Organisation Organisation ● Situational Awareness ● Ubiquity ● Comprehension ● Context sensitivity ● Emulative modularity ● Emotive semantics ● Decentralisation Organisation
  • 9. Event Building Story Design information Images and documents Digital messages Email and other messaging Services Digital models BIM and CAD Architectural Documentation PDF and DWF Project timeline Goal: Allow teams to weave together Building Stories from the digital artefacts generated during the design process.
  • 10. Timeline Project Architects Description Location, type MSG MSG MSG MSG MSG Client client@email.com Architects employee1@architect.com RPY RPY Connector employee2@architect.com Engineer employee@engineer.com MSG Consultant employee@consultant.com RPY RPY FWD MSG Contractor manager@contractor.com RPY RPY foreman@contractor.com Messages glazier@subcontractor.com Contractors Connector People DWG DWG DWG DOC XLS Engineers JPG JPG JPG JPG DOC JPG JPG JPG JPG DOC JPG JPG Files Connector Project Concept Development Consent Construction Aggregator Brief Evaluation Tags Contracts Documentation Problem Client Wiki summary Comment Constraint: Messages between A+B Constraint: People C, D, E Comment Connector Constraint: Tagged F, G, H, I Comment Constraint: Files of type X Comment Comment Comment Building Stories Opportunity: Aggregating and deriving value from email by using it as the foundation for a project’s Building Stories.
  • 11. The concept of Hyperlinked Practice is academically sound, but bringing it to market is a challenge: ● Baby due in April ● Moving to Auckland in February ● Must turn a consulting business into a product company ● In need of a business partner that is focused on sales and marketing ● The product(s) would need to be sold internationally to be sustainable ● The AEC industry does not invest heavily in technology beyond CAD/BIM